Tea and Music

We’re behind on the two-calendar system today. We’ve been running around non-stop since the morning. It was Advent IV, so we had church at 11, and that took a decent chunk of time. We can’t seem to remember how long the commute takes now we’re attending in person again, and keep showing up half an hour before the service starts. Mind you, it does mean we get our pick of pews in the days of partial capacity.

We got home in time to gobble lunch before disappearing to The Messiah. It was the last performance and we were lucky to go. It was the most condensed Messiah we’ve ever seen, but there’s still a bit of a thrill that comes with live music. We’ve missed it.

Despite the shortened run time we weren’t home again until five, and then everyone was so exhausted we had plain Yorkshire tea. So, now we’re having Caramel Shortbread from David’s Tea, and while we have what promises to be a lovely rooibos also waiting, having two tea samples consecutively at nigh on eleven at night is a bit much, even for us.

Caramel Shortbread is an old favourite. We never stock up on it, because we don’t drink enough herbal tea to justify the purchase, but we’re always delighted to see it in a David’s Tea calendar. Millionaire’s Shortbread, the thing this purports to imitate is one of our favourite sweets, and we’ve got to tell you, the tea does a pretty good impression.

The website encourages you to pair it with biscuits but it’s sweet enough on it’s own, we think. A combination of apple, brown sugar, and stevia. The last is almost certainly unnecessary, but as we say, we’ve liked this tea for years, we’re not going to start telling anyone to muck with the formula.

The brown sugar gives it a lovely caramel sweetness, and the fruits give it enough sharpness to balance it out.

All told, it’s a lovely, sweet way to end the day. We’ll get to that rooibos tomorrow, and the other teas too. We always need generous quantities of tea on workdays.

But first, a poem about music.

Ghost Music
Robert Graves

Gloomy and bare the organ-loft,
Bent-backed and blind the organist.
From rafters looming shadowy,
From the pipes’ tuneful company,
Drifted together drowsily,
Innumerable, formless, dim,
The ghosts of long-dead melodies,
Of anthems, stately, thunderous,
Of Kyries shrill and tremulous:
In melancholy drowsy-sweet
They huddled there in harmony.
Like bats at noontide rafter-hung.

We love this image. Whether you’ve sung from a choir-loft or not, it beautifully captures the feeling of stepping into a well-sung choir stall. It’s especially true of the Advent Prose, which makes it perfect for today, because Advent IV is always when our church features that anthem.

They’re wrong, by the way. You should sing the Advent Prose at the beginning of Advent. We were trained that way as a chorister and whatever you first learn is always right. But seriously, the Advent Prose pairs exquisitely with the Great Litany as a penitential rite. The only reason you wouldn’t put them together is if you wanted to get to the sermon the right side of lunch, and you can still do that if you cut out the sermon 😉

And if you have no idea what we’re wittering on about, have a listen. As Advent music goes, this is hard to outclass.

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