Thursday, February 20, 2014

Putting the T in T-GirL

Okay, so what is it you’re wondering?  Has she gone GaGa? What the *%$ is she on about and why has she posted a pic of a teapot on her blog? The cognoscenti among you perhaps are more likely trying to guess; ‘loose leaf I see but what variety or blend?  Okay, I’m finally admitting it. I can’t live a lie any more, pretending that I dunk a bag in a mug like everyone else. I’m coming out of the closet; unashamedly proud; I’m a loose leaf girl and a tea addict! Pause while I listen to gasps of horror all around.  Whispered comments from one to another…’she loves to go out clubbing; seldom seen out without a bottle of something blue in her hand, dances like a party freak and yet she drinks tea from a teapot???

So how serious is it? Well, seldom satisfied with a single mugful first thing; I’ve normally downed at least 3 mugs before breakfast! A whole teapot is way more practical than dashing back and forth to the kitchen whilst doing my makeup. I have to have my fix on a morning before I feel human.  If anything, the addiction has got way more pronounced in the last seven years or so on HRT. I could drink T for England, or maybe Wales.

Earlier in my life I spent some of my formative years living in Northern France outside Bethune. I’m a French speaker and that was a distinctly Francophile phase in my life.  Listening to Gerard Lenorman, Maxime le Forrestier and Michel Sardou and drinking….not coffee exactly but café-chicorée (one spoonful of roasted chicory to three of ground coffee - (chicory in first)) to which I became equally addicted and still am whenever I drink coffee.  I never imagined that I’d drink much tea, associating it with Great Aunts and Grandmothers; particularly tea in a pot with a sieve provided.  Now here I am stepping into their shoes, or so it seems. Well, not quite.  None of my Grannies or Aunts had a penchant for Earl Grey tea, delicate finger sandwiches or mini quiches.  I came from the West Riding of Yorkshire and the industrial rust belt of coal mining and heavy woollens at that.  Tea had to be strong enough to stand a spoon up and as a child the downside of an unsieved mug of tea was often a mouthful of stewed leaves in the bottom of the cup! Tea had no style and panache and I rapidly left it behind for the more exotic tastes of Northern France; café-chicorée au lait, une tartine de pain et confiture de fraises….with tea it would have been merely ‘milky coffee, a slice of bread & jam’. It doesn’t sound quite the same does it?

These days life is more hectic with little opportunity to speak French but lots of stress.  Breaks are brief and few. They usually come in a paper cup with an optional plastic lid and a very indifferent taste. Consequently I’ve gone back to tea, preferably loose leaf; made in a pot with boiling water, but even more important, consumed with good company, in a relaxing atmosphere,with my girl m8s, lots of laughter and gossip. Maybe there is something of the rabbit hole in that teapot spout, so much so that when you pour it you escape for a while to somewhere pleasanter and less pressurised. Good tea takes me to where the rules aren’t the same and I can chill.

So there you have it. I’m a T-drinking T-Girl on HRT. Loose leaved, loving dancing and a tease; a tease who likes tea. Food of choice with my tea? Anything from quiche and salad to cakes and afternoon tea. Favourite venue? Can you guess? It has to be The Richmond Tea Rooms.  Situated on Richmond Street in the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village, I simply HAVE to go in there at least once in a while and deffo during Pride and Sparkle.  I love that quirky, Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland atmosphere and the delightfully mismatched, genteel crockery and furniture.  The Richmond Tea rooms is a place to relax, enjoy, kick back and chill like absolutely nowhere else. Favourite blend? Make that a Lapsang Souchong please with hot water on the side. What's yours?

Cheers, Jane xx

Image courtesy of Richmond Tea Rooms -

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