In departure from our usual tea-making ritual, we’re having just a cup this evening. Typically we’d make up a pot in the Wings of Grace tea-for-one with its butterfly pattern. It came back from Scotland with us, and has survived years of ritualised tea. We’d put on a show, and Miss Marschallin would commander our lap and we’d nurse a cup over a leisurely 20 minute interval.
But it’s late, and we’ve just seen off guests after a lovely, long evening. So instead of all that the tea infuser is sitting unorthodoxly in the teacup – still Wings of Grace with the butterfly stamp – and steeping as we search for a poem.
It’s Zest Wishes tonight, an oolong with cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel and apple. Didn’t we tell you this calendar had an apple-themed preoccupation? No complaint at this end. Zest Wishes joins the ever-expanding list of oolongs we have never yet disliked. Though in a first for an oolong, this one tastes a bit like a Christmas fruitcake. It’s the orange peel, we think, combined with the cardamon. Both blend well with the oolong and the result is a tea that is long in the mouth, and intensifies without turning bitter. Just what we needed, as it turns out.
We confess, we didn’t have the energy for much poem-hunting once we’d seen everyone off. Certainly, having done away with all our other ritual trappings for tea, we most wanted to sleep for a week. Imagine our delight then, when this piece by Robert Frost fell into our lap. It’s new to us, and perhaps a bit bittersweet. But then, so can Advent be – more on that another evening. One when we aren’t half-asleep and recovering from a depleted social battery. In the meantime, here’s Robert Frost on Christmas trees, the buying and selling of them.