Sadly, I have never had the experience of a tea trolley in any of my jobs. I have known the tea break and the allure of a large brown teapot.
Tea, in my childhood home, was brewed in the mug, it came with milk and two sugars. Once the mug was drained my Mum would take a look at the leaves and see what the future held. Just as the stories one could see in the coal fire disappeared when the gas fire was installed; the future was expunged once we succumbed to teabags. Swirling one’s hot chocolate dregs to make interesting patterns was not encouraged.
In ‘The Book of Tea’ by Kakuzo Okakura all the Japanese customs of the tea ceremony are described. Everything leading up to the tea ceremony is planned and thought through. The path that leads to the tea house is symbolic. Not only is the guest moving towards a cup of tea, he is also approaching a “sanctuary”.
“Young fool,” chided the tea master, “that is not the way a garden path should be swept.” Saying this, Rikyu stepped into the garden, shook a tree and scattered over the garden gold and crimson leaves, scraps of the brocade of autumn! What Rikyu demanded was not cleanliness alone, but the beautiful and the natural also.”
Tea – it brings people together in a civilised manner!
And it’s nearly Christmas, so let’s chill…