Spring feels like it’s arrived in Portland! Ok, at least it does on the oh so occasional sunny afternoon in between Oregon’s version of monsoon rains. Cherry blossoms float through the air, and if you are lucky enough to walk down the right street, a delicate smell of jasmine will drift over you, forcing you to stop and retrace your steps to find the source. Even as we celebrate the birth of a new season, winter feels like it hasn’t been informed to loosen its grip. Most everyone I know has been under the weather with a horrible bug that’s been gripping the city bringing an endless litany of coughing and nose blowing. I got smacked down twice as I also somehow acquired strep throat. One of the lovely things about being self-employed is that I could continue to work on my book in between naps, even though my throat looked like the latest version of the movie Aliens. Stretchy pants and hot tea were imperatives, so I thought I’d share my take on tea in the UK which will be featured in my book about Iona:
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, I was always a coffee girl. I had no idea how much power tea has in the UK. A cup of tea (a cuppa) seems to be the solution to every problem in Great Britain.
Feeling cold? How about a cuppa? Feeling tired? A cuppa will perk you right up! Bad breakup? A cuppa will make you feel better. Bored? Make a cuppa… at least then you will have something to do. And if you’re making one, make me one too.
When I was on Iona in February, not one single hotel or cafe was open. When I returned in November the Argyll Hotel on the waterfront offered lunch and tea from 10- 2, Wednesday through Saturday. All of us at the hostel would plan our days around ‘going into town’ and lunching at the Argyll. The real treat, however, was when one ordered a scone and tea. Thick clotted cream and jam were served with a buttery, flaky scone the size of a fist. It is a true test of character not to gobble the whole thing down while you wait for your tea to steep. I am a fan of rich black, Scottish tea with cream and honey added. The afternoons that I treated myself to the full spread were few, but etched in my mind. Even now that I’m back in the states, I still prefer a cuppa in the morning. A big mug of Earl Grey creamy with almond milk is my favorite. I turn on the electric kettle if I’m feeling cold, or tired, or heartbroken or even bored. Nothing but a cuppa will do.