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Nothing like the cold of the morning to wake you up. Or a coffee. Richard recently told me that as a budding writer, coffee should be my oxygen, what propels me to write. I'm more of a tea lass but I've been trying the odd mug of joe when writing. Not sure that coffee pushes productivity, as I write most often when I'm tired and edit wakeful, alert.

At home, tea works like punctuation. Going somewhere? Cuppa tea. Just got in? Cuppa tea. Fishing? Take a flask. Walking? Flask. Gallery? Flask. Want a Bourbon? I take my Thermos everywhere.

This waterfall of PG, the steaming kettle, the tinging of spoon on china and the slop of used wet teabags, is the order of home. Everyone has their tea a particular way. The water has to hit Dad's cup first, otherwise it won't taste right. My brother agrees but pretends the three second delay of pouring makes no real difference but the water always goes in his first otherwise. Angela used to be on tea but now prefers coffee. Mam doesn't mind so long as the tea is dark and I don't mind, so long as it is light, so she usually gets my tea bag in hers. Before it taints mine a bit too brown. A bit too tea-y. Even little brother Lee drinks tea now, albeit from a smaller cup. He has his like mine for the moment, before he gets into all that dark tea.  With a full kettle and all the cups in a line, I time the family brew to perfection. We all have our particular cups and none of us take sugar. When I was at Dove Cottage in the Lakes, the tour guide told us a story about the wooden tea chest on display. The Wordsworth's used the tea leaves, made cups of tea then dried them. Poured a cup for Coleridge. Used them again and dried them. One lump or two, deQuincey? Dry them again. Then they'd give them to the local poor. That's my cup of tea. A pauper's tea. Worthsworthian jetsom: weak and white.



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