Answer to Armageddon

Not to be repetitive, but today’s tea is another herbal tisane. We went and cross-referenced after yesterday, and of seventeen teas, six have been non-herbal, which strikes us as a curious balance, considering the in-store selection. And while we like herbal tea fine, we’re officially asking for advice. Because we’ve done what it says on the tin. We’ve let the tea sit for ten minutes. We’ve spooned it one per person and one for the pot into the infuser. We’ve all but stuck a thermometer in the water to check it’s exactly so many degrees before boiling and it never, ever steeps adequately. Not with a fox, not in a box, nor on a train, plane or automobile. So, what are we doing wrong, internet? What do we have to do to get herbal tea from this calendar at a strength above anaemic?

Twenty minutes into tea-drinking we got a cup that was nicely pink (there’s hibiscus and rose in the mix) and not overly sweet. In fact, of the herbals we’ve sampled this month, Tulsi Tranquility is definitely a favourite. We’d say its tranquility in a cup, but quite frankly that’s all tea, any tea, any time of day.

It’s something we’ve been trying to explain to the people behind this calendar for ages. Tea doesn’t need to keep up with trends, bustle and blether. The whole point is that everything stops for tea. The joy of this calendar is that every day we must take twenty minutes out to not only make a pot but mull it over and take time out from more pressing considerations. It’s not a showy Advent discipline, but it’s soothing, and that’s tea at its level best.

Of course, we spoiled it all today by then haring off for the last dance of the month. It was our Tuesday social group wrapping up for the season, so there was a seven-couple dance (it was chaos), a formation called a Reverse Snowball Grand Chain (it was somehow short two bars in the brief, cue more chaos) and a whole lot of hobnobbing over biscuits. With tea, obviously. Because if you aren’t dancing nothing else is so readily unifying.

With that in mind, here’s a poem about the land just how vital it really is to the running of the universe.

Alternative Anthem
John Agard

Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
Is the British answer
to Armageddon

Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that’s the kettle, mate.

It’s not whether you lose
It’s not whether you win
It’s whether or not
you’ve plugged the kettle in.

May the kettle ever hiss
May the kettle ever steam
It is the engine
that drives our nation’s dream.

Long live the kettle
that rules over us
May it be limescale free
and may it never rust.

Sing it on the beaches
Sing it from the housetops
The sun may set on empire
but the kettle never stops.


What do you think? Does the Brexit plan involve tea? Is that the thing they were missing? Crucially; has anyone told Downing St. lately that the answer to the vexed issue is in the teapot? Bet you Larry the Cat has at least tried. Tea all round it is. See you tomorrow – odds on with another herbal tea. But no bother, eh, so long as it averts Armageddon.

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