Zed and Kate, back at the Old Workplace, drink tea as if it has the same medicinal qualities and dreamy taste as freshly ground coffee.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. Tea is bland and flavourless brown water, and has all the caffeine kick of a glass of decaf Coke. However, last night, reluctant to make a pot of coffee what with my already quite irregular sleep patterns, and unable to face another glass of sirop (that’s a rant in itself), I decided to make a cup of tea. One cup is bearable as long as it’s dosed liberally with sugar.
So I searched the stainless steel jars on the kitchen shelf for some teabags, and found everything but “normal” ones. These people have more flavours of tea than there are counties in Ireland. However, having already decided that tea was the drink of choice, I reluctantly selected the least frightening-looking of the varieties on offer, and made myself a cuppa. I sniffed it suspiciously as I added the milk. Smelt like a Tutti Frutti. Not a good sign. Still, I bunged some sugar in and hoped for the best.
It was the most amazing cup of tea I have ever tasted. Truly: as far as tea goes, it was spectacular. Sort of vaguely fruity but in a subtle kind of way. Much, much less boring than the tea to which I am accustomed. I found myself extolling the virtues of this tea to the dog.
With renewed enthusiasm, I added the tea to my shopping list (so that I can purchase some replacements, lest anyone think that I am merrily helping myself to everything in this house) and cheerfully made myself another cup. Poured in the milk, added the sugar.
Only it wasn’t sugar, this time. It was salt. Damn stainless steel jars. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a cup of pleasantly fruity aromatic tea with two heaped teaspoons of salt, but if you have, you’ll probably never do it again. It was almost as bad as the time my mum made me a cup of coffee and unthinkingly added a rather hefty amount of sugar, being used to making it that way for dad. Only this time I actually did spit it out. Similar to the occasion when, forced to resort to instant coffee in a super-tired moment, I poured myself a nice steaming mug of instant gravy owing to some poor jar design on the part of Bisto and Maxwell House.
It was Not Pleasant. Not pleasant at all.
I’m aware that my “exciting travel blog” has now turned into a diary similar to the one I wrote back home, with tales of tea-making and the antics of pets, but please bear in mind that I am in a village in the middle of nowhere and still have not received my new bank card following the Lyon Pickpocketing Incident. This means that no money can be spent on things like a train ticket to Brussels for the day, or a fun night out with, err, the villagers, as I am having to carefully ration the Emergency Rescue Fund sent by The Parents several weeks ago. I am trapped in the house with a psychotic parrot. Ohhh – although I do have my own jeep for getting out and about! But that’s another story, obviously…