Tea Time for the Traditionally Built


The last six weeks of the school year is always a mad rush to get everything done. There are units to finish teaching, assessments to give and correct, report cards to fill out, field trips, special school activities, and all the hundreds of little details of closing out your classroom before the summer break.  Even after 23 years of teaching, it still all takes my breath away.  That’s what I’ve been feeling this week: breathless. 

So it was a miracle, and a pleasure, that I was even able to read a book this week.  And no surprise that it was Alexander McCall Smith’s new book, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.  As anyone who loves his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series knows, these books are perfect antidotes to all the hustle, bustle, and stress of everyday life.  I enjoyed it immensely. It reminded me to focus on what’s really important in life; it inspired me with wonderful little nuggets of wisdom and common sense; and it warmed my heart with it’s gentle kindness.   And because this is a week of remembering my Dad (today would have been his 89th birthday), I was particularly touched by Mma Ramotswe’s memories of her own beloved father, who is also late.

She closed her eyes.  She was standing next to her father, the late Obed Ramotswe, that great man, and he was handing her an ice cream. He was wearing his hat, his battered old hat that he wore until the day he went into hospital for the last time. And he smiled at her from underneath the brim of that old hat, and the sun was behind him, high in the sky, and the ice cream tasted sweeter and purer than anything else she had ever tasted in her life. She would give anything — anything — to have her father back with her, just for a day, so that she could tell him about how her life had been and how she owed everything to him and to his goodness to her.


11 thoughts on “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

  1. Kristen M.

    What a sweet post …
    I haven’t read this series yet but have been watching the HBO series and it has made me cry almost every episode. There is just so much goodness in it.
    And one of the best tributes you can pay to a parent is to know that they were and would be proud of you … that says volumes about they person *they* were.


  2. Les in NE

    This is such a beautiful post.

    I haven’t started this series, but have 3 or 4 in my stacks. Soon.

    By the way, your dad and my mom share the same birthdate.


  3. Kim

    Oh my, what a lovely post. My dad is not gone yet, and I still had tears in my eyes reading that quote. I have loved everything I have read by this author, but haven’t read anything recently–they are such gentle stories, aren’t they?
    I hope you have a sweet Friday–


  4. Nan

    I love those books so much. There is a pace, a kindness, a real warmth I don’t find anywhere else in literature. I love the connection with your dad, Robin. I wonder if that is how AMS feels about his.


  5. Kailana

    I find this series hit or miss with me! I didn’t like the first book, but I tried a later book in the series and enjoyed it. One of these days I will read it from beginning to end, but at the moment it is not a priority!

    I do like the passage, though!


  6. Robin Post author

    Thanks for your kind words, Kristen. I’d love to see the TV series, too, but will have to wait to see it on DVD.

    Bybee, it is a daily thing, missing them, isn’t it.

    Nymeth, they’re very warmhearted books, and just hit the spot at certain times for me.

    DebbieNance, happy unbirthday to you! …and I do hope you get to read these sometime soon!

    Thanks, Les. You have some very enjoyable reading ahead of you! A very happy birthday to your Mom, who shares a very special birthday!

    Thanks, Kim. I’m so glad you still have your Dad. Enjoy every moment. Those memories will be precious later on.

    Thanks, Nan. I’ve wondered the same thing about AMS. I’ve also thought that he must be an incredibly compassionate person to write such heartfelt stories.

    They’re a complete hit with me, Kailana, but they are simple, lightweight stories. For me, it’s the warmth and honesty of the interactions between the characters that I love. I wonder if they’re able to portray that as well in the TV version?

    Oh Jessica, sorry to hear you’re drowning in work, too! I hope it lightens up for you soon!



Leave a Reply to Nymeth Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s