Ladies’ Day – Fun Coffee Break Tale From Our Archives

afternoon tea

On ladies’ day,  no men are allowed – after all, we are the gentler, weaker sex. Or are we…?
Enjoy this fun coffee break tale by  Elizabeth McKay


Elsa slapped Jim’s hand away from the table. “I told you the cakes are for the girls.”

“Girls!” Jim snorted. “There’s not one of them under sixty.”

“Just because we’re retired doesn’t mean we’re past it,” said Elsa, admiring the table with its freshly laundered cotton cloth and good china.

“What do you get to talk about every week?” Jim asked.

“Just stuff.” Elsa shrugged. “We never had time when we were working and rearing children.”

“I’d be bored stiff talking about shoes and EastEnders all afternoon,” said Jim dryly.

“Just as well you don’t have to,” said Elsa. “You can work in the garden when the girls come.”

“Not sure about that,” said Jim, looking out of the window. “It’s looking a bit overcast.”

“Your shed, then,” said Elsa. “I’ll bring you out a cuppa and a cake.”

He’s at a loose end

How’s retirement suiting him?” Marion asked Elsa when Jim took their coats through to the hall.

“I think he’s at a bit of a loose end,” Elsa said, rolling her eyes. “He’ll get the hang of it eventually.”

“Who’ll get the hang of what?” Jim asked, coming back into the sitting-room.

“Aren’t you going to your shed?”

Jim shook his head. “It’s too cold. I’ll read the paper in the kitchen instead.”

Later, when Jim carried the tea tray into the sitting-room, no-one had the heart to say anything when he settled on the sofa between Marion and Catherine and offered his opinion on Sarah’s neighbour’s choice of wallpaper.

“My place next week,” Catherine reminded them when they were leaving.

“We’d better check the bus times,” Sarah said, “now they’ve changed the route.”

“Don’t worry about buses,” said Jim. “I’ll give you all a lift.”

“But you’re not actually…”

“That’s very kind of you, Jim,” Marion said, quickly interrupting Elsa.

Jim explained the off-side rule

The next week, on their way to pick up Sarah and Marion, Elsa asked what Jim planned for the afternoon.

“I suppose I’ll just potter about the town for a couple of hours,” he replied.

By the time they got to Catherine’s it was pouring with rain.

“You can’t wander around in this, Jim,” Catherine said. “Come inside and have a cup of tea.”

Once they were settled Sarah asked if anyone had read about the actress and the footballer in yesterday’s paper.

Marion nodded. “I think –”

“Footballers didn’t behave like that in my day,” said Jim. “I remember…”

Elsa closed her eyes, Sarah stifled a yawn and Catherine excused herself to get the tea. When she returned Jim was explaining the off-side rule.

Elsa spent most of the evening phoning her friends to apologise.

“Don’t worry about it,” said Sarah. “By the way, my cousin’s visiting next week so she’ll be joining us.”

Lois is a midwife,” Sarah said as she made the introductions the following week. “She’s been telling me the experiences she had during training.”

“Of course in those days we didn’t have the technology we have now,” said Lois. “You wouldn’t believe some of the things we had to do.”

And she proceeded to tell them.

“String and a paperclip?” Elsa said with a shudder.

“Thirteen pounds, ten ounces!” said Catherine, wide-eyed.

“All while the doctor ate a ham sandwich?” gasped Marion.

Jim got distinctly paler

All the while Jim sat in the chair by the window and got distinctly paler. He hardly touched his tea and shook his head when Sarah offered him a scone with strawberry jam.

“Lois is a very interesting lady, don’t you think, dear?” Elsa said on their way home. “I hope she’ll come again. I’d love to hear more about her nursing experiences, wouldn’t you?”

“I won’t be joining you next week,” Jim said gruffly. “Nor any other week for that matter. I’m really far too busy for tea parties, you know. I’ve plenty to do in the garden, thank you very much. And the shed needs painting.”

“That’s a pity, said Elsa, with only the slightest twitch of her mouth. “I suppose our girly conversations are a bit on the dull side for you, dear.”

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Karen Byrom

My coffee mug says "professional bookworm" which sums me up really! As commissioning fiction editor on the magazine, I love sharing my reading experience of the latest books, debut authors and more with you all, and would like to hear from you about your favourite books and authors! Email me