To Knowledge Much Inclined

It’s been a long day, wherein we did battle with rock salt, cross-referenced five days of work against each other and wrapped it all up with a battle with Apple TV. Mostly we’ve come away with questions.

Who, for instance, takes hundreds of pounds of rock salt to the road leading into the ravine where quite literally everyone and his dog goes walking? It sounds incredibly minor until you’ve got an intrepid Dachshund Adventurer screaming blue murder (pun not intended) while you try to extract said salt from wee blue paws.We knew he could squeal to rival a stuck pig, but this was something else.

Then there was the cross-referencing and we won’t bear you with the whys and wherefores of that because it was all so exhausting that we wilt thinking about it. But we do want to know why in the name of god Apple has preset the tv to tap into iTunes and play music while you are watching tv. It is a very first-world problem, but frankly, untangling the nuances of the Apple TV settings wasn’t how we felt like ending the evening. And much as we like Schubert’s lieder, it doesn’t exactly go hand in glove with, oh, for instance, Lost. Chopin, maybe, but iTunes couldn’t get past the As because we just kept telling it to go away, so it wasn’t to be.

In all of this highlights included Hazelnut Chocolate Tea, which might be the first chocolate tea we unconditionally love. We liked it so much we made a second pot immediately. (In our defence, we were still recovering from six hours of cross-referencing hundreds of documents.) Funnily enough, Hazelnut Chocolate wasn’t even supposed to be today’s tea but we got our dates all sideways and opened box 19 today. Expect the verdict on box 18 tomorrow.

It was clearly kismet though, because this was exactly what we needed at half four in the afternoon on the heels of our second ravine walk – this time with rubber over vulnerable paws because we just couldn’t face an encore to the squealing. It’s a beautiful black tea. We had perhaps half a cup black but then, on recommendations from the gifted, added milk and it got even better. Chocolate teas often do benefit from a bit of milk, and this one, which promises to stand up even to Swiss Chocolatiers doesn’t disappoint. It’s rich, creamy and incredibly smooth. The hazelnut gives it a distinct note that harmonies the tea and chocolate, so that they don’t fight for dominance in the teacup. This is often our complaint. It’s entirely too easy to concoct a tea that was really intended to be hot chocolate. Not so here. It’s well-balanced and altogether lovely. For extra decadence we had it with a couple of chocolate truffles that were going spare. It was that kind of day.

By the time we got to DavidsTea we’d sorted our dates out, so Organic Blood Orange Boost was actually prescribed for the 18th of December. It’s a green tea base, not that you’d know from the colour because the hibiscus turns it fantastically, deeply pink. But surprising no one, that makes it an excellent base for a citrus tea. We have never worked out why this is but green tea with fruit is a match made in heaven. In our experience it stops the tea going too sweet; our beloved crumble tea from DavidsTea was always superior to the black tea-apple crumble successor the company tried to foist on us in after years.

And Blood Orange Boost smells gorgeous. That was our first thought opening the tin, because, and have we mentioned this? – the tins are back! After two years of those awful, fussy plastic bags spilling tealeaves everywhere, the tins are back and we will never complain about how tightly the lids are stuck on ever again. Do you hear? We will faithfully lever them off with a teaspoon each morning, ye even until judgement day, have you got that? Judgement Day.

But we digress. Blood Orange Boost. It smells lovely, it tastes just the right mixture of tart, sweet and fruity, and we’d even be tempted to try it iced if it weren’t hovering at a steady -6 outside. But it’s the kind of tea that tastes like it would reward that treatment. The only really disconcerting thing here is that while it tastes of blood orange, we can’t find it in the ingredients. Orange pieces are there, and apple is there (we taste no apple), and various spices are there. No blood orange. Maybe it was faster to write orange. Maybe no one is making that culinary distinction. We don’t know. Anyway, we won’t hold that against it, because it really is a lovely blend.

We began by talking about the unanswerable, or at least the things we have no answer to. In the same spirit, here’s a poem by John Godfrey Saxe. We had forgotten we knew it until we took a second pass through the darkly whimsical Series of Unfortunate Events this year, and we have to say, we love both it and the poem all the more for coming back to them.

The Blind Men and the Elephant
John Godfrey Saxe

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall!”

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: “Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!”

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, “I see,” quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!”

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.”

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; “E’en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!”

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
“I see,” quothe he, “the elephant is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!

Having sat on the sidelines of more than one theological discussion, and God alone knows how many bizarre sermons, Saxe is on to something with this one. But then, sometimes that’s half the fun.

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