Tea for One

Alice Taylor

Some people are home alone by choice, while others, like Alice, journeyed into it through a change of circumstances. Alice discovers the challenges and pleasures of living alone.
Date Published :
December 2021
Publisher :
The O'Brien Press
Contributor(s) :
Emma Byrne
Illustration :
70 Halftones, color
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781788492799
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 8.5 X 5.3 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Some people are home alone by choice, while others, like Alice, journeyed into it through a change of circumstances. But no matter how it comes about, living alone has its minuses and its pluses. We strive to get the balance right, finding ways to enjoy the peace and solitude and keep ourselves occupied. From improving her painting to perfecting her garden, exploring family histories and reclaiming her mother’s art of tea-making, Alice discovers the challenges and pleasures of living alone.

About The Author

Alice Taylor lives in the village of Innishannon in County Cork, in a house attached to the local supermarket and post office. Since her eldest son has taken over responsibility for the shop, she has been able to devote more time to her writing.

Alice Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. When she married, she moved to Innishannon where she ran a guesthouse at first, then the supermarket and post office. She and her husband, Gabriel Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2005, had four sons and one daughter. In 1984 she edited and published the first issue of Candlelight, a local magazine which has since appeared annually. In 1986 she published an illustrated collection of her own verse.

To School Through the Fields was published in May 1988. It was an immediate success, and quickly became the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland. It launched Alice on a series of signing sessions, talks and readings the length and breadth of Ireland. Her first radio interview, forty two minutes long on RTÉ Radio's Gay Byrne Show, was the most talked about radio programme of 1988, and her first television interview, of the same length, was the highlight of the year on RTÉ television's Late Late Show. Since then she has appeared on radio programmes such as Woman's Hour, Midweek and The Gloria Hunniford Show, and she has been the subject of major profiles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday.

Alice has written nearly twenty books since then, large exploring her village of Inishannon, and the way of life in rural Ireland. She has also written poetry and fiction: her first novel, The Woman of the House, was an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the paperback fiction lists for many weeks.

One of Ireland's most popular authors, her most recent book is And Life Lights Up.

Emma Byrne is a graphic designer and artist. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design. She has won numerous awards for her design including The IDI (Irish Design Institute) Graduate Designer of the Year, the IDI Promotional Literature Award for her work on Brown Morning, and a Children’s Books Ireland Bisto Merit Award for her work on Something Beginning With P: New Poems from Irish Poets. She has illustrated many books, including Best-Loved Oscar Wilde, Best Loved Yeats, The Most Beautiful Letter in the World by Karl O’Neill, a special edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, and A Terrible Beauty by Mairéad Ashe Fitzgerald. She lives in a thatched house in Co. Wexford.



Learning from the Elders page 9

As Time Goes By 11

Solitude 21

Let’s Have a Cup of Tea 23

The Gift of a Book 29

My Beloved Comforter 39

Catch Your Hare 47

A Gaggle of Geese 55

History in Our Heads 63

Written in Stone 73

Gardening 83

A Little Bit of Heaven 85

Fake or Real? 91

The Scent of a Rose 101

Gatherings 109

And God Made Sunday 111

Separate Tables 121

Sign of the Times 129

Going the Distance 137

Challenges in Isolation 145

Grounded! 147

Storm in a Teacup 151

Not Now! 157

Changing Seasons 165

Goodbye, Goodbye to Summer 167

Flower Power 173

And Here Comes Christmas 181

The Highway to Santa 191

Releasing Happy Hormones 199

Baby, It’s Cold Outside 205

Hope Springs Eternal 215

Roots 223

Afterword 233

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