Sunday, 16 August 2009

Tea Snobbery

I was just reading Rhondi's blog "Rose Coloured Glasses" (or "R. COLORED G. if you're American) in which she's showing us a gorgeous tea pot she' bought. It made me think, you know, what a lot of tea snobs we still are here in England.

You would think we invented the stuff. Crikey, we can't even grow it! How you store it, how you warm the pot, how many spoons of tea you use, whether you stir it or just leave it to infuse (or 'mash' or 'brew' depending on where you come from in this sceptred isle), what temperature the water should be, milk into the cup first or last, sugar lumps or granulated. It's a minefield!

Now I wouldn't presume to tell you how you ought to mash tea - my term of choice. I just want to lead you gently through some of the pitfalls, then you're on your own.

The first Enormous Question is "Tea bags or leaf tea?". Now I have to say that even here most people use teabags. Purists will by now have shot me down in flames because, as EVERYBODY knows, teabags are just the sweepings-up from the packing room floor. Incuding the dust and ants and spiders and leftover sandwich crumbs. OK, following? So leaf tea it is then then.

By common consent, you keep tea in a cool, dry place but NOT in a tupperware box even if it has "Tea" printed on it in pseudo gold-leaf. Not in anything made of plastic. A wooden tea caddy for choice but a china one if you must. Eons ago they used to line their wooden tea caddies with lead but someone must have set them right on that score. The lady of the house also used to keep her tea caddy locked so the dastardly servants didn't pinch it because tea was almost literally worth its weight in gold. We might do well to consider this idea again. Oh, I forgot, we don't have servants! So, it's in an unlocked wooden box. Are you with me so far? It's a wonder Tupperware hasn't gone out of business seeing as it seems not to be recommended for anything very much.

How much tea to use - that's a tricky one. If you use the 'one for each cup and one for the pot' rule of thumb you're setting yourself up for tea you could stand your spoon up in! Some people actually like it like that - there's nowt so queer as folk! Ooh, my friend Marcy is going to have a field day with that last statement! I say, make it how you like it and if anyone wants it stronger, stick a tea bag in their cup for them to stab at.

When the water hits the tea in the pot it has to be boiling and you must "...always use freshly drawn water.". The tea is supposed to be in a dry pot. It's important, apprently. It's also important you warm the pot by putting some of the boiling water in it. By the time you have done this and then dried the pot and put your loose tea in you'll be lucky if it's even lukewarm by the time the water hits.

Whether you put the milk in first or last is a knotty problem which has long occupied the purists. Personally, I don't put any milk in at all, not in mine, but this has maybe made me a bit selfish because if you put the milk in last it means you have to mucky a spoon stirring the tea (more washing up) when your guest might not have bothered if he/she didn't want sugar. Put the milk in first and it's self-agitating. Of course you always get the guest who can't possibly get on and drink the stuff until he/she has stirred it within an inch of its life. I had an uncle like that. He did all his best thinking while gazing blankly into space stirring his tea. No doubt he had a learned tome on the origin of the species within him only Darwin stirred his tea first.

Sugar lumps or granulated is a matter of personal choice too. People like my uncle are better off with lumps as they take a little while to dissolve and gives some purpose to their labour. Don't give such people the best china cups through - a thick mug will do - as, once done stirring, they absolutely HAVE to rap the edge of the spoon sharply on the rim of the cup. Twice. Your best Spode won't stand it.

Arrogantly, we are always surprised to find other nationalities do drink tea. We thought it was our sole preserve. They don't half do some strange things with it though.

My German friend likes hers made in a pot and the pot then perched on a stand with a tea light (a little candle thing) under it. That saves using a tea cosy and is fine if you like stewed tea. Then she pours some cream - CREAM - in her cup, followed by a couple of spoonsful of white candy sugar. Then she pours on the stewed tea into the mix very carefully but doesn't stir it. She drinks the tea, being careful not to disturb the syrupy sediment in the bottom. Then it's in with the teaspoon and she EATS the sugary mess! Then she does it all over again.

An Indian bloke that Keith worked with didn't use water at all in his. He infused a cinnamon stick in boiling milk to make it. Well, it did at least solve ONE problem! You would think he'd know better, coming from the same place as the tea. It couldn't be US who's wrong could it?

I favour this method, as long as no guests are coming: TYea bag in mug, boil the kettle up - for the umpteenth time - and leave tea bag i while you find a nice biscuit to dunk. Fish tea bag out and enjoy.

How do you drink yours?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Things I can't do without.....

I was tagged recently by Daisymum of "Notes from Daisy Mountain" to produce a list of 7 absolutely amazing things about me. Well, I've thought and thought and I can't think of anything. Everything about me is dead ordinary. So I'm counter-tagging (can you do that?) with "7 things I couldn't do without". I'm not tagging anyone in particular (except Daisymum) but everyne in general. I would love to hear other ideas.

Times have changed, haven't they? Stating the obvious I know but what I couldnt live without nowadays is very different from the list I might have compiled 30 years ago.

I need - absolutely, no question:

Freezer - How did I ever make do with the tiny compartment at the top of the fridge? You couldn't actually set anything to freeze in it but it was OK for sticking your packet of ice lollirs in, always supposing you could find a pack small enough to fit! You could even put a small packet of fish fingers in as long as you ate the lollies up first. Now how did we get from that to the tons of stuff we put in our freezers now that need a regular trip to the freezer shop?

Computer - I remember my boss in the 1980's announcing that he had just bought a computer for home. "Why?" I wondered silently. "That's nice," I said out loud, "What are you going to do with it?". "Shopping lists. kids' school work....lots of things," he replied, scuttling off to his own office. This was when we didn't even have an electric typewriter in the office! It was when the Company's Computer Department was like the holy of holies and you had to knock at the door and wait to be let in. There was special air conditioning units and huge metal machines along the wall with large spinning tape reels that the Company Secretary used to bring out of hiding each morning in their special stainless steel cans. Gosh, but they were mysterious!

Look at us now! How would I know whether there was any money in the bank? How would I order my repeat prescriptions? How would I keep in touch with friends? How would I get my groceries delivered? And that's before I've even started swanning about the internet, booking a weekend away. theatre tickets, holidays. Sends you giddy! And do they fill an office block? Nah - mine sits on my desk but is huge compared to some. I would find it well nigh impossible to do without it now.

Mobile Phone - I always swore one of these would never darken my handbag; that if you couldn't get me at home then you would just have to wait. You would not catch me texting people. oh no! How wrong can you be? My mobile phone is the most basic you can get but even so it still doubles as a camera and, with internet access, as a mini-computer. You would think the makers of Filofax would be out of business wouldn't you? You can keep your diary and organise your life on your mobile...can't you? No quite. You still see the good olf Filofax being hoisted aloft because people can't actually remember how to DO all the functions on their phones!

The car - yes I know we are supposed to be minding our carbon footprints but honestly, how many of us are prepared - or able - to do without our cars entirely? My wheelchair makes public transport difficult and walking or cycling impossible - I need the car. There's no public transport that goes near Keith's workplace - he needs the car. {titter titter} what a sight it would be if we were still on horseback!

Central Heating - Brrr, I have many unfond memories as a kid of the windows being iced up - on the inside! I remember my mum beavering away downstairs lighting a coal fire while us kids sat at the top of the stairs wittering on about "Can we come down yet...?" I can't remember ever feeling cold but surely I must have been. I would be these days, that's for sure. What did we do for heating when there was no touch-of-a-button gas boiler? A big roaring fire in the living room and then, at bed time, dad would take a shovelful of the red-hot coals upstairs to start off the fire in their bedroom. Doesn't bear thinking about does it, but tha's what he did!

My Kenwood Chef - I've had my Kenwood for years and I expect it'll be good for a few more years yet. Pre-Kenwood I used to make cakes by doing it all with a fork (my preferred tool in those days for creaming butter and sugar). It was less washing up but, by gum (Marcy?) it was hard work! Most of my little appliances - food processor, blender, mini-chopper, carving knife - are by Kenwood. But only one thing is known as The Kenwood. God bless it and long live it!

My thumbs - Whatever should we do without them? If we didn't have thumbs we might as well not have fingers either. Wihtout my left thumb I wouldn't be able to text anyone. I cannot seem to make my right thumb work for this little job. My right thumb operates the space bar on my computer all by itself - see, the typing classes taught me something at least. Without my thumbs I'm pretty sure I couldn't untie knots in bits of string or tie a bow in ribbon - or, worse, tie my shoes! And if thumbs had never been invented, what would Agatha Christie have called one of her books? "By the Pricking of My........."???????? OK, over to you - anyone inventive with thumbs? No rude answers!

Sorry my little mouse is in the wrong place again, It's a law unto itself that mouse.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

I don't believe it.........

It's been a lovely day today so, up early, we took a ride to


some friends are getting married on 22nd so I hoped to find some shoes that looked a little bit presentable. I did. I won't be able to walk in them but they look OK sitting down. Keith got a lilac shirt (sometimes I worry about him, I do) and tie and after a cup of coffee and a look round my favourite shop, Lakeland, we thought, or rather I did, "Home before lunch just in time for Keith to mow the grass". Happy little bunnies we were. Until we saw what was on the car window: A PARKING TICKET! Every time we go to Lincoln we park in the same car park, and time and again I have asked if, displaying a disabled blue badge, we have to pay anything. No, they always say, just park anywhere. Today we managed to find a Disabled space empty so we parked in it and off we went, on our merry way. So now we've got a £70 fine. If I pay within 14 days it's £35. Well, there is no arguing with these people, you have to pay and that's that. You see, I truly don't mind paying if that's the rule but to have been told so many times I don't have to is infuriating. When did they change the rules I wonder? Grrrr!

Just wanted to let off steam!!!!!!!!!
Having had a good witter, I'll leave you to enjoy your Saturday Evening



Monday, 3 August 2009

Just a little posting


People Like me

They do, by and large! Not everybody of course, I'm sure. Nobody likes everybody all the time. Generally speaking though.
I was quite surprised this came up when I was looking for something nice to say about me today because sometimes I feel like the most horrible person. Maybe this 'positive thinking' lark gets easier.

Here's a bit of useless information for you:

At 5 minutes and 6 seconds after 4am on 7th August this year (that's on Friday if you're bothered!), the time and date will be 04:05:06 07/08/09.

So there!

And a little something to chuckle about:

A lorry driver was going to Chester Zoo with 500 penguins to deliver. When his lorry broke down, another lorry driver asked if he could help at all. "Yes," said the first man, "If I pay you £500, please will you take these penguins to the zoo?"

The other man looked startled. "I - I suppose so," he said, "If that's what you want."

"Sure do," said the first lorry driver, and gave a sigh of relief as the penguins were gently led from one lorry to the other. Next day the first driver finally got to Chester and to his amazement saw the second driver walking down the cobbled street followed by 500 happy penguins in single file. "Wh-wh-what's going on?" he gasped, "I gave you £500 to take these to the zoo!"
"And so I did," said the other man, "But there's some money left over, so today we're going bowling."

And finally - a point to ponder.......

Why didn't Noah swat those 2 mosquitoes?


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Think Positive


I have nice eyes
. I like my eyes and I'm forever grateful that I can see. My ears don't work very well but my eyes do - and, if I had to choose, I would rather not hear than not see.
They're quite pretty too, my eyes. I remember when I was in my early teens and about to go into the operating theatre, the anaesthetist saying to her colleague "Hasn't she got lovely eyes". I've been dining out on that ever since!

I don't know whether I should throw a party or what - Keith has taken a trailer load of junk to the council tip. "I'm just going round to Bob's to see what time they open," he said. I practically dragged him back by the hair- "Oh no you dont," I said, "I'll look on the computer." So here I am posting at 10 past 9 while he is safely away dumping stuff. Well, I had to check my Dashboard didn't I? And my Emails?

There was something on TV earlier on about counterfeit "" companies and online shopping in general. It's frightening! I thought we could trust sites displaying the padlock sign but apparently even that's not foolproof. What's a girl to do?

Just a short entry today - the sun's just come out. According to the weatherman (right) the rest of the day is going to be fine and the rain is going to KENT!!! The trouble is Kent is only a little county. The rain will have popped off the end of there in no time.