Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holidays with Tea

By Jess Hodges

It takes me roughly five minutes to make a cup of tea depending on what type I'm making and how full the kettle is. In an average day I have somewhere between ten and fifteen cups, if we say twelve that makes an even hour of daily tea making. So 365 hours a year spent making tea or just over two weeks, the length of a really decent holiday.

So how do I better capitalise on this unofficial tea making holiday I take every year? Should I cover the kettle with pictures of exotic, far away places or only make tea whilst putting on funny accents? Do I replace my tea time biscuits with foreign alternatives, or maybe some kind of tea making sun hat is in order?

I certainly want to make the most of this two weeks I never knew I had, maybe I should turn it into something virtuous like two weeks of exercise or two weeks of quiet reflection on the meaning of life. Or maybe something daft like two weeks spent on one leg or two weeks dancing or just something nice like two weeks of thinking happy thoughts and smiling. I have until the end of December to decide what I will be doing for the two weeks of 2011 that have been slipping past unappreciated for all of these years.

Whilst this is just a fun exercise for me for many people it's an important consideration. Wherever you travel and whatever cultures you explore there always seems to be ritual associated with tea making, often with religious connotations. Maybe because it's a simple and versatile undertaking that lends itself well to variation but maybe it's because it's such a regular occurrence that all of those little moments of ritual build up and up until centuries of ceremony are carried out every day across a nation.

When you think of it that way putting the kettle on begins to feel like a pretty special thing, certainly something to make the most of.