Posts Tagged ‘tea’

World Takeover fast approaching

The world takeover is two days away (possibly three) and I have little brain space for other things.  There are a few things that I could hash together to see if it makes a full post. Here goes.

1. Sitting at the computer is giving me a bit of a bad back. It’s making me feel old. I’m wondering how soon this would have happened if I’d gone down the office-job route.

2. My NaNoWriMo is behind by about three days. It doesn’t sound much but it translates to about 5000 words. Which I need to do today. So then it does sound like a lot.

3. I’m having trouble working out how to get photos I’ve taken on my phone to all come out the same size on the website. Some come out big and some come out teeny tiny and some are just right. How/why does this happen? Why don’t they all look the same size?

4. Last night, during Masterchef, the contestants had to make something with a random selection of ingredients. Last time I asked Danda what he would have made, this was his answer. This time, they had a mango, some ricotta, a coconut, brown crab, an aubergine and some other stuff I’ve forgotten. I think I’d make something desserty, I said to Danda, what would you make? Danda’s answer – I’d eat the mango and throw the coconut at Monica’s head. Ever the professional chef.

5. I want a cup of tea.

And now, here’s a photo. To try and rescue this non-post. It’s a tiny snail.
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A thing I used to do

When I was 17, I suddenly developed this preoccupation with the idea of being sophisticated. I thought it would be fantastic if I were like one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s characters. Charming and intelligent and educated and most of all, sophisticated. I read anything I could lay my hands on, got myself a complete works of Shakespeare and, after reading Hamlet, actually really loved it. I tried to accumulate as many facts as possible. My friend, Alison, (who will appear again in a minute), and I would go to the theatre almost every week and discuss the play at length afterward. We learned to eat our soup by scooping our spoons away from us, rather than toward us, like commoners. We presumed that any minute now, we would suddenly wake up and realise that we had become….. sophisticated.

There was a bookshop near school which had lots of university books in it, textbooks about things in medicine that I’d never heard of and huge anthologies of this, that and the other. The literature section was fabulous though, I understood what was going on there.

Upstairs in this bookshop, there was a cafe. Alison and I often used to go to the cafe if we had a free moment in our day. We liked to sit there because we figured that, with all the intelligence and learning floating around in there, some of it must surely stick on us? We would sit amongst the university students discussing intellectual things and try to appear sophisticated. We used to order tea and it would come in little teapots.

I am going to blame what happened next on the cafe. I mean, what kind of cafe has teapots that hold almost exactly the amount of liquid that fits in the cups?

We would pour out our tea into our cups. I think I remember, actually, that the first cup was fine. We would pour out, add milk and drink up. The second cup, however, was where the problem lay. We would pour out the tea and, as there was only a little bit left, we’d pour until the pot was empty. The problem then became clear – there was no space for milk. Black tea was not tasty, especially if it was the second cup so slightly overbrewed.

What to do? A full cup of tea with no space for milk? One cannot pour one’s tea from one’s cup back into one’s teapot, can one? That is, like, sooooo not sophisticated.

But never fear, Alison and I knew how to be sophisticated. We would rescue this situation. We took the lids off our teapots and pulled them close to our cups. Then we took our teaspoons and, scooping our spoons away from us, we transported our tea back to our teapots in little teaspoon amounts. It took a while but at least we were sophisticated about it.

This happened a few times, I remember, and yet we didn’t seem to learn. Perhaps that’s why I’m still so good at scooping away now. And being sophisticated….. I am sophisticated, aren’t I? Aren’t I?

Cleaning and counting and piles of dirt

I bet you thought this’d be a pretty boring post about the fact that I spent hours cleaning up the Orangery and stock counting yesterday, didn’t you?

Um…. yeh.

I’m going to put pictures in to keep your attention, right? So don’t go off all annoyed, thinking I’ve suddenly got boring.

First picture.

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See? I told you it’d be good. That’s the floor. Those with good observational skills will notice that I’ve moved all the furniture to the top section at the back, in order to clean the floor better.

Are you making notes, everyone? That’s my first top tip today. Move the furniture out of the way, if you want to give a more thorough clean.

Next picture.

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This is the dirt I have accumulated by sweeping.

Fascinating stuff, isn’t it? Notice the half eaten piece of buttered bread in amongst the dirt there? I can also report that there was an Iced Gem (who remembers those?) and a leaflet about Chichester Parish Church. Fascinating.

After all this cleanliness, it was time for a bit of counting. Hands up, who’s good at counting! Well, at one stage, I had to count all the teabags so I started pulling the boxes of tea out of the cupboard. A box of peppermint tea was feeling a little rebellious and wouldn’t come out of the cupboard. Rather than have a look at what it was caught on, I just kept pulling and eventually, this happened.

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Top tip number two: don’t just keep pulling the box if it doesn’t want to move.

After that, I scrubbed down the wooden tables and the potwash machine. Then the potwash had a fliddy cause it doesn’t like being cleaned. So I stood and watched it freak out and ate a crisp sandwich. Cause I’m so gourmet.

Now, children. Wasn’t that fascinating? Didn’t you enjoy that little story about cleaning and counting? Isn’t your day much improved now? I thought so.

I aim to please, readers.

*inspiration is low today, clearly*

The time I took up running

A ha! The time I took up running. Me. Running.

I was young and foolish, can I blame it on that? I was 19 years old and living in halls at Glasgow University. One of my flatmates was a girl called Jess. She was my favourite flatmate because she was cool and sporty.

I think I must have talked about wanting to take up running in the way that I once raved on about wanting to do a bungee jump. The idea of being a calm and composed Baywatch-esque runner appealed to me because it was so the opposite to me.

On my birthday, Jess said that, for my present, she was going to teach me how to run. And she did.

We went running two or three times a week, usually in the morning before lectures, and we ran around the park behind our halls of residence, her looking effortless and natural, me panting and puffing along and hoping I didn’t have a heart attack.

A few times she couldn’t come so I went alone and tried to convince myself that soon I’d stop thinking about how much my little body was trying to rebel and be able to just enjoy it. I don’t think I ever did get to that stage. I just plodded along, in my ungainly little way. At the end, when I was within sight of my front door, I’d try to sprint but there was nothing left. I was exhausted. If I did manage any increase in speed, it was so desperate and uncoordinated that I resembled a charging baby elephant and prayed that no-one was watching.

My body was eternally grateful when I stopped chasing this silly pipe dream and went back to walking and sitting down.

A few times since (on crazy days) I’ve thought about going for a run. But more often than not, I see people out running and I just think, “What on earth are you doing? You could be reading a good book and drinking some tea.”

Also, I’ve heard that running makes your face saggy because of the continuous up and down motion, which makes the skin on your face all loose. Looks like I had a lucky escape really.

Getting spooked (part 2)

Last week, if you remember, I had a bit of wierd bulb-smashing incident when looking for ghosts in Ham House. I thought that was the end of it. And maybe it was. But something else happened that makes me think it wasn’t

Well, on Wednesday, there I was, working away. We were quite quiet in The Orangery so there was just me out front, making tea, talking about cake, etc etc. All the usual.

The coffee machine and the till are opposite each other so that if you have one person working at each, they’ll be standing back to back. I hadn’t made any coffees, just lots and lots of tea. The tea is made further along and I hadn’t touched the coffee machine at all. As I stood by the till doing money stuff with a customer, a coffee cup fell from the coffee machine (we keep the cups on top so they stay warm) and smashed on the ground next to me. It might interest you to know that it smashed on my right side, as did the light bulb.

Unperturbed, I continued serving. The man I was serving when it happened asked me if I was ok. I was like, ‘Yeh, I’ll clear it up in a second.’

But then as I was passing him his pot of tea, there was a shard of smashed coffee cup on the work surface near him. That bit was quite wierd because there is a fairly big gap between the coffee machine and the till and the rest of the cup was on the ground. How did that one shard manage to get across the gap and over by the customer?

I’m not saying anything, right. I’m just saying it happened.

My recent speech impediments

Recently, I’ve developed a few odd speech impediments. I’m not sure where they’ve come from or whether it’s just a result of working in a busier environment with customers and so I’m talking more.

The first one is definitely a talking-more thing. When people say thank you for something, I always say, “No problem.” It’s a bit nonsensical anyway because why would there be a problem with them saying thank you? And surely it’s for them to say ‘no problem’ because I’ve done something correctly when they asked me for it. Or maybe it means, “There’s no problem in getting it for you.” In which case, it is me who needs to say it.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I usually say ‘no problem.’ But because there are lots of customers, I’m trying to speak quickly so I can serve the next customer and I keep saying, “No ploblem.”

I’m not sure if they’ve noticed but it’s happening 50% of the time now. When I open my mouth to say, “No problem,” I’ve no guarantee whether I’ll say problem or ploblem.

The second one is something I imagine a grandma might often say. I keep telling people I’ll just “pop and” get them something.

Sample conversation in which I say “pop and.”

“Hello, how can I help you?”

“I’d just like a pot of tea please.”

“Ok, great, that’s going to be £1.75 please.”

“Can I pay by card?”

“Yes, that’s fine. If you just put your card into the machine and it will give you the instructions. I’ll just pop and make your tea while you’re doing that.”

I’m sorry? Pop AND make your tea? Why not just say “I’ll make your cup of tea while you’re doing that”? Am I implying that I shall pop before doing the pot of tea? And what on earth might this ‘pop’ consist of?

People say, “I’m just popping to the shops” or “Pop the kettle on.” The ‘pop’ in itself is kind of a byword for the word that should have been there. So what does my ‘pop’ mean? It’s totally superfluous to the sentence. I’ve already said, “I’ll make your cup of tea” so the “pop and” is simply in there for show.

And now I’ve noticed it and become conscious of it, I’ve been saying it for loads of stuff. It’s got out of control.

“I’ll pop and get you some bread for your soup.”

“If you sit down, I’ll pop and bring you the scones when they’re ready.”

“That’s £3.20, thank you. I’ll pop and get your change for you now.”

“I’ll just pop and get you a wine glass for your drink.”

What I am doing right now

I’m sitting in Danda’s taxi with a flask of lukewarm tea that I threw in there in a hurry. Most of it spilt on the table.

I have my trashy Mills & Boon book next to me as the original intention was to tell you about this fabulous book called Scandalous Innocent which has been written as an historical romance novel about Ham House.

I was also going to tell you about how I spent yesterday evening doing a Ham House jigsaw.

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I’ve got my bag for work with me and my new cool National Trust name badge thing.

I was going to make a cake this morning. Probably more a tart than a cake. With ground almonds and lemon zest and redcurrants.

I was also supposed to bring the antihistemene cream with me because I got a bee sting seven days ago which has today decided to swell up.

But all that has been thrown out of the window because instead we are rushing off to the hospital to see the newest addition to the family, a baby girl called Mia!

Woop woop! Photos to follow.