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Memories Of A Childhood

I remember a scene from my childhood as though it were yesterday. I must have been 8 years old, and it was time to catch the train back to school for the term. With my straw boater at a rakish angle and my maroon school tie already dangling off centre, I was sitting in the back seat of a War Office Wolseley.

My oldest brother, Thomas, or Viscount Slim as most knew him, was batman to Air Commodore Sir Spencer Davis-Group, and as Sir Spencer’s chauffeur had taken ill, Thomas stepped in to drive. Sir Spencer had just been ensconced on a plane to Paris, so Thomas had liberated the limousine and so I got a first class trip to the station.

I waved goodbye to Thomas and prepared to board the train to school, where, due to another of my brothers, Oliver, having moved up to Senior School, I would be now called Godden, Major and my younger brother Tristan would be Godden, Minor, whereas prior to Oliver’s Ascension I had been Minor and Tristan had been Diminished 7th*.

Thomas had recently returned from India, where he had been seconded to keep order in a tea plantation called Bara Ringtong. He had formed quite an attachment to the manager’s daughter, one Margaret Cruikshank, whom he hoped was on her way to England  via steamer. He pressed into my hands a flask of tea, made from that very plantation.

On the train, I thought about my eccentric Aunt Gwendolyn, who had recently had the frightfully bad manners to be murdered without leaving a will, leaving several family members quite beside themselves. They’d all decided to get together at Waldorf Stadtler Manor and sort it out but, being a child, I was not invited.

I sipped the warm, sweetened tea as the train rattled toward school and my chums.

As the Norman bell tower of St Mundungus hove into view, I felt, as always, that…

Hang on, that’s not my childhood.

I’m 54. I’m Australian, I didn’t grow up in England in the 1930s. Why am I remembering it so incorrectly?

Ah, I realise that the problem here is that I have recently decided to re-re-re-read some Agatha Christie novels.

In this time of doubt and uncertainty, books allow us to slip out of our virus-afeared lives and visit another time, perhaps one that never really existed. These books are old, cheaply printed and, some would say, outdated, but they are the best form of time travel we have.

Those acquainted with the facts will realised that mythical me was drinking a Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling in the story; and, as I’ve just made a pot of that very tea, I think I’ll slip back into The Mystery of The Blue Train.

See you all later, possibly at dinner. Unless you get murdered, of course.

*boom tish

Hardened and Shameless

The feisty Melbourne lass @joiedetea describe both her and myself as “hardened and shameless” tea drinkers.

The minute I saw that phrase, I felt compelled to write for Beasts of Brewdom. So here we are.

The subject of today’s blog is about exactly how much size matters.

If it’s too small, you miss out on a great deal of satisfaction.


If it’s too large, there’s a heavy price to pay.

Yes, like Goldilocks ordering some Keemun Mao Feng from the Three Bears Tea Company, you want to get it just right.

In the civilised world, where we long ago gave up on things like “pounds” and “ounces” along with cave wall painting and mammoth-wool cardigans, there is a standard ‘postable’ tea size of 100grams, and another of 250grams. Sometimes 50g or 500g come up, but they are a little unusual.

Is 100grams big enough?

I’ve had samples of 20grams where I’ve nursed each gram, re-steeped as often as possible, and they’ve lasted a week. I’ve had 100gram bags gone in a day. I’ve still got tea from 100g bags I bought in 2010. I’ve got a kilo of Wild Cherry Rooibos I’ve had for years, but that’s another story.

Soon, I hope to sell a lot more tea on-line.

What is the right size?

I just don’t know.

And please don’t tell me it doesn’t matter.


Pakistani woman cooks her husband in a pot

Found an article in the paper and this seemed like the ideal place to share it. As a cautionary tale, I assure you.

In order to hide the murder, a Pakistani woman dismembered and then cooked her husband’s body parts in order to hide the evidence. He’d allegedly been making advances on her 17-year-old daughter (from another marriage) and when she’d had enough, she killed him.


Well, she drugged his tea of course. What else?

So, what’re we to learn from this? Firstly, do not try to have relations with your step-daughter(s). Unless you’re Woody Allen and she was adopted, anyway. Then it’s ok. Sort of. Actually, it’s not really ok, but Mia Farrow didn’t have the right tea for drugging and then dismembering him.

If you ladies want to discuss the right tea for drugging your horndog of a man, you’ll have to start your own lady tea blog. We’re not going to cook our own proverbial goose. Not here anyway.

Back to the moral of this story. If you gents are, for whatever reason, participating in clandestine activities with members of your family that may or may not be related to you by blood, just don’t drink any tea you’re offered. To stay on the safe side.

You’ve been warned.

And Our Mugs!

Tea_Pain:  Oh hey, remember when we were on Tea Trade?


DukeOEarl:  Wat? Is that like some kind of barter system shit for /t/?  Can we trade in Dart girl for a new model made of Pao?


Tea_Pain: …if it isn’t can we make that our new website feature?


DukeOEarl: Yes. Do it NOW!


Tea_Pain: I’ll look into it. Maybe I can code some stuff.


DukeOEarl:  If you’ve listened to our podcast, you might have heard that we are joining up with the Beasts and Joy’s Teaspoon to deliver some much needed prostate lulz. You know, for science and awareness and shit. It also makes us look awesome for all the Wisconsin-cute ladies.


Tea_Pain: Didn’t know you were getting into the plus-sizes, Duke. How do you put a roofie in a stick of butter?


DukeOEarl: Nah, man, blubber’s just cheaper than paying the gas company up here. And if that shit’s deep fried, they’ll still eat like 20 roofies.  Just gotta tell em they’re crispy M&M’s and then you can get them into whatever room you want, ET style.


Tea_Pain: Touche.  So ya, we’re just here to say “Oh, we’re actually on another blag?” and announce through yet another outlet that we formally accept the challenge of growing mustaches for the reduction of penile-related sicknesses.  Because, let’s be honest, what good are tits if we can’t point them out?


DukeOEarl: Check out Joy’s Teaspoon’s Facebook later today or tomorrow. Tea_Pain FINALLY sent in our before-pics even though he’s retarded and already started growing a beard when he took his picture.


Tea_Pain: My mutton chops will bring all the girls to the yard, Duke. So help me /T/sus, this is going to be an epic No Shave November… much like it was a semi-epic No Shave March and No Shave July.


DukeOEarl: If you can actually grow mutton chops, I will force you to be my wingman while I sport a neck beard.


Tea_Pain: Challenge ACCEPTED.

the ‘best tea’?

Was asked by a friend today what the ‘best tea’ was. What a question, eh? But I love a good debate. And blog comments. In case I’ve been unclear in the past, I really really like blog comments. So here’s my not-so-humble answer. I wonder how the rest of you might respond.

Many teabloggers focus on green and/or Oolong tea, but as much as I like them, I’ve focused more on black tea. Most tea sellers in Germany make their own unique Ostfriesen Blend that is often a mix of strong, malty Assam and a Chinese Keemun (and maybe an Indian Nilgiri). If I had to choose my favourite non-single estate tea, it’d be one of those specialty blends.

But if it’s brands we’re talking about, the tastiest and most consistent tea I’ve found is ‘Yorkshire Gold’ made by Taylors of Harrogate. But that’s only if we’re talking about black tea blends.

I’d say the best non-green/Oolong tea, in my opinion, is still a single estate Darjeeling (to be truly accurate, most ‘black’ Darjeeling is really only 90% oxidised, so it’s actuallyOolong). I like stronger tea, so I enjoy second as well as first flush Darjeeling.

But the best brand? If you’re buying from a seller that can tell you on which estate aDarjeeling was grown, then the likelihood is that it’ll be better than something labeled simply as ‘Darjeeling’. The estimation is that 40,000 tonnes of Darjeeling are sold worldwide, while only 10,000 tonnes are grown. Logically, one isn’t always entirely sure that purchased Darjeeling was actually grown there.

Again, I’m very grateful for the question. Clearly the answer you’ll get is entirely objective. I like thinking about how to make loose-leaf tea drinking more attractive. If I were a tea snob, it’d be the worst way of going about the whole thing.

What about you other tea obsessives? When someone asks you what the ‘best tea’ is, what might you say? I know on the face of it, it’s an impossible question. But please jump in and claim your stake on this issue.

Did I mention that blog comments are encouraged?