Happiness is finding time for tea

time for tea

Happiness is finding time for a sit down. True happiness however lies in finding a new favourite place. On Sunday, having a little stroll from Dalston, we looked inside Time For Tea. The sign for this wonderful discovery has filled me with much curiousity previously but having always been on buses when I passed it, I’ve not had a chance to peek in and investigate the delights it holds.

Finally on Sunday, we walked into a room, not unlike most grannies’ living rooms. There were a couple of tables and intimate groups of people sat about drinking tea from a variety of vintage tea sets. The room was filled with the sounds of swing, but curiously punctuated by the sound of someone typing on a typewriter.

imgp2060We walked in through to the back passing “objects”. On an upside down chair, the legs now housed some hats; on a little dressing table, there laid some vintage brooches; and a whole load of records all for £2. On that wall, an old map of Australia, brown from age; on another some beautiful old clocks.

At the back of the room, we reached a little serving counter with an old cash machine. Shelves were lined with labelled jars of tea and there was even a selection of homemade cakes (on cake stands). At the corner of our eyes, we saw the typist. A girl of about 10 or 11 sat facing the room and typed away. She wore a flat cap and jodphurs and she was concentrating seriously.

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After a sit down and a few cups of Russian Carnival (oh yes, even the teas are magical blends!), it was time to go. The girl -Tilly is her name,  served us.

She had finished typing. I asked her what she was typing, was it a story?

“It’s a classic love story”, she replied.

That was a surprise. And she went on. She said it was set in the 40s.

But of course.

Going into Time For Tea is a magical experience. Stepping in you leave the craziness of Shoreditch High Street and back into time. Drinking tea and eating cake. I didn’t know it was so easy to forget 2009.

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The Taste of Tea or Cha No Aji

Sometimes it takes a hot shower and some camomile tea to help soothe a grey and rainy day. I love standing under a hot shower and letting it wash over me. It’s like standing in a storm and I always feel like i am disappearing into a film.

Stepping out of the shower to a cup of hot tea is nice. If you get a calming one like camomile, it is a luxury.

I love Chinese tea. I think that part of the charm of eating dim sum is having endless cups of tea. I have never been a big PG Tips kind of a tea drinker. I have always preferred coffee. Although after discovering how soothing it is to have a cup of slightly sweetened, milky tea for nursing a hangover, I now welcome the idea of having tea and would have maybe a cup every other day. 

Brewing tea is an exercise in patience. A good cup of tea is worth the wait. In Istanbul, the teashops were heavy with the fragrance of shisha and the scent of fruit teas. Served in beautiful tea glasses, I remember thinking that life should be about having a sit down and letting what’s around you pleasure your senses.

The Whistle-Blower

the whistle-blower

I was in my friend’s kitchen the other day and heard the sound of his kettle whistling. The crescending sound brought me back to when I was child and this was the one regular sound- a constant soundtrack to our household.

It struck me then, how much I miss this sound. That shrill whistle. The one that starts tiny and reaches a maximum high, demanding attention. Like a schoolbell that signals the end of the school day, this instantly recognisable sound is like the kitchen version of Pavlov’s bell. A cuppa is about to be made.

I have not had a stove kettle for years now. My kitchen is filled with appliances that make electronic bleeps. The microwave that goes teeeet teeeeet teeeeeet when it’s done with reheating your food, the oven that goes beeeeeeep when your muffins are ready. None with the charm of the stove kettle.

Since having dinner the other day, I have had the sound of the whistling kettle in my head and my eye on this little beauty by Alessi.

bird whistle