Larkin at Last

Well, we’ll see how this goes. Currently the other human in the house is watching Morse and the streaming of it is mucking the internet about. It took 15 minutes and ten percent of the battery from The Little Laptop That Could to get here. Not how we want to spend Saturday evening.

But anyway, we’re here. And we have two lovely teas for today. The first one the sender says she wasn’t sure about. It’s called Bee Hoppy and it reminds us of last year’s Manuka honey black tea.

It’s not as strong – we couldn’t drink that one without milk and this is lovely all on it’s own. Still quite a strong honey flavour, but it’s a black tea/rooibos blend and the spice of the rooibos balances out the honey lots.

Now we’re drinking Zest Wishes. This one is from David’s tea, and it’s got so much spice that at first we thought it was a rooibos, too. Turns out it’s an oolong with lots of cardemom and cinnamon. It’s kosher, a declaration which always makes us wonder just what David does to tea to make it not kosher. But it’s gorgeous. Our only complaint is that we’ve run out of the sample. We should have rationed it.

Here’s an excellent poem to go along with two excellent teas. After talking about Larkin the other day, we thought we owed you the real thing before the season was out.

Mr. Bleaney
Phillip Larkin

‘This was Mr Bleaney’s room. He stayed
The whole time he was at the Bodies, till
They moved him.’ Flowered curtains, thin and frayed,
Fall to within five inches of the sill,

Whose window shows a strip of building land,
Tussocky, littered. ‘Mr Bleaney took
My bit of garden properly in hand.’
Bed, upright chair, sixty-watt bulb, no hook

Behind the door, no room for books or bags —
‘I’ll take it.’ So it happens that I lie
Where Mr Bleaney lay, and stub my fags
On the same saucer-souvenir, and try

Stuffing my ears with cotton-wool, to drown
The jabbering set he egged her on to buy.
I know his habits — what time he came down,
His preference for sauce to gravy, why

He kept on plugging at the four aways —
Likewise their yearly frame: the Frinton folk
Who put him up for summer holidays,
And Christmas at his sister’s house in Stoke.

But if he stood and watched the frigid wind
Tousling the clouds, lay on the fusty bed
Telling himself that this was home, and grinned,
And shivered, without shaking off the dread

That how we live measures our own nature,
And at his age having no more to show
Than one hired box should make him pretty sure
He warranted no better, I don’t know.

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