January 22nd 2013
Tea. What a beautiful word. What a beautiful thing. What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to drink some tea? Tea is everyone's first thought if something terrible happens. If you are the unfortunate one in trouble you feel a mug of tea being pressed into your hands before almost anything else. If you are the friend who watching a loved one in distress no words to comfort or help come to the fore, all you want is for this person to be happy again and the first thing you can do to set them on that path is give them a cup of tea. Tea is everyone's first thought when someone arrives at the house after a journey. One person comes in through the door gasping for air and lugging innumerable bags, the other squeals, hugs them. The bags are put down and tea is offered, there is a sigh and a "Yes! Tea!" before the coat comes off or they are more than two metres over the threshold.
I absolutely love tea. I remember my Nana teaching me how to make a cup of tea when I was in primary school. She wasn't a tea drinker, she drank coffee all the time...not sure I ever remember seeing her drink a cup of tea. I felt so grown up, not only was I allowed to drink tea, but I was allowed to make my own cup of it! I say cup, everyone knows tea needs to be in a mug.
Thinking about it, I believe my first foray into serious tea drinking would have been in sixth form. We had a common room which contained a kettle and fridge, tea was naturally going to enter the equation. I took the step into pretty serious tea drinking at uni. That's where tea making skills are honed...everyone knows you can't just leave the room and go make yourself a cup of tea. If you're going out there, if you're boiling a kettle, then you are honour bound to offer everyone in the room a cuppa. Even if the level of milk left means you have to use a pipette. Well, to do otherwise just wouldn't be cricket now, would it?
There was a brief time at uni where we all became obsessed by Earl Grey. Now don't get me wrong, I am extremely partial to a spot of Earl Grey from time to time, but in general life I'm a bog standard English Breakfast PG tips girl. But there was a time where someone would make the offer "Tea?" and naturally, everyone would respond in the affirmative. They would then offer "Earl Grey?" and it was like they might as well not have bothered. If Earl Grey was to be had, had it would have to be. Now, I tend to keep it as a treat for when I'm feeling absolutely mental.
A firm favourite memory of tea is watching Nicola (different Nicola, notice the lack of 'h' in there, keep up) supervise Bex in her tea making procedure. We were determined to figure out why she made such a bad cup of tea, but it seemed there was no rhyme nor reason to it. She did exactly as we did, but it was just bad. She's much better now, maybe she was just trying to get out of making tea for seven as it would have been then.
When I first started emailing Nich about the flat one of the first questions she asked me was about my tea preference, and I'm pretty sure that's why we bonded. It was possibly the first question she posed upon opening the door to me, and it's almost definitely the most common one in all our conversations. I love sharing a cup of tea with the missus, and am very excited about doing so in France, just to stick it to em.
I'll admit, I had a bit of a tea dry spell last year, but I'm over it now. I've really got back in the swing of things. I think part of the problem is that I don't generally get time for a proper cup of tea whilst at work. I'm either gulping down tea hotter than the sun or realising with a sad sinking feeling that I've left two thirds of a cup of the side because I made it slightly too late. But today was a good day. Today I had six cups. Five regular, one decaf. The last one was the best of the day, not because of its lack of buzz, but because it was consumed in the bath, with all the bubbles, two Lindor and a book.
In conclusion, and yes this is an essay, if you want to get on my good side offer me tea. I am fairly likely to react with the standard sigh of satisfaction. I'm trying not to go and get another one as we speak. But, if you're going...milk, no sugar. Ta.