Tea with a Stranger, Katsjourney Around the World: 9 March, 2003

Tea With a Stranger
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 18:11:58 -0600
I  met an elderly woman on my flight from Melbourne to Tasmania a few weeks

ago. I would guess her age was around 85 years old.  But it often hard for

me to tell after the age of 70 because your looks start to reflect the

amount of sun damage, smoke damage, alcohol damage and just general diet

that you have endured.  This lady was delightful.  She was wearing a little blue

dress with a little matching hat, shoes and handbag.  She had several gray

hairs growing out of her chin and her lipstick was a bit askew. Other than

that, she was very “put together”.

She had been in Melbourne to go to as friend’s 95th birthday party. taz quantas link We were

on a short hop Qantas Link service and those planes do not have a first

class.  We were in the
very front row.  When we were ready to deplane, she

told the businessman behind us that she was “quick going down the

stairs”…she refused to get old.  I found that inspirational.

During the flight we chatted about her garden and the upcoming Launceston

Cup horse race coming up in Tasmania.  She invited me to her house for tea

later that week.  I thought, why not?  She told me her name was “Lewis”.

Sure enough, on a rainy, dreary Friday she phoned my flat and said she

would collect  me in an hour.  She still drove; although not really that

well.  Come to find out, she litaz mansionved alone in a national registered mansion

(built in the 1800’s) just on the edge of Hobart in an area called Sandy Bay.
The inside of her house was like a museum.  Evidently, she came from one of the wealthiest families in Tasmania as did her deceased husband.

There were old fashioned fireplaces in every room with beautiful wood carved


taz mansion 2
I found this photo on the home listing page.

There were priceless antiques from England and all kinds of china

and collectibles displayed.  The parlor, where we had tea, had a beautiful

chandelier. We sipped on Earl Grey tea and sampled some of her home made

biscuits and cookies. We chatted about her children and life in the port

town of Hobart, Tasmania.  She seemed to have a busy agenda for someone 85

years old.  But I could also see how loneliness would engulf her in that

giant home with only the sounds of the 18th century clock collection to keep

her company.

She took me for a stroll in her acre garden.  She has lived there for over

50 years and has planted everything in that garden.  It was obviously still

her favourite pastime as she picked fresh fruit for me to eat off the trees

and the snipped a few of the most beautiful scented roses I have ever

smelled.  The garden won Australia’s Better Homes & Gardens “Garden of the

Year” in 1996.

taz mansion garden
Even after her death the roses still bloom.

It was a nice diversion after spending several days alone exploring the city

on my own. You see, the older woman AND the younger woman were both a bit


***2016 Note: I did not have my camera with me that day.  However, I did a bit of research and found the home listing and grabbed a few photos from it. I was thrilled to find it after all these years. She has passed away, but her sweet memory lives on with me. Even though we were only together for a brief moment in time.


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