Posts Tagged ‘morning’

A cup of tea in the garden

Take your morning coffee out into the garden (Simon Gear, Going Greener)

I’ve been sitting on this one for a little while now, feeling like this was the next direction to go in with my Living Usefully project but not quite getting round to it.

As I drink tea, not coffee, I have adjusted it slightly but last night I decided that today was the day when I would take my tea into the garden. The weather has been nice all weekend and there have been some recent additions to the garden which I thought would make standing out there a lovely thing to do.

We recently got a cherry tree, a plum tree, a strawberry plant, tomato plants, a tall fuschia plant and a load of pansies and lobelia so there is a lot to look at in the garden right now. I was looking forward to my tea-in-the-garden plan.

Then I woke up, fifteen minutes ago. The birds were singing, the air felt warm and I pulled back the covers.

Then I looked out of the window. It was pouring with rain and everything looked soaked.

image

So I pulled the covers over me again, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Sorry, everyone. I’m sorry. I tried, sort of. I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe.

Advertisements

Nanny Rhino and the law of tea

Yes, that’s right. I’m fobbing you off with something from my Nanny Rhino, rather than writing a proper blog for you. Again. Apologies. I have been busy (for ‘busy,’ read: lazy).

image

 

Tea. What a wonderful wonderful beverage. Not much beats a tea. As a non-drinker (of the alcoholic variety, I of course, do drink other things), tea is as wacky as it gets in my world. Well, apart from when I occasionally drink coffee.

 

I do get quite wacky with my tea sometimes. When I first moved to university and happened to have a peppermint tea at someone’s house, a whole new world opened up in front of me. And it was very exciting indeed. I used to have a small travel kettle in my room which just brewed enough for one cup. I also had a rubbishy student job at a coffee place inside a train station. They would open at the crack of dawn to get the early commuters and close late at night to get the drunken husbands desperately trying to sober up with espressos before returning home to their wives.

 

I was often on the early shifts, which meant arriving at 5.30am. Whether cycling or taking the bus, I needed to leave myself about twenty minutes. So my alarm would go off at 4.15am and I would grumpily throw back the duvet and force myself over to the desk to put the kettle on. A mug with a tea bag would be waiting, having been placed there the night before. The kettle would boil, the water would go in and while it brewed, I would gripe about early starts and it surely being against the Human Rights Act and I could possibly sue my employers. Then the tea would finish brewing, I’d ditch the bag and, depending on which tea it was, I’d add milk and have a sip.

 

Things slowly seemed kind of nice then. I could hear the birds singing and see the sun rising. I would put in headphones and listen to I Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones (always the same song, because of the line “I waited till I saw the sun.”) and write. I was doing a joint honours degree and one of my subjects was Creative Writing. The lecturers had advised us to write for twenty minutes every morning. I realised what I always realise at that time of day, when my grumpiness has slid off and down under the floorboards some place and all the nice things about being awake in an empty world while everyone else sleeps become obvious. There’s just me. Me and my cup of tea. My day feels nicer when I start it that way.

 

Yesterday morning, for example, even though I didn’t have time to have tea at home, I managed an earl grey and a scone in between all the breakfast and coffee orders at work. It helped.

 

I have been known to branch out quite spectacularly when making tea. I went for milk-less tea for a long time, which led to forays into the world of fresh mint tea (plucked from my own garden), cardamom concoctions and licorice infusions. When living abroad in Namibia, my friend, Lucy, and I, in our poverty, drank a lot of rooibos tea, to keep our tummies full! It was dirt cheap for a box of fifty and every evening, we would stand at our window in our kitchen and watch the sun set over the water. We were living on the coast, our little house looking out over the Atlantic ocean, and got the most beautiful skies I have ever seen in my life. Colours I didn’t think belonged in a sky – greys, oranges, pinks, reds, blues, purples. Rooibos tea will always mean beautiful African sunsets to me.

 

Careless brewers, who throw the bag in walk away from it, then return later in the day to add milk, should be publicly reprimanded for killing tea. Teabag squeezers also need the same level of punishment.

 

Don’t just leave it there for ten minutes! It shows you don’t care. It comes out like black coffee and is far too bitter. And don’t go the opposite direction and try to brew it too quickly by taking a teaspoon and squeezing your bag against the side of the cup! What’s wrong with you? You’re suffocating it. Let it brew gently. Unless you have so little respect for yourself that you don’t mind drinking tannin, then please do not squeeze. 

The problem with swimming

I am on Day 2 of Being Active week and, since there’s an outdoor swimming pool near my house, I thought I’d try to swim every day this week. Yesterday went well. The pool opens at 6.30am so I woke up at 6am and was in the pool by 6.40am. I thought it’d be good because I might miss the rush. I’ve been a few different times in the morning and it’s always pretty full. I was trying to find a time when it was a bit emptier so I could swim without crashing into people.

Of course my plan did not work. It was still quite full ten minutes after opening. ‘O well,’ I thought. ‘I’ll just swim in that one empty lane over there that no-one else is in. I wonder why no-one else is in it.’

Off I go, to the empty lane. All to myself. Ahhh, loads of space. Very exciting. I get in and I think maybe I’ll be a bit adventurous today, I’ll do back stroke. Seeing as there’s no-one else in the lane, I can swim without worrying that I’ll hit anyone. So I do one length, it’s quite tiring for someone who’s into the whole gentle-stroll scene.

And that’s when I see it, the sign at the top of the lane, in massive letters. ‘FAST LANE. FRONT CRAWL ONLY.’

O no! I’d just committed a swimming faux-pas. I’d done back stroke in the front crawl lane! I suddenly felt very self-conscious and looked around for another space in one of the slower lanes but there weren’t any. Disaster! I checked the indoor pool but that was even busier. I looked at the lifeguard, ready to be told off, but she hadn’t noticed. There was nothing for it but to keep going. Worse still, I had decided to do back stroke on my way up and breast stroke on my way back. So there I was, plodding along like a grandma, doing breast stroke in the FAST FRONT CRAWL ONLY lane. Boy, was I nervous! I tried doing front crawl for a length but it wasn’t great. I know my limitations. At the moment, back stroke and breast stroke are my comfort zone.

Inevitably, someone wanting to use the FAST FRONT CRAWL ONLY lane to do front crawl came into the lane so I went into the one next to me as a space had freed up there and immediately I was exposed to all the minor annoyances of swimming around other people.

Why is that person swimming in a diagonal line? They’ve cut across my bit and now I’ve got to move to get around them. And now I’ve lost my space.

I’m swimming in this bit! Why are you getting in the pool and swimming in a straight line toward me? I guess I’ll move out of the way although I was here first. And again, lost my space.

If you’re going to swim in the lap lane, don’t be the slowest swimmer ever, please. People are behind you, trying to get some exercise.

If you’re going to come here and swim in public, make sure you can do it first. The big splashing nonsense that appears to be your version of ‘swimming’ is making me fear for my life. You also just kicked me on your way past.

So you see the problems of swimming in a public pool!? It’s not as straight forward as you would think. You spend a long time, carving out a little space for yourself and then people come and invade it. Or you accidentally ignore the swimming social etiquette by swimming in the wrong lane. Or you get stuck next to someone who’s all arms and legs and you have to flatten yourself against the side when they pass. There’s lots to think about. I bet you thought swimming was a fairly simple activity? Well, I must warn you, don’t bring your brain with you if you want a simple swimming session. There’s too much to think about.

Today, I’m working early so will swim after work. Fingers crossed I won’t talk myself out of it (I’m very good at talking myself out of things).