The Art Site

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thanks, Earl Gray

Ahh, finally I'm writing. It's a quarter-past-two in the morning, and I've just sent off my essay to be checked by my English lecturer (relief) after rearranging for the millionth time the phrasing, spelling and grammar. And so to write - and after that to sleep, to sleep perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub - for in that sleep of sleeps what dreams may come when I have shuffled off this interminable blog post - will give me pause. There's the tiredness that makes calamity of so long a day.
I better stop there - the fact that I'm writing in the wee sma's is problematic enough without misquoted Shakespeare to boot.
...
About every fifteen minutes in our home, someone or other will request for the kettle to be put on, so that we can have a "nice, hot cup of tea". Humble Earl Gray tea bags have played a central part in our family's long and glorious traditions - nothing says home to me like that demand for tea at all hours of the day.

Tea. It's steamy and has a glowing amber colour when you pour it out of the thick-skinned teapot and into the thin-rimmed tea cups. The smell is slightly bitter, but the softened fragrance of the bergomot (the secret ingredient in EG tea) gives it a comforting smell. As soon as all the tea is sitting in the six cups, trim milk (it has to be trim, because blue milk is both fattening and too milky for tea) is poured in, and the two liquids are stirred. The result is pretty, if you think about it hard enough. The tea stains the milk a warm caramel colour, and as the milk is being mixed through with one of our second-hand silver spoons, it tangles itself in patterns with the tea.

Gingernuts. They were obligatory when it came to drinking tea - back in the old days, that is. In the days when we had morning tea together around the school table, an activity that consisted of cups of tea and gingernuts to be dunked.

Another thing that I connect with tea is visitors. We drink tea with special visitors, because a well-brewed cup of Earl Gray is the polite thing to offer guests, and then to drink in our thick-rimmed flower-splattered tea cups. On such occasions, cake plates of the same flower- splattered variety appear on our green vinyl table cloth, along with cake forks, and a little jug of trim milk. Without fail, there will be cake of some sort, or a slice - arranged just so on a pretty white plate. The visitors are duly impressed, but cover their amazement by saying in diluted tones: "What delicious cake. Did you make it, Michele, or did you buy it?" - then Mum has the well-known experience of saying: "Oh, yes, I did." And the visitors are doubly impressed.
Good conversation ensues when the visitors have demolished the cake and drunk several cups of tea each.

- I have a feeling this post was kind of weird. Blame it on me and the early hours.

2 Comments:

Blogger Emz said...

I love that about visiting you guys, tea is just a way of life :p So many good memories have been made over a cup of tea... and earl grey mmmmm :)

1:51 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

I know! it's like a rite whenever you come over for us to have earl grey tea..

11:33 am  

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