Monday, November 28, 2011

"The British are a nation of tea drinkers." Discuss.

I do love a cup of coffee once a day, but tea is my preferred drink
… I find it much more refreshing … and less of a diuretic as far as
my bladder is concerned.

(I’ve reached a certain age, where if I’m travelling any great distance,
I have to restrict the amount I drink, and also to allow at least two
hours before setting off (so I can pee most of the drink out)! But
that’s another story).

I wonder who was the first to say that we are a nation of tea drinkers
… no reference to this popped up on a search when I googled it. (By
the way, I wonder if the verb “to google” now appears in the O.E.D.?).

I did read one Google reference, which said that we import around 144
tons of tea annually. From looking at our supermarket shelves, most
of this ends up in tea bags of variable quality and price … not much
is being sold as loose leaf tea, which is what I prefer for flavour.

At present, Mrs C and I drink a blend of Twinings English Breakfast
tea and Darjeeling tea – which I blend in the ratio of two parts EBT
to one part DT. We like our tea strong … almost as dark as the rich
brown of conkers / medium brown boot polish, to which we add a small
amount of milk but no sugar. No, we don’t add the milk first, in
this household.

I once bought the DT in the form of tea-bags … never to be repeated
as it tasted really bad. I’ve recently made the mistake of buying
loose leaf DT, labelled as Fair Trade, from a well known supermarket.
Taste the difference, the label said. Well unfortunately we can, and
we don’t think it’s as good as the Twinings brand. Why should
different brands of the same tea taste so different, I wonder? The
experts do say that the better quality teas come about by picking
the leaf tips from the tea bushes. I gather that the worst quality
ones come from the sweepings up off the floor.

We’ve been disappointed by the taste of both Fair Trade teas and
coffees, so much so that we stopped buying them, which is a shame.
I know that is a generalisation, and we have come across the occasional
exception. Recently, we both had a cup of FT coffee at the café at
Newstead Abbey (Byron’s former home, north of Nottingham), which was
really lovely. I must ask what the name of the coffee is, when we next
pay a visit.

If we are going abroad, we usually take a supply of tea bags with us
… our favourites are the posh ones sold by Waitrose and M&S, and also
the ones made in Yorkshire, by Taylors. The teas sold abroad are often
our own brands imported there, or tea bags made by Liptons (which is
now owned by Unilever). This reminds me that way back in the 70s we
used to buy our tea from the Liptons home-delivery tea vans, which
was very good at the time. I see that you can still buy tea from
Liptons online, from Amazon and other companies. Perhaps that’s the
way all posh tea sales will go … online.

One of my former patients who loved travelling to countries like India,
gave me this piece of advice as regards avoiding traveller's diarrhoea:
always drink tea when you're abroad ... it's boiled up (which kills off
the germs). I once accepted the offer of a cup of tea from an Indian
postgraduate student, whom I visited at home, when I was a family doctor.
I was given a cup of tea made by boiling the tea up with water and
condensed milk ... it was boiling hot, too hot to drink, and it was
sickly sweet ... definitely not my cup of tea. You'd think the Indians
would have learned something from the years of British rule in India. :)

So, how do you like your tea?


And now for something completely different - an arty photograph
done with mirrors ...

(Click on this image to see a larger version, & Actions > View all sizes)

There are three more "reflections" on my Flickr site.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tea-time conversation between our grandchildren

The other day, 3 year old JJ asked his 5 year old sister A a question:
"What would you like me to get you for a Christmas present?"
A was pleasantly surprised to be asked this, and said after a little
thought: "Get me anything off the telly, please."

I think Santa has been side-lined here, but I'm also surprised myself
at JJ's question, as he doesn't get any pocket money. :)

Mrs C and I have just spent yet another long weekend in London,
visiting our daughter L and her family. You'll see a few more pics
of her children on my Flickr site (link to this on on the right hand

I spent yesterday finishing off a huge back-up of all my photos and
documents (on our two computers), about 10 GB in all, complicated
by the fact that some sets of photos were on one computer and not the
other, and other photos being duplicated on both. Also I've kept some
of the photos as RAW images, for future use, which added to huge
amount I've saved. I've also done registry cleaning & repairs,
plus defrags on both computers, using Auslogic software, and having
deleted loads of photos as well, the computers are operating a lot
faster (not surprisingly).

My next project is to do some tidying up of several bags of paperwork
(paid bills, financial statements, etc..), prior to making a start on
my wife's tax return. I'm hoping to complete the work on this in the
next 1-2 weeks, before the Xmas build-up & the festivities all start.

We'll be spending Xmas in Nottingham this year, and will be joined by
all our 4 daughters and partners, plus grandchildren, at various times
over Xmas. Our house will become a hotel again, with moi and Mrs C
working our socks off, to feed and entertain them all. Oh well, we
love seeing them all, and having them to stay with us.

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Autumn colour

Yesterday, Mrs C and I went a walk in a country park in North Nottingham,
one which we haven't visited for about 10 years ... we must go there more
often. As you'll see, there was a glorious soft light pouring into the
woodland ...


Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Some fab colour at this year’s fireworks display in Nottingham (just round the corner from where I live). Some of my photos are almost abstract works of art,
as if. :)