Afternoon tea?

The tea bag?  Mmmmmm…… what do we think of the tea bag? Yes it has Teabag.pngmade a cup of tea far more easy and quick to make, but deep down in these beautiful bodies of ours, is that what we really want?  For some of us, all we’ve known is the tea bag.

Now back in the day, whenever that was…. (all I know is that it was Beetlelong time ago when I was younger, thinner and firmer, but I’m afraid, not much shorter) there would be a journey in my Dad’s 1966 Red VW Beetle, sitting in the back sliding around on the black plastic shiny seats (no seat belts in those days) to one of my Dad’s Auntie’s house. Switchboard.png

There was nothing but a block of LEGO in my hand if I was lucky (no iPads or Gameboys then), and you couldn’t exactly play with phones, which of course were always in the hallway on a table with the big thick Yellow Pages.  And if you did play with the phone, you’d mistakenly  go through  to the operator (yep remember them)….

Once we were welcomed in, past the coat, hat and umbrella stand (always an all-in-one piece of furniture) it was straight into the front room, the ‘best room’ always kept in pristine condition. Make no mistake, I’m talking about the ‘best room’ NOT the living room, and did anybody ever see the kitchen…..I don’t think so!!

Scales.pngSo once we sat down, we waited in silence with the gentle sound of the tea being made at the back of the house in the no-go zone of the kitchen.  You had no choice but to look around the room at the pictures on the wall, old photos and dark wood furniture that looked like it weighed as heavy as my Dad’s VW Beetle parked outside.

 

Of course, ‘back in the day’ it was always easy to find a car parking space outside your own home, not like today).   Mum and Dad would chat but very quietly, Stealing cake.pngand then the rattling began as the tea trolley made its way up the hallway into the ‘best room’ and we all sat up.  It always seemed like a miraculous trick to me, one that not even David Copperfield could pull off, that we would call in unannounced and yet there would be this amazing spread of food!  On the trolley were Salmon sandwiches in brown bread with the crusts cut off, all cut Bloodneatly, chocolate biscuits and small pastry tarts with icing and a cherry on top…yep you read right….a cherry on top!  All placed on a three….that’s right, NOT one, NOT two, but a three tier plate stand, accompanied by smaller plates.  My mind was blown away.

Now for the tea pot, cups and saucers and the tea strainer…..Parting the searemember them?  I watched in amazement as the teapot cosy hugs around the pot, keeping it warm.  Then the teapot is lifted with one hand whilst the index finger of the other hand stretches out like Moses Staff when he parted the red sea and placed on top of the lid of the tea pot.

Then the sound of a gentle waterfall on an island of paradise as the tea pours in to the bone china cup that’s placed perfectly on the saucer. Now the beauty with this method, as well as the tea tasting far better in a Cup v mugbone china cup than a thick mug (……..yes…. it does!), you can see that the cup is bright white all the way to the bottom.  Today, the tea from a tea-bag is already been made in the kitchen without you witnessing the process, so you will always have one question on your mind, as the answer is slowly revealed to you with each sip of the tea you take…….’How stained is the mug?’  Then as you reach the bottom, you wished you never had a cup of tea there after all.  In fact I was once offered some lemonade and was given it in a thick mug….and it had chips taken out of it with a dark cup saucerbrown hair line crack…but that’s a story for another blog (yes I’m still scarred from it).

I don’t take sugar, but in this house I wished I did.  It wasn’t in a sealed container that had hard bits of brown sugar mixed in the white from the wet tea spoon from the last cup of tea made…..or the one before that. Oh no!  And it wasn’t in the sugar bag that I know some sneaky people do in the kitchen with their back to you as they stretch their neck around asking you if you want sugar…. yes, you know the ones!

The sugar in this house was in a bone china bowl and wait for it…….they were sugar cubes! Green car They looked like sweets, all bright white and piled on top of one another, the whole scene looked as nice as any Jaguar E-type I have ever laid my eyes on.

Then sadly before you know it the Crying faceafternoon tea experience is over

 

You thank them for their generous hospitality, walk to the front door and put your coats on, taking them from the ‘coat, hat and umbrella’ stand, not the banister newel post at the bottom of the stairs, which has now taken over the job.  As we’re about to leave, I’m given 10p to buy some sweets in the shop or a lucky bag (Yep remember them).

Salute with teaSo I’d like to finish with this……. for the older generation still carrying on with the real afternoon tea for your visitors.   If you wonder ‘Was it worth the bother?’  as you clean up once we’ve gone, putting everything away, well…..from my heart,     I SALUTE YOU!

And I thank you for giving me such a special memory that will stay with me forever. For those who sling a tea bag in a thick builders mug (even worse if it’s stained and chipped), the least you can do is put it in a bone chine cup even if you don’t use a saucer!  Come on, put some pride back into the making of tea!!

 

As ever on the Easy Blend, I thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to.  Today it’s Thompson Twins – Hold me now.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

 

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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Too big, too hot!

My lovely mother-in-law (nah….just kidding) my mother-in-law had just given me and my brand spanking new wife, her old cooker with the grill on top, you know the ones that always made fantastic out of this world toast, that NO toaster has ever been able to match to this day!

We…..wait a minute………sorry, my brand spanking new wife, Mrs Cooker.pngFrantony, decided not to have the cooker plumbed to the gas or have the electrician wire it up, she said “Dave, let’s have a new kitchen instead!”

So even though it was never used (by us anyway) the cooker was now up for sale, so the money could be put to the new kitchen, that by the way, my wife wanted and picked, all on her own without me to be seen anywhere at all.  I wasn’t even asked to come along and choose the colour, the style, or where anything was going.  At this point I realised I might wear the trousers in this relationship but really I don’t wear the trousers….if you know what I mean?

I was approached by a man in work “Dave, my Dad will have the cooker; we’ll pick it up on the weekend.”

Well the weekend arrived, the cooker now in the hallway by the front door ready for collection, and in they came, the son who I worked with and his dad with a piece of paper in his hand.

His dad said “Hello.  Before we buy this cooker, I have taken some measurements to see if it will fit in our kitchen.  Do you have a measuring tape?”

He then gave me the sizes saying “If the cooker is more than 19.5 inches wide it won’t fit in the space between our cupboards.”  I pulled out the tape and put it against the cooker revealing the size.  “22 inches.” I said.

tumbleweed.pngHe looks at his son then at me, “Yep that’ll be okay.  I need to check the height, because there are cupboard units above, if it’s more than 58 inches high it won’t fit.”

I pull out the tape again and put it against the cooker revealing the height “It’s 68 inches.”  We all looked at each other; no one said a word, the two of them staring at the cooker.  The staring went on and on, at one point I thought I saw some tumbleweed pass by, yet there was no wind, and how did the tumble weed get in my house in the first place?

The father looked at his son, then at me “Yep that’ll be okay.  Now Dave, how much do you want for the cooker if we take it away today?”

“Well” I paused, pretending to really think like I don’t ever want to let the cooker go “Hmmmm….  £20/£25?”

The father looked at his son then at me, “I’ll give you £30.  I just need to see if it’ll fit in the car.”

Measuring tape in hand, knowing the cooker is 68 inches tall, we go outside to see if it will indeed fit in the car.  The father adjusts the driver’s and passenger’sorangutan seat as far forward as they can go.  “It’s only 49 inches…….”

He looks at his son then at me, “It’ll be okay we’ve only got 3 miles to go.”

The oven weighed a ton; I had arms like an orangutan
by the time we lifted it into the back of the car, my finger nails were scraping on the drive as I walked around the cooker sticking out of the boot.

They gave me the £30 and squeezed themselves in to the car, and I mean squeeze as their knees covered their ears and their noses were squashed up against the windscreen; the steering wheel up under his jumper.

 

Squeezed in car

They miraculously drove off down the street with the noise of the tailgate bashing up and down on the cooker.  I looked at the £30 thinking “Why didn’t he offer me £20?”

So the weekend soon went and it was Monday morning, back in work, when I was approached by the son “Dave, we want our money back!  We’ve had the gas plumbed in and the electric wired up but the cooker….it doesn’t fit and we’re fed up of walking around it.  Cooker in kitchenEven the metal door gets really hot and the kitchen is too warm for us.  Yesterday my Dad had to cook Sunday dinner in his vest and pants and I’m not telling you what my mother was wearing.”

At this point I was working hard to look serious, but my face was really hurting, it felt as stiff as a Concrete face.pngconcrete pillar “I’m sorry, but you had the measurements and you said you could make it fit, and in my experience cookers get hot, that’s what they do.”

We worked together for another few months after that and then he left, and up until then they never did take the cooker out of the kitchen.  He had told me that himself and the rest of the family had gotten used to walking around the cooker in the kitchen.

 

As this is the Easy Blend, I thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to.  Today it’s Paula Cole – Where have all the Cowboys gone.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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The tree and the carrot

IScaffoldt was the weekend, and I had just hired and taken delivery of a five metre high aluminium scaffolding tower. With no one to help (And YES….I do have friends, just all busy that day….or so they told me) 2 hours later the tower was up.

 

Hard hat on tight (just about….I have a very small head), I was on top of the tower and NOT ready to chainsaw AT ALL! I didn’t even feel like a real man standing with a chainsaw in my hand, and I’ll tell you why, because I was five metres in the air….. no sorry…..IN THE SKY!

ChainsawI looked at the tree and the tree….well it didn’t bother looking at me.  It was tall but thin, standing strong at the bottom of my garden.  Now to add to the saga, to the trickiness of this episode in my life, it overlooked a walkway that was just behind my fence.

I started up the chainsaw as I’m standing on top of the scaffold tower,…..oh and by the way,…..not an inch,….not one squidgy bit of confidence was anywhere to be seen in me. Even if you had a confidence machine and tested me, your machine would shake about in your hand laughing at me.

I cut one branch, instead of falling, it slid bottom first towards me and hit me on top Hard hatof the head….knocking the hard hat further down my face…..I could see nothing so I switched off the chainsaw.

Using both hands and all my strength, I pushed up on my hard hat, lifting it up off my face and head. WOW….I’m still in one piece!  No concussion and no blood.  I waited five minutes just to gather my thoughts on how that could have gone a lot worse.  My imagination run wild……..

“What if I didn’t have a hard hat on when the big branch Split in twolanded on me and split my head open, but the branch didn’t stop, then it split my whole body in half with each side of me falling off the scaffold tower, and then I would only be half the man I used to be and as I lay there in half, the scaffold tower falls on top of one half of me, burying me intodog half man the ground just like the coyote in Road-runner when a rock lands on him.  Then as I lay there in two halves a dog walks past thinking I’m a stick and takes me home.”

 

Luckily none of that happened, so I pulled myself together, and leaving my chainsaw on the floor, I pulled out my small hand saw from my belt pouch.  Feeling confident, I cut another branch……..and Man flat thumbwatched it fall right on my thumb as I held onto the scaffold bar, squashing my thumb nail and giving me pain I thought was only in Hollywood horror movies.  It looked like I had taped a dinner plate to the end of it.

With no hesitation I climbed down the scaffold tower knowing full Pockets no carrotwell this job was for someone else. I could see a man walking towards me wearing one of those fishing body warmers with a trillion pockets on it.

“Hello” he said “Your name’s Bob isn’t it.”

“No….it’s Dave”

“Oh you look like Bob. Do you want me to cut that tree for you?  I used to be a tree surgeon 25 years ago.”

“Yep if you don’t mind!”

“Okay….once I climb up there give me the chainsaw, I’ll cut it in sections and we’ll be done in half hour”

He climbed to the top of the scaffold tower, then suddenly he wrapped his arms and legs around the frame, his feet were up in the air.

Clinging to tree

He starts breathing fast “I forgot…..I suffer from vertigo, I can’t move!”

25 minutes later…..I kid you not!! He slowly climbed down and leaned up against the scaffold tower, looking at me.  Shaking his head, panting as if he had just run up and over the top of Ayers rock in Australia, with nine fridge freezers tied to his back, all full of frozen food that we never eat and eventually gets thrown out in the annual ’empty fridge freezer’ day….you know the one.

Mountain

With his eyes shut and using both hands he tapped the trillion pockets on his vest. At this point I’m waiting for him to collapse and for me to do CPR on him.  My thumb was throbbing, and my headache was starting to mature as if it was going to stay in my head for the long term.

PocketsSuddenly, after checking nearly every pocket he finds what he’s been looking for. I stand back, I don’t know the man, he could have a knife but he pulled out a carrot.  “Do you want a bite?”

“Ummmm….no thanks”

He bites a chunk off the one carrot he was carrying with him, but still willing to share with me whilst having vertigo. He chewed with his mouth open as if it was made from a Eating carrotcollection of rubber bands “Bob….I’m sorry about that, it’s just I’ve not done it for a long time….anyway I’ve got to go….Bye”

I was about to tell him again “I’m Dave, not Bob,” but what was the point, I’ve got a swollen thumb with my nail going black, a headache, a scaffold tower that I need to dismantle and a tree that after all of this, still stands.

So what have I learnt?

Well, I will be ‘leafing’ this job there, I’ll be ‘barking’ mad if I try this again and I would be taking the ‘pith’ if I thought I could ‘branch’ out cutting trees, and for the man that disappeared in to the sunset chewing on a raw carrot, may I thank you for the entertainment and the offer to have a bite of your carrot that was finally found in one of the many pockets you had on such a small vest with no sleeves.

 

As this is the Easy Blend, I thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to. Today it’s Stevie Nix – Secret Love

Don’t forget, you can buy my book Farrago: Ten Tall Tales here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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