You sat still at Miss Binnington's
No swinging legs or kicking feet
Back pressed against chair back
Bottom firmly held to chair seat.
Children seen but not heard
A rule very seldom broken
Only in reply could
Any word be spoken.
The starched table cloth
Pristine white and clean
Ironed and smooth with
Not a wrinkle to be seen.
Cake stand with its little cakes
Placed precisely in the centre
A reverent hush prevailed as we
Waited for Miss Binnington to enter,
Bearing tea in China cups
Delicate and thin
Really the only way then
To serve tea in.
A little decorum followed
Until she quietly departed
And then, only then, was
Our afternoon tea started.
Eat as silently as you could
As delicately as you were able
Only an uncultured yob dare
Put his elbows on the table.
Seventy years and more years ago
Miss Binnington's now long gone
A more crazy and frenetic world
As the century rolled quietly on.
Children these enlightened days
No longer sit silent and in awe -
Good manners and respect
Don't seem to matter anymore.
Some times things change
A little more than they maybe ought to
I think sometimes we now
Throw out both baby and bath water.