Tea, by Douglas Adams

Sunday, June 10, 2012 by Michelle

An excerpt from "The Salmon of Doubt" by Douglas Adams (Pg 67, May 1999)

One or two Americans have asked me why the English like tea so much, which never seems to them to be a very good drink. To understand, you have to make it properly.

There is a very simple principle to the making of tea, and it's this--to get the proper flavour of tea, the water has to be boilING (Not boilED) when it hits the tea leaves. If it's merely hot, then the tea will be insipid. That's why we English have these odd rituals, such as warming the teapot first (so as no to cause the boiling water to cool down too fast as it hits the pot). And that's why American habit of bringing a teacup, a tea bag, and a pot of hot water to the table is merely the perfect way of making a tin, pale, watery cup of tea that nobody in their right mind would want to drink. The Americans are all mystified about why the English make such a big thing out of tea because most Americans HAVE NEVER HAD A GOOD CUP OF TEA. That's why they don't understand. In fact, the truth of the matter is that most English people don't know how to make tea anymore either, and most people drink cheap instant coffee instead, which is a pity, and gives Americans the impression that the English are just generally clueless about hot stimulants.

So the best advice I can give to an American arriving in England is this: Go to Marks and Spencer and buy a packet of Earl Grey tea. Go back to where you're staying and boil a kettle of water. While it is coming to the boil, open the sealed packet and sniff. Careful---you may feel a bit dizzy, but this is in fact perfectly legal. When the kettle has boiled, pour a little of it into a teapot, swirl it around, and tip it out again. Put a couple (or three, depending on the size of the pot) of tea bags into the pot. (If I was really trying to lead you into the paths of righteousness, I would tell you to use free leaves rather than bags, but let's just take this in easy stages.) Bring the kettle back up to the boil, and then pour the boiling water as quickly as you can into the pot. Let is stand for two or three minutes, and then pour it into a cup. Some people will tell you that you shouldn't have milk with Earl Grey, just a slice of lemon. Screw them. I like it with milk. If you think you will like it with milk, then it's probably best to put some milk into the bottom of the cup before you pour in the tea. If you pour milk into a cup of hot tea, you will scald the milk. If you think you will prefer it with a slice of lemon, then, well, add a slice of lemon.

Drink it. After a few moments you will begin to think that the place you've come to isn't maybe quite so strange and crazy after all.

Friends from Years Past

Thursday, December 23, 2010 by Michelle

I just had the pleasure of spending the evening with two friends from my university days (I graduated in 1991). We drank tea and talked and laughed the evening away. There's something important about the knowledge of who we were that is embedded in those friendships.  My husband may have heard stories from that time of my life, but the richness of that history really comes out when he hears it from those who took part in the escapades and hilarity. These friends, one whom I've kept in contact with over the years and one only last year reconnecting because of a death of a friend, are treasures to my heart. I am grateful.

A Weekend of Yoga

Monday, May 25, 2009 by Michelle

Other than one semester of yoga in Grade 9 P.E. class, I hadn't done any yoga before. I knew I really "should", but with an overwhelming number of styles and studios I just haven't. Last weekend that all changed. Yoga Outreach is a Vancouver-based organization that brings yoga to places where it isn't otherwise accessible, such as transition houses, prisons, treatment centres, etc. So my husband signed us up for their fundraiser weekend and off we went to lovely Brackendale. I got to try all kinds of yoga, eat yummy food, meet new people and enjoy nature - what more can a person ask for? The last session, I joined the laughter yoga people (my husband is an LY teacher, and was helping out), and we laughed our butts off. What a wonderful weekend. Now, I'm looking forward to trying out yoga locally at one of the supporting groups like Open Door on Commercial Drive. And I really hope to go to the retreat again next year.

What a way to spend a short holiday!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 by Michelle

Take a deep breath, and let it go right down deep into your toes. Now exhale slowly and feel the tension release from your body. That feeling of release is what it’s like to go to the Oasis Rejuvenation Centre and Retreat in Mission. Even after me being a pain by emailing a myriad of questions and giving a ridiculously long list of foods we couldn’t eat, Teresa nevertheless greeted us warmly with a big smile and a welcoming hug. After settling in our upgraded room, we each sat down with her to talk about the next few days. From our arrival on Saturday to our departure on Tuesday, we were fed magnificently by Bonnie and Rob (Teresa’s husband), massaged and pampered by Teresa, and, in the end, felt like we were a part of the Oasis family. Each gave of themselves and their many talents, and their puppy Sancho bounded into our hearts too. There was a night of Karaoke in their big games/play/fun room that Rob hosted with ourselves and another guest, which was a blast (Chris of course beat us all at foosball)! Will we go back? You had better believe it! Besides all of the obvious spa reasons, we want to see all the beauty of the place that was hiding under the snow!