Morning tea

Pardon the vulgarity but my boarding school portrait of the ideal start to the day was a “Shit, Shave and Shower”.  Below is a less crude piece I discovered this morning on the internet. Though it has the flavour of a flower child – and it certainly would not constitute the copybook prescription for an alcoholic – there is for those of a more restrained cast the modicum of attraction. The thing noticeably missing in my opinion is music. With my Bose NC 700 Headphones on and a connection to Apple Music it is but a swipe to Chopin, Bach, Beethoven or Ravel and the instant elevation of spirit!

Nine morning habits to start the day right:

1. Wake Up Early. Early risers reap many benefits. …
2. Smile and Think Something Positive. As soon as you wake up, smile.
3. Make Your Bed. …
4. Brush Your Teeth and Scrape Your Tongue.
5. Drink Warm Water With Lemon.
6. Do a Stretching Routine.
7. Meditate.
8. Eat a Healthy Breakfast.
9. Create Something

Purely as a matter of record and not to be tedious, it pleases me to report that once again this morning we ventured forth on our bicycles.  Though it was -21°C we were spared complete annihilation because there wasn’t any wind. But it was sufficiently frigid that we shortened our tour to spare our fingers frost bite. My objective today and for the past several days was to capitalize upon the current high pressure system which has sustained clear, dry air resulting in clear, dry streets which naturally favour cycling in wintry weather. This physical activity is heightened by the contrary attempt I made to walk earlier in the week. It is an odd trait that I cannot walk painlessly yet I can cycle an average of 10Km without discomfort.  I suspect it is a matter of accommodating the incremental disintegration of my hips, spine or erstwhile broken ribs. Whatever it is, I have always known that I dislike walking; and for as long as I can remember I have enthused over bicycling.

The morning ceremony of tea – in my case Twining’s Earl Grey an “Aromatic black tea blend, scented with a citrus bergamot flavour” – has unwittingly become embroidered.  Not unexpectedly I suppose, I have opted for loose tea instead of sachets. It is perhaps the same reason I prefer to grind my coffee from beans. Coincidentally Twinings of London® sells both tea and coffee. Thinking it would avoid the fuss of a tea pot, I purchased a small perforated metal basket (an infuser) into which I spoon the tea leaves then submerge the whole (covered) from a metal string into a cup of hot water to steep. The production sounds simple enough – there’s even a ceramic cubicle into which one may afterwards deposit the metal container – but it is not. The idea is good but the design is bad.  It requires surgical skill to put the lid back onto the basket once one has succeeded to get the leaves into it – itself a microscopic challenge usually attended by the unwelcome necessity to clear the counter afterwards.  My anxiety has now reached the point of reciprocal abuse of the nicety of skilful containment. I have instead adopted whatever mechanical contortions or physical assault are necessary to the achieve the minute goal.  I’ve been close to ejecting the entire mess and returning to the convenience of Nespresso coffee pods. Remarkably however my hard response has worked. There remains the inescapable prolongation of the process but I’ve learned to insinuate it into the other demands of cutting the bagel and peeling the orange.

bergamot1 | ˈbəːɡəmɒt | noun1 [mass noun] an oily substance extracted from the rind of a dwarf variety of Seville orange, used in cosmetics and as flavouring in Earl Grey tea. 2 (also bergamot orange) the tree which bears a variety of Seville orange from which bergamot is extracted. Citrus aurantium subsp. bergamia, family Rutaceae.3 an aromatic North American herb of the mint family. Genus Monarda, family Labiatae: several species, in particular sweet bergamot (M. didyma) (also called bee balm, oswego tea), grown for its bright flowers.ORIGIN late 17th century (in bergamot1 (sense 2)): named after the city and province of Bergamo in northern Italy.

I cannot overstate the importance of the matutinal trough.  The products have changed over the years but the passion has not.  Being no longer in service I have prolonged the launch upon the bread, cheese and fruit until customarily late in the morning – preferably after having absolved myself with a bike ride.  The penance is not the only advantage; it is a reminder that “The best sauce for any meal is an appetite!” Though I am the first to confess that a bit of the old Protestant Work Ethic still abounds.

It is peculiar that one such as I should harbour any interest in timeliness or industry.  For one thing I have nothing better to do; for another, I’m entitled.  Nor might I add is it any small compliment to achieve the ability to snap one’s fingers at the world.  It is a calculated effort wrought of practice and design. Let’s face it, after forty years of working why should we imagine we’ll suddenly undo the tethers of habit? By entire coincidence the very subject surfaced in a nonchalant conversation later this morning with my trusty dispensing optician when attending to have prescription lenses installed in a new pair of frames. We both gleefully embraced the challenge of adorning our sudden – or in his case, imminent – descent into the nether of pure self-indulgence and accompanying self-justification. Like so many others we’ve both adopted certain artistic expressions tainted by the assurance of amateurism. My answer to the insipid nature of the undertakings is that it ignores the external world and focuses upon the internal voice. That is as mandatory as doing anything else that now propels my palate. It isn’t merely an answer to time running out; it can be a new adventure. The introspection need be only a resource not necessarily a closet door.