So, it’s come to this. I have finally turned into my Great Auntie Flo who liked nothing more than a nice cup of tea and a sit down. At least, that’s what I remember about her: we used to go on family visits to Aberdeen and sit in her darkened front room (only ever used for guests) drinking tea which had been mashed to within an inch of her life. And my grandma always drank her tea black, a throw back from the war when there wasn’t milk to spare to put in her cuppa. For me a cup of tea symbolises tradition, family, peace and quiet, safety.
But for a long time tea just wasn’t funky was it? No one who was ‘trendy’ drank tea, it was all about the cafe au lait, the cafetieres, the Starbucks, the double mochachino to go. It was getting a bit too French (who, by the way are terrible at making coffee) or perhaps too American (which was more about the bucket of coffee and the buzz). Well, hurrah, something good came out of the riots in the UK last week: we’re all drinking tea again.
Operation Cup of Tea came about as a direct response to the shocking scenes of destruction last week on the UK streets. Sam Pepper, a creative young fella, hit the nail right on the head last week when he launched his Operation Cup Of Tea on Facebook and Twitter, encouraging people to stay in and have a cuppa every evening instead of charging around the neighbourhood terrorising and burglarising the law-abiding citizens. So far over 300,000 people have joined the campaign. From this idea has come a charity which is aiming to raise money for the people affected by the lootings, and now, tea parties. Jolly D! Bring back the tea!
What’s not to like? Plain old water is plain old boring after a while, and we have to drink plenty of fluids in these current temperatures. I certainly don’t want to go the same way as Antony Andrews who overdosed on water back in 2003 causing himself to develop something called ‘hyponatraemia’, that is, he virtually drowned his body in water and had to be hospitalised. And of course, there is the consolation factor of tea, as Bernard-Paul Heroux said, ‘there is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice of cup of tea’.
I think it’s pretty smart to be drinking tea this time of year (and here I have to say that I am going to include hippy tea along with builders’): it’s refreshing, it’s cheap, it’s good for you and it doesn’t leave you with a banging headache the next morning. But it’s still not really a ‘going out’ drink is it, unless you count Long Island Iced Tea in there, but that’s frankly cheating because there isn’t a single tea leaf in the cocktail. So let’s start a tea campaign, and have tea parties, tea tastings, tea dresses, cucumber sandwiches, cream scones….. Good idea for a charity event here on the island…. hmmm…. tea-riffic! Watch this space. Ching ching!