Category Archives: Tea Stories

Tales of the Tea Trolley Gang

The little yellow teapot in the centre of the table draws my eyes like a beacon as I walk through the door into the modern, spacious, arty space.

Our hosts today are Jackie and Peter. Peter, lovely chap though he is, seems almost insubstantial next to his other half, who seems to glow with inner warmth as she welcomes me in to join the throng.

To my left I see that odd young man in a dressing gown. Someone suggested his name was Thomas, but I don’t know. Every so often he bursts forth , Wilde-like, with some funny utterance, but then prefers to slip back into the shadows.

Sitting next to him, as I suspected, is Milly. Beneath the harmless old lady exterior that she likes to play on is a keen wit, a sharp eye, saucy humour and a big heart. It’s like a variation on Angela Lansbury’s most famous role, except here, it’s “Tea, She Wrote” and there’s a lot more double entendres. Wellington snores at her feet.

My eyes skip over Cynthia — I know who she is, but she’s kind of hard to spot next to her partner Estella, who is handing her a small glass of Oriental Beauty, or “Bug-Chewed Oolong” as it’s often – and accurately – described.

It’s not hard to see why I find Estella fascinating. It could be just the natural curiosity to see things that are different to oneself — the fascination of the lesbian to the heterosexual man, the intrigue of the dyed-in-the-wool Marxist-Pinko-Socialist-Communist-whatever to an insipid, vaguely Orwell-inspired social-liberal-conservative-democrat like myself, or even the fact that Canadians and Australians share a common British ancestry and fear of becoming American.

But I suspect it’s more to do with the way she rails against injustice, wears her heart on her sleeve and can find humour in the blackest of situations.

Obviously, my place is on the other side of the table, with the Antipodean contingent. Hazel is there, steadfastly refusing to drink tea. Hard to figure out why she hangs with this crowd, except that she shares our tilt on life and we all think the world of her. She’s laughing, which seems to be an almost permanant state.

I sit in the middle between Hazel and Meredith, who is as Australian as I am but is forced to live in exile in New Zealand. I note that not only does she have an enigmatic nametag, but her teapot is also sporting a nametag.

At that moment, Liss and Ken come in; contrasting world weary and well-travelled with youthful exuberance. Ken’s already joking with Jackie; as usual much laughter ensues.

Peter pours Liss a nice green and we chat amongst ourselves. I enquire after The Literatus, but no-one’s seen him for a while.

On an easel is a photo of our last gathering, from the Tea and Coffee Brewery in Temecula, Dianne steeping heroically whilst Eddie tinkles the ivories. The photographer has done masterful job, and whilst it’s unsigned, the perfect angles and the small hissing cockroach inserted into the corner tells me who it is.

Then Jackie rings a bell, the signal to get down to business. “Today, The Devotea will share something special with us”, she announces as I pull a packet of Daintree from my pocket, basking in the glow of a dozen friendly faces.

This story is brought to us by our guest contributor The Devotea.

Ed.note: This post was originally posted in late 2010 but was lost in a technical error. It has been recovered and is being reposted in honor of Milly. Rest in Peace.

Ar Ramadi, Iraq

Flag of IraqThe Euphrates River. Just being there—seeing it, listening to it, smelling it—seemed to have biblical implications. How many foreign invaders saw the river that way? A soldier, sitting on top of an armored vehicle. The sun setting on the horizon. A long, hot and uncertain day coming to an end with another warm night about to begin. It was something as simple as a cup of tea that made it bearable.

There had been a riot in town earlier in the day. The soldiers drove right through it — or, at least tried to. There was much shouting, anger, and resentment in the air. There were hundreds, probably thousands of people yelling and chanting. This was the very first American visit into the city, in war with an uncertain future; a visit that was apparently not welcome. The convoy slowed to a halt in the middle of the mass of humanity surrounding it. The soldiers glanced around nervously, wondering what they were going to do next.

The crowd acted first. They threw sandals; lots of them. It seemed like a thousand people simultaneously pulled the shoes from their own feet and hurled them through the air in defiant protest. Soldiers ducked down inside their vehicles because they threw rocks too.

Shoes? Are they really throwing shoes at us? A riot, a soldier, and tea in an uncommon place

Saint-Raphaël, France

There is little left to say to somebody after you have just told them that you no longer feel any love.

She twisted a lock of her dark, curly hair around her finger and shifted in her seat. She did not know where to look; all she knew was, she did not want to look at him. He was sitting opposite her, she sensed he was reaching for a cigarette in his jacket pocket again. She heard the rustling of the plastic wrapping, as he tore open yet a new packet.

“You smoke too much,” she muttered, for lack of anything else to say. She still did not want to catch his gaze.

“Eh, merde, what’s it to you?”
Tea and the end of love? Read more…

Skodsborg, Denmark

Flag_of_DenmarkThe water is 18 degrees…Celsius. Cold, but the children don’t seem to mind as they charge, splashing into it. Every time they run up and back, their speeding feet fling sand high up into the air. Boredom, leftover from a morning shopping trip in the capitol fuels them. A summer afternoon on the beach is a good way to cure it.

The whitewash on the buildings along the strandvej is bright. The sun makes a good show of itself forcing warmth down through the clouds and onto the Danish coastline. Along the street, noise from a party spilling out of the Villa Rex fills the air with distant shouts and honking car horns. The Queen of Denmark is not in attendance today. Tea and family on the Danish coastline? Keep reading!

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