The Tuesday Muse – Tea Time.


Ahh tea time. 4pm. The kettle’s hot, the teapot’s ready for filling, and there is a full cake stand.

Except – when does this ever happen?

Never. Unless you have high tea at fancy school, or it’s the holidays, or you’re retired. Or if you finish work at 3:30, like me.

Tea? Coffee? Obviously tea, but which one? I’m not sure if there’s too many teas, or the selection is just brilliant. I am partial to a certain weird one called Lapsang Souchong – it’s made by smoking the leaves over burning pine needles – but Assam is just fine. I have qualms with English Breakfast, because if you’re going to blend things, surely you should make your own blend? Hence antique tea caddies with two compartments for two teas, that you can choose the amount of which you blend with. But I suppose it will do if there’s nothing else.

Now – milk? Yes? No? Yes with generic Indian tea, huge no to Earl Grey and others. You know, the ones where milk ruins the taste. Even though people insist on it. At work, I frequently get odd looks if I ask if milk is required in someone’s Earl Grey – as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world to add it. Weird people. Having said that, one bird was posh enough to ask for a slice of lemon the other day. Even I don’t do that.

No one has time to make cake anymore either. This I regard as a great shame as homemade cake is so much nicer than shop-bought. Found a marvellous recipe from Hugh which is a regular sponge where you weigh the eggs (in the shells) and however much they weigh, you use the same amount of sugar, butter and flour. Basically it sounds like a pound cake, but it turns out excellent, and much nicer than pound cake sounds. There seems to be a currently craze of cute cupcake things going on, like tea and cake time is the quaintest thing in the world and we just HAVE to have tea darling! But really – huge slab of freaking awesome cake? Or tiny cupcake that is a fifth of the size? Man cake or poncy girly cake? I ask you.

I know it's not exactly "trad" but it IS awesome 😀

Having said that, cake is not the only option. Crumpets? I think so. Muffins also, but not really scones… And what’s with clotted cream? Just no. Not really cookies either – they’re more a “with milk” thing, or a midnight option, but tea and cookies don’t sound well together, so the likelihood is that they won’t go well together. Not like cake does.

I feel we should all be allowed tea time. Even my dad (who saves lives every day in the hospital) has tea time. Things are so civilised in the NHS. I’m sure someone will say that NHS workers shouldn’t have tea time as it’s our taxes paying for it – but whatever. Free health service? Yes please. Tea, being “what made Dr Watson and the British Empire what it is today”, is the cornerstone of comfort, and is a lovely way to start and end the day. Always best at 4pm with cake though.

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‘The Road’ – Cormac McCarthy. (CONTAINS SPOILERS)


Well. This book’s quite moving isn’t it. Eye-opening. Enthralling. Amazing? Amazing.

I quite liked it yes. YOU NEED TO READ IT. EVERYONE needs to read it.

I am rather interested to see the film now – even more so than I was, except most cinemas don’t seem to be showing it much or at all currently.. Alas!

So. Cormac. I finished this last night curled up in a comfortable bed with Lapsang Souchong, listening to Classic FM. These are all things I am now that much more grateful for. Be warned, recovery time is definitely needed, post-reading.

Despite being easy to read (in that you don’t have to read a sentence twice to understand it – a rarity at the moment I find), McCarthy sucks you into the world of ‘The Road’ – I believe “suck” is an appropriate word here, as it’s not really an enjoyable world and you wouldn’t want to live here anyway. The frailty of life is so disturbing you HAVE to know what happens – you have to find out whether they get through this. I think Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn for those uncultured types) said of his character “the man”, that he is essentially learning from the child throughout the whole journey. This is indeed true to a certain extent, as the boy has qualities that the man lost a long time ago – innocence, faith, types of wisdom the man cannot cling onto – but then both characters need each other far more than you first realise. This is quite representative of the need for community in human life, as the boy needs the man to find him food, but the man needs the boy to continue human life. Is the man driven by his love for the boy and his survival, or by his own survival instinct? The two are surely almost the same, as even if the man is going to die, life can still continue after he is gone.

300 pages Cormac? How the hell did you do it? It’s all the same! Yet all so good. So how did you do it? The plot just revolves around two males fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. I certainly could not have made this last so long.

I was slightly fascinated by the sick images McCarthy conjured up, like the humans being held captive and being harvested for food, and, worst of all, the idea of a new-born child being wheeled around on a spit. How is that survival instinct?! To kill something newborn? To kill life? Moronic characters.

I suppose it was also slightly moronic of me to not see death coming (I was racking my brains as to how it was going to end), as they had survived for so long, so why stop now? But the death was so mortifying! So utterly tragic and so sad. He has led the boy through so much and kept him alive for so long that it just seemed so cruel this would happen. But was this some sort of moral tale? That the boy had faith in human life so he survived and was saved by “the good ones”, was able to continue to “carry the fire”, and live? And the man was not allowed to do this because he saw no hope in humanity apart from in his own son? The boy showed his naiveté, but brought a ‘freshness’ to the view on human life – he seemed to know there was some good left in the world and that it was worth fighting for. I was almost as terrified as he must have been when they were at the beach and the boy was ill. Now that would have been a depressing end to things wouldn’t it.

So much of the time you don’t even have the emotional capacity to consider what they have lost, as you are so caught up on what they still have to lose. This does make you think about our lives now, and appreciate that we do have community, we don’t eat each other, we are able to experience still the first snowdrops in spring, or a good pint on a warm summer’s evening, the cosiness of the bed after you’ve tumble dried the bedsheets and the warming glow of the open fire. In your living room. And if you don’t have time to consider what they already had lost (a wife, friends etc), then you don’t really have time to relate it to your life, so you don’t get to consider what it would be like losing your life partner or best friends, and yet someone you still attach yourself emotionally too them and begin to understand their situation. HOW does the author do this?! I say only “begin to understand”, as I don’t think anyone could really comprehend such a situation unless they’d lived through it, which is currently unlikely.

I found the end of the book somewhat more abrupt than I thought it would have been – I needed more words McCarthy! Although it was a very good ending, and it was an actual ENDING. Unlike in books like ‘Disgrace’ (Coetzee) and ‘The Bell Jar’ (Plath-o-rama). I adore good endings. Despite them sometimes, especially in this case, being ones that actually make you cry. There was a glimmer of hope though, as the boy is found and he survives, and there is a girl his age. Is this what they had been fighting for? The boy grew up very suddenly too, although this was no bad thing. As soon as the man died, the boy was almost the new man – he went from being helpless to carrying the fire in a matter of pages.

I found it odd how the weather had continued yet life had died, although I imagine this just shows how nature will always be there – it was very much a nature over humans book. There were also times when I couldn’t put the book down because the characters hadn’t eaten for days and I needed to know they found food. I couldn’t relax otherwise. It was also ironic that a weapon used to take life (the gun) was their saviour on so many occasions, and their hope for life also. Very odd. But well crafted.

Just one small criticism Cormac. You cannot punctuate to save your bloody life. And I swear you make up half those words. Is “crozzled” really a word? There was a fair amount of American-English in there, something which I don’t normally care for, and how, really, is it possibly for such an author to miss out apostrophes?! Has no one proofread this? Do you not need a system Cormac? Is it not called Language? Did no one tell you each new sentence NEEDS A CAPITAL? I also do not care for mangled English, yet somehow the vast quantity of it in this book didn’t actually detracted from my enjoyment of it. Another plus for McCarthy, his words and story telling over take everything else.

If ever you are feeling bad thoughts about the world, you must read this book. It is a necessity.

A Few Questions..


Why is it a cup of tea always makes you feel better?

Despite replicating the recipe, how come I can never replicate my mother’s food?

Why must AutoGlass adverts use Birmingham accents?  Literally the most irritating region dialect ever?

How does Charlie Brooker manage to write down my thoughts exactly and say them before I do, and much more eloquently?

How does The Word write itself so well? Everytime?

Kettle Chips? Or Tyrrells? Or Burts?

Why do buses not offer returns that last longer than a DAY? Just like trains? Hm? Useless.

Why must the teapot always drip? And why haven’t people realised it’s all in the wrist action?

How do people have the audacity to continue to walk three-a-breast right up until the moment when you have pass ech other on the pavement, and then look at you like it’s entirely you’re fault? Generally, these people are obese too. Comedy.

Will people always be interested in Katie Price’s life?

All ‘Come Dine With Me’s are the same. It’s true. And yet I still watch them. And they’re all so entertaining!

Will ‘The Simpsons’ ever be better than ‘Family Guy’? (No it won’t).

Who the hell invented the hideousness that is Valentine’s Day?! I mean come on!

And finally…

What’s the deal with ageing, suit-wearing, middle class, white, male television presenters on day-time quiz shows?! Surely no one wants to see that? Or is it just me?