Down a narrow winding street in the older part of town, there is a row of little stone cottages, not too small, but cozy. Originally, they were private homes, but that was before the area became commercial and now they are little shops. The one furthest from the center of town has lavender and lace curtains and a beautiful, well-tended garden bordering its short front path. There is a sign on a wrought iron post to the left of the door. It reads Tea and Memories.
Inside, the décor is all blurry pastels and soft fabrics, warm and inviting but not too fussy. There is always a fire in the little stone fireplace, a ward against the outside damp. There are four small round tables, each covered with a pale green linen cloth and a layer of intricate lace. A small glass vase filled with delicate flowers and curling ferns rests in the center of each table, no matter how harsh and inhospitable the weather outside becomes. The floors are honey-colored wood, polished to high gloss, and there are braided rugs scattered across the floor like clouds in a glistening sky. The side windows all have window seats laid with velvet pillows, inviting you to sit and look out at the riot of colorful flowers in the side yard. It’s brisk and chilly outside, but always warm and peaceful indoors. Someone has painted the walls cheerfully yellow, not harsh, but friendly. There are bookshelves against the walls in most places, lined with heavy leather bound first editions interspersed with paperback romances and cloth covered children’s books. Somehow, you know that you’re always welcome to pull a book off the shelf and read while you wait. A small upright piano stands beside the fireplace, with sheet music strewn across the top, not messy just used and appreciated. The kitchen is in the back, small, but not overly so. The countertops are tiled in clean white and the cupboards are painted to match. Pale blue trim offsets the white, making the kitchen homey and not at all sterile. A large cookie jar decorated with stars rests on the counter and it is always full. The kitchen window has a wide shelf of teapots above it, large and small, fine china and sturdy ceramic, all available for use. There are scones in the oven, fat and moist, popping with currants. The little refrigerator has a bowl of Devonshire cream and a squat jar of handmade strawberry preserves in it, waiting to be pulled out and used. Water is always boiling in the kettle on the stove, ready to be poured over one of the thirty different kinds of tea leaves stored in the brightly colored canisters on the mantelpiece. The whole place smells of cinnamon and something else, something elusive and comforting. It’s a peaceful place, a warm friendly haven that invites the weary and stressed to come and sit a while and relax and remember a time when it wasn’t necessary to push and bully to maintain a place in the world. It is a step outside time and into the world of its proprietress, Mnemosyne.