I love tea. I talk about tea all the time (and not just on this blog). Tea is a British Institution. It’s a symbol of the Stiff Upper Lip, Tally-ho and WotWot of all British clichés. I do nothing to disperse this image – when I’m in a restaurant I still have to ask for tea (and not an espresso or whatever’s fashionable coffee). Tea is a cure for all ills, and that’s why we English love it (I can’t speak for the Welsh, Scottish or Irish – though I hear that they’re not averse to it). It solves crises, resolves arguments, begins love affairs, ends love affairs, keeps families together and has been witness to gossip and intrigue for centuries.
For me, a good cup of tea is ideal in the following situations:
1. In front of the telly/watching a film
2. Reading a book
4. When you’ve just got up (particularly good when hungover or über-tired)
5. When you’ve just got in from work/shopping/walking the dog/seeing friends
6. Just after dinner/lunch
7. When you have cake
8. When you’re catching up with friends and/or family
9. When you’ve just got in and it’s been raining/snowing/hailing/all of the above and there is a radiator on and you have big fluffy slippers on and you can just rest
10. ALL THE TIME
The title of this blog post has been shamelessly ripped off and adapted from the book I am currently reading: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This book, I have decided, is a particularly good tea-drinking book. It’s not a huge, heavy tome that requires both hands to hold (so therefore one hand is free for tea), and it’s not too intense that you forget you have tea and then take a slurp of tepid tea-like stuff and nearly spill it down you in horror. So I have been drinking lots of tea whilst reading Perks, but I have also been drinking a lot of tea whilst I write.
I have already gone over this in previous posts – and it’s a well-known fact amongst NaNo-heads that the healing qualities of tea can help all those ailing under the NaNo-madness (which, strangely, is sorely missed right now). I now feel that tea should have a cameo in the novel. As, after all, it is tea that has got me thus far, and it will be tea that takes me to the end in limping, milky-with-lots-of-sugars-please moments. Now, the decision is: what kind of tea should it be? Is it going to be tea as we know it – that black-leafed, bagged-up stuff that you add your milk to? Or should it be that posh, fancy-free tea – green tea or herbal tea or fruit tea or whatever-else-tea it’s popular to be gulping down at the moment?
Is it a good old-fashioned British mug of black breakfast tea for a fantasy novel, or a flower-infused herbal hot water? I honestly can’t decide – the herbal stuff seems more… fantastical to me. And yet, I’m a traditionalist at heart. If it’s not PG Tips (though there are many other brands available in your local supermarket), I’m not interested. I’m only just coming round to Earl Grey and Lady Grey! How can I hope to know about jasmine tea and peppermint tea if I simply don’t know enough about it? Mummaloo drinks fruit and herbal teas by the tank-load. They smell delicious, and are far less faff than your bog-standard cuppa (just-add-water), but they don’t have any of the heart-warming qualities of that beige-brown, hot liquid that we know as TEA.
What’s your top brew? Any suggestions for Fantasy Tea?