Bob White, who died of undisclosed causes on February 19, 2017, was one of my heroes and I’ll miss him, as will many working...
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Verzuh, Ron. Tea Leaves – Journeys to the Tea Lands (Eugene, Oregon: CreateSpace online publishing, 2012), ISBN: 9781457922951, $22.95.
We live in an age of war and terror. The four horsemen of apocalypse gallop through the world as if they had coffee hot-wired into their veins. The tea time of the soul seems far away for the moment. Perhaps what the world needs now is to return to a quieter more peaceful time when the fast pace of life stopped each day for a while, when people put aside everything else to enjoy a brief respite with their favourite cuppa.
The tea lady woke me with a rap on the door of my clean but tiny room at Dolphin Square, Pimlico, in London. Tea was the last thing on my mind at 7:30 a.m. But this was London, England, where morning tea is a tradition that dates back even before Thomas Twining set up his little tea shop in the Strand in 1706. “Here’s your cuppa, Gov!” said my tea lady as she placed a tray of piping hot PG Tips with milk and biscuits (read cookies) at my bedside. “Hope you like it.” It was part of the $65 cost of my room, a steal by London standards in those days even though I had to share a bathroom.
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Tea at the Top of the World
On the way up to the fabled ‘hill station’ of Darjeeling, 7,000 feet of sea level in West Bengal, India, I shuddered as we passed hand-lettered signs screaming “We Want Gorka Land.” Wouldn’t a separatist guerrilla movement here in the foothills of the Himalayas fancy taking me hostage? I flattered myself. And wouldn’t they be disappointed to learn that I was just another traveller on a pilgrimage to the ancestral home of the “Champagne of Teas”?