My cup is full of steaming tea,
I’m listening to the inner me,
I’m fighting waves on the raging sea,
and trying to get my sail alee.
I’m not where I’m supposed to be,
when listening to the inner me,
I do not want the raging sea,
I’d rather be here with my tea.
Espen Øye Bjørkvold
It is Saturday morning: flexible hours that stretches beguiling into early afternoon without so much as a whisper, just another cup of tea. One after the other. This one with toast topped with lemon curd, that one sipped slowly after twenty minutes meditation that leaves me feeling light-headed and content. I’m listening to the inner me.
Tea was always one Tetley Tea Bag with a splash of skimmed milk and one Canderel tablet. That is how we drink it in my family. I go into my Mum and Dad’s house and the moment I sit down, my dad rises to put the kettle on so we can drink cups that last an age from Denby mugs that hold heat like no other vessels do. That is how we drink it. Anything else has only ever been a dalliance for the momentary thrill of it. Or something drunk for the medicinal properties builders tea will not provide.
But somehow, lately tea like that drunk anywhere but there seems cloying and unsatisfying. I need it there. The certainty of it. It speaks of comfort and care. But here I need a drink that offers clarity with every sip. Sweetened with agave nectar and soured with a slice of lemon, or thrilled by a sprig of mint. This is I think disconcerting for everyone who knows me. For everyone who wants to make me a cup of comfort.
And so because I do not want to offend I drink what is made for me and anticipate the moment when I can enjoy my own tea. The ritual that goes with it. Selecting the right tea. Opening the cupboard above the kettle and sniffing at tins full of it. Sometimes merely cutting a little rosemary and steeping it in hot water and calling that tea. Sometimes pulling out all the stops and filling a teapot full of Earl Grey, warming the milk and stirring in little hearts of real sugar.
Today there has been a cup of Three Tulsi to lift my Saturday morning spirits. Two cups of water with honey and lemon to soothe a sore throat and a deeply satisfying cup of Lady Grey with the merest slither of rosemary shortbread cut from the round.
I am alone. Finley has taken his sick little self to Daddies and Richard has gone shopping for the kind of nonsensical cure-alls that merely anesthetize a rather extreme case of man-flu.
And so here I am. Drinking tea. Listening to the inner me.