We nearly didn’t have today’s tea. Santa’s Secret is a black tea, and if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that we cannot have black tea when we have cramp. Not for the first 48 hours, anyway.
There’s a whole list in this vein, but that’s up at the top. But we feel mostly human at the moment, so we are drinking an extremely weak cup.
It shares a lot of DNA with Candy Cane Crush, but we think this does the same job better. For one thing, that awful candy cane film doesn’t feature. THere’s candy cane in the tea, but for whatever reason, you can brew Santa’s Secret without having to scrub everything furiously afterwards to get the melted sugar off.
For another, it’s a better balance of tea to sweetness. There’s just a hint of candy cane here. It’s less like drinking an after eight and more like drinking lightly flavoured black tea. We should be clear; We quite like the after eight taste of Candy Cane Crush, but it’s not for everyone. If you want a Christmassy black tea that you can serve to anyone, this is the better bet.
There’s not a lot to regale you with today. Supposedly it’s the snowstorm of the century. We spent most of it lying on the floor and Rocky Dachshund spent it climbing the walls. Buffy and hte Maschallin Cat, still the world’s oddest Accidental Double Act, spent it blissfully asleep.
We promised Rocky we would make it up to him by including a poem in tribute. The cat got one early on but all poor Mr Rocky has had is his reputation maligned. He only eats those coasters because no one else does, honest, guv. If it wasn’t necessary he’d eat something else instead, like carpets or cushions or maybe the Cat. But the cat keeps hitting his nose, so coasters it is.
Anyway, here’s a poem for Rocky about the joys of being a dog.
If Feeling Isn’t In It
You can take it away, as far as I’m concerned—I’d rather spend the afternoon with a nice dog. I’m not kidding. Dogs have what a lot of poems lack: excitements and responses, a sense of play the ability to impart warmth, elation . . . .
Dogs will also lick your face if you let them.
Their bodies will shiver with happiness.
A simple walk in the park is just about
the height of contentment for them, followed
by a bowl of food, a bowl of water,
a place to curl up and sleep. Someone
to scratch them where they can’t reach
and smooth their foreheads and talk to them.
Dogs also have a natural dislike of mailmen
and other bringers of bad news and will
bite them on your behalf. Dogs can smell
fear and also love with perfect accuracy.
There is no use pretending with them.
Nor do they pretend. If a dog is happy
or sad or nervous or bored or ashamed
or sunk in contemplation, everybody knows it.
They make no secret of themselves.
You can even tell what they’re dreaming about
by the way their legs jerk and try to run
on the slippery ground of sleep.
Nor are they given to pretentious self-importance.
They don’t try to impress you with how serious
or sensitive they are. They just feel everything
full blast. Everything is off the charts
with them. More than once I’ve seen a dog
waiting for its owner outside a café
practically implode with worry. “Oh, God,
what if she doesn’t come back this time?
What will I do? Who will take care of me?
I loved her so much and now she’s gone
and I’m tied to a post surrounded by people
who don’t look or smell or sound like her at all.”
And when she does come, what a flurry
of commotion, what a chorus of yelping
and cooing and leaps straight up into the air!
It’s almost unbearable, this sudden
fullness after such total loss, to see
the world made whole again by a hand
on the shoulder and a voice like no other.