Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Taking Tea

I am plagued with a bad memory. I don’t just mean forgetting names or faces (but why is it that I can always remember one but not the other?). It is more complex than that. For example, I am constantly forgetting things to do things that I know are of great help to me – anything from praying Scripture when I am worried to planning fortnightly menus. It is more than just a question of lack of self discipline (I have that too) but genuinely forgetting that such solutions to the problems I may be troubled with even exist. Something for another post.

Less serious is a tendency to forget things that I really enjoy doing. I’ll be doing or making or eating something and think to myself “Golly, I really enjoy this! Why don’t I do it more often?” and then it will hit me like a flash that at sometime in the dim or not so distant past, I actually did that very thing but it had passed out of my memory until now.

Now it is hardly earth shattering either in terms of enjoyment or importance, but I have recently re-discovered a forgotten pleasure: tea. I have always drunk a lot of tea and enjoyed it. I am English, after all. One of the things that thrilled me about my then husband-to-be was that when he offered me a cup of tea and I replied “Best drink of the day!” he knew exactly which 1980’s Tea Council advert I was referring to. But what I have re-discovered is the pleasure not of your everyday teabag but rather that of trying different kinds of exotic and elegant leaf teas. The kind of tea that belongs in a flowery china cup and not a sturdy mug. Even better for me, I have discovered a stash of exotic loose tea in one of my chaotic kitchen cupboards, remnants of Christmas and birthday gifts. Not sure how old it is but then surely tea keeps forever – or so I’m hoping.

The re-discovery stems from my sister’s visit this January, when we took afternoon tea at Claridges Hotel in London. Oh my, what an experience! We followed it up with several visits to the wonderful Food For Thought Café in Westerham, Kent where they serve the most delicious pots of tea and homemade cakes. I was hooked. Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, black, green or white. You know there is a whole wonderful world of tea out there waiting to be explored! I enjoy the ritual of the tea strainer but must admit that finding a 'single serving' cafetiere/french press (50p from the charity shop and ideal for tea) has made the business easier. Many varieties of tea are available now as organic and Fair Trade and not only that but tea-leaves are a fabulous addition to the compost bin. A guilt free pleasure indeed!

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