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A nice cup of tea

This picture says it all really.  In my new Royal Doulton* 1815 cup and saucer that Mr Kirsa bought me for Christmas.  How is it that tea tastes so much better in white fine china?  It really does taste better. 

Well I guess its not absolutely perfect as there is one of those dang bags bobbing about.  If it was a perfect cup of tea, it would have been made just the way my parents taught me when I was little.  At first I thought this was a fun little ritual, but then I soon found out their reasons for teaching me so carefully.  Sunday lay ins with tea made by child salves.  Taught my own slaves, ah I mean children this ritual when they were old enough.  Had the great pleasure of handing down the tradition to my niece this last Christmas while we were camping.  The poor child had never been shown, my brother is a terrible parent!!  Maybe he escaped the tea slavery when we were kids? 

So, a teapot, rinsed out and waiting for the first of the boiling water to warm the pot.  Swill, wait a minute, then rinse this out.  One spoon (has to be a tea caddy spoon in either silver or brass) of tea leaves for each person and one for the pot.  Having kept the water on the boil, fill the teapot and clamp on the lid before any heat escapes.  Put on the hand knitted tea cosy, especially if its winter.  This kind of panic to be quick step was always a little baffling to an Aussie kid, especially in mid summer.  It wasn't like the tea was going to get much colder.  And speaking of which, why is it that you can drink hot tea on a hot day and feel refreshed?

Anyway ... Wait.  Wait.  Its quite a nice, calming ritual, with lots of waiting.  While waiting set tea cups in their saucers, pour a little milk into the cups, remember that Mum likes hers milky and Dad less so.  One teaspoon of sugar each. 

Get tea leaf strainer.  Put over Mums cup first, pour a little test pour first, checking the colour.  Tip pot back to mix properly.  When happy with the colour, pour both cups of tea.  Stir sugar to dissolve, but do it gently so as to not spill tea into the saucer.  There will be plenty of chances later to slop into the saucer.  Try to pick up both cups and saucers at once .. hmmm bit tricky.  Decide who you love more today so that you can choose which cup to carry first.  Mum made bangers and mash last night for dinner, with onion gravy.  You take hers first.  Careful, slowly .. oops spilt a little bit, but not too bad.  Another step, watching the cup the whole time...

And so it went on.  It was win win really.  Parents with a cup of tea in bed and a child who feels empowered and proud of their achievement.  I probably only did this once or twice a year, and the tea Mum and Dad got was probably terrible but I have perfected the ritual with time!

Such a simple thing as making a cup of tea, and look at all the emotions it evokes.

* This set does not have periwinkles, nor would Mrs Bucket approve as there is an unsightly string hanging from the side.

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