I’m still house-bound with this wretched chest infection but on the positive side, it’s meant I’ve had more time than usual to make endless cups of tea and also to read the whole of the weekend paper, a rarity for me. I very much enjoyed reading an article in the Observer Food Monthly by the charming Alexander McCall Smith (of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency fame). A fellow tea addict, McCall Smith makes the eloquent observation that “tea is not just a drink. It’s a social and cultural statement, with its own etiquette and sense of ritual; it provides comfort and routine in times of crisis.” He’s preaching to the converted with me but it is true that whatever the situation, or however you are feeling, there is a place for tea. Even when I’ve been unable to taste anything this week, with my senses clouded by the flu, I’ve still taken much enjoyment from sipping on a warm, soothing cup of tea.
In a previous post, I wrote about the healing effect of tea on war-torn Rwanda. Well, McCall Smith reminds us that tea also played an important healing and morale-boosting role in WW2 – the tea ladies during the Blitz were renowned for their resilience and determination to provide tea for the firefighters and wardens no matter how difficult the conditions. This spirit makes me think of the famous ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster.
Speaking of war time nostalgia, check out these retro tea and coffee tins I bought from M&S a while back. I only just re-found them but I love the packaging and the fact that the tin displays a price of 1d – bargain!
I love this photo of McCall Smith watering his plants with tea. Seems a little eccentric but my mother swears by the same method to nurture her orchid collection. I tried this myself with my own £5 Ikea orchid and amazingly, it has just blossomed for the second time (see below). So there you go, plants appreciate the healing power of tea too! Uhoh, I’m sounding more like a crazy old lady by the minute…promise you an edgy fashion post next!