Time For Tea Valentine’s Day : Review by Ellie Jackson

The clatter of cutlery settled, as Sophie Powell Impressions Learning Manager began her welcome and interesting speech, about the Bradfordian born and bred photographer, Paul Reas; of which his exhibition “Day Dreaming About The Good Times ?”was on show at Impressions Gallery. It was nice to see that on this particular Valentine’s Day, individuals were brought together in what felt like a community and family spirit. New friends were made, and the chitter chatter of catch ups and new experiences, put a smile to your face amongst the wonderful cake, both homemade and bought, which brought in streams of people. P1240556 Even the New Focus members, four amazingly helpful girls Aneesa, Naayab, Marya and Samera, had the same spirit, each smartly dressed, one in particular sporting the Valentine’s Day theme with a very nice love heart patterned dress. Whether she had done this purposely I did not ask. Having a laugh in the kitchen whilst thirsty, newcomers and old were awaiting some newly washed cutlery, in order to down their third or fourth cup of tea; it was pointed out, ‘I think I do more washing up here, then I do at home’. At this comment I felt a sense of worth and pride, as I thought, ‘I’m actually doing something quite useful today.’ Even the struggles with the tea machine did not dampened the day, and created both amusement and laughs for the makers of the tea and the takers of the tea. There was one moment throughout the whole experience which by far stood out for me; and that was as a certain elderly lady, back for her second cup of tea, expressing her love of her former life. In which, she was born in India, explaining that trying to understand the art of putting on a Sari was a difficult task and claimed that if you put it on wrong it ‘made you look fat’. P1240628 After this she travelled to Aagra, the home of the Taj Mahal, then went to Punjab where she trained to be a doctor for more than five years, and worked in the same hospital that her mother had worked in, as she was the one that had inspired her to follow in her footsteps. Proceeding to arrive in Britain in 1959. At this point, as the stories continually flowed and my interest heightening, I ran to fetch a pen and a note pad, as there was not a chance I was going to miss, even the smallest details of today. Listening to this made me feel a sense of pride for who I am, but not just that. I was learning. Valentine’s Day themed songs were then sung to us by the beautiful sounding choir, ‘Champions Show The Way’. They were sung with such honesty that I began to well up inside at the words, ‘when I fall in love it be forever’. After this the raffle began, tickets pulled from a Victorian era styled hat. The prize; Champagne. And that was it for the day, groups newly formed tickled out, leaving their tea, cake and fond memories behind them P1240639 Wind back two hours, and everything was only just starting, cutlery clashing, cakes laid neatly across the table. New Focus members secretly wishing, ‘which of these cakes can I sneak today, without anyone noticing?’ Wondering what the day was going to bring us. I can honestly say that this particular Valentines, was by far one of my favourites, and it didn’t have to involve a boy. P1240594

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