Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings!

Goodness this Advent by fast. We thought it mightn’t, what with the world coming to a standstill and all that lot. But it went faster than ever, and we didn’t have the usual scrabble for poems. Maybe we’ve recycled more than in previous years, or maybe after 4 years we’ve finally got the hang of the whole daily blogging thing. We like to think it’s the latter, but it could just as easily be the former.

Anyway, today began with another Ti Ora blend from our friend over in Germany. It just calls it Breakfast Tea on the packet and we added milk force of habit…with interesting results! Don’t get us wrong; we liked it very much but we did wonder if maybe there was fruit in there fighting the milk. After the third or fourth si[ we knew there was a flavour in there that was strong so we trotted back to the packet to find…manuka honey.

In one of those funny alignments of the cosmos we had just been hearing about manuka honey as the central tenet of a murder mystery over on The Brownwood Murders. We remembered it at once because the name is just so distinctive. The whole plot point of this murder had been that manuka honey had such a potent tate you couldn’t taste anything – not even poison – over the stuff. No wonder it was coming through the milk!

There were other things too; Manuka honey for instance comes specifically from the manuka plant, and is thicker than standard honey, and much harder to spread. We want to say it’s an Aussie-Kiwi specialty but since we were watching Brownwood for the mystery we could actually be wrong on that one.

Once we saw that we had the second cup without milk, and liked it much better. To be clear, it’s lovely both ways but the honey harmonises much better with the black tea when you leave out the dairy. If you like a strong honey taste though, by all means add milk. It’s quite the interesting, nuanced flavour. Even better, no one got murdered over this stuff.

We wrapped up work early so had our second tea a little after half eleven. This was another black tea, DavidsTea classic Secret Santa. It’s black tea with candy cane mixed in called Secret Santa. To our mind it’s the perfect blend of peppermint and black tea; a bit sweet, a bit sharp in just the combination that makes the odd candy cane a nice treat. Whereas unchecked maple quickly cloys in black tea the zing of the peppermint keeps the flavours in check and it’s got a hint of that cool, refreshing minty flavour we love.

So we have the old knocking shoulders with the new here as we conclude this Advent Tea and Poetry run, and to that end we considered giving you a new Christmas Eve poem. We’ve done it before. But in the end our Anglican sense of tradition won out, and you’re getting our tried-and-tested Christmas Eve poem. Look, we really, unapologetically love Thomas Hardy, okay? Only giving you two of his this year is some serious restraint. And frankly, no one else captures the magic of Christmas so beautifully and with minimum sentimentality. So here, as ever, for your Christmas treat is Thomas Hardy’s The Oxen.

The Oxen
Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings from all here at Chorister at Home. Dawlish Dachshunds and Miss Marschallin join me wishing you a lovely holiday and happy New Year. And who knows, maybe the oxen will kneel and the New Year will be better than this one flying by on bands of gold. After all, we’re getting some eleventh-hour snow for a white Christmas, so anything goes. Until then, we join Hardy hoping for kneeling oxen and everything else optimistic.

Happy Christmas!

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