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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

In praise of tea


My predilection for cafés, pots of tea and the like on my wanderings by foot or cycle has been questioned (see comment - L da P on my last post). The implication is that this denigrates the macho image.

This café failed me - click to enlarge to see notice in window

I have no pretension to be the “hard cyclist” alluded to by L da P.

My attitude to cycling seems to ignore the personal challenge I often adopt when walking, when I tend to compare my time with those in guide books, and others, or set myself targets. Having said that, I do have a sneaky look at the mini cycle computer that tells me my average speed, and, best of all, the fastest speed achieved (31 mph so far).
For me, tea refreshes at breakfast time, and during the day. Coffee gives me a kick mid morning, and induces repletion after my evening meal. Wine only enters the equation on outdoor trips if I eat out in the evening, or it may be beer if good real ale is available.
Beer during the day when walking or cycling is disastrous. On the Pennine Way (1987), I had a sandwich and two or three pints in the Green Dragon at Hardraw. The following ascent of Great Shunner Fell, on a blazing hot afternoon was one of the most uncomfortable walks I can remember.
The “mutual friend” mentioned by L da P was my old climbing partner Tony who was as good a friend as I ever had - he very sadly died in 2003. Tony was a hard climber, but he always insisted on a brew at a café before and after climbing, and that influence is now embedded in me.

Tony

A trip with Tony took us to Spain where we climbed with some Spanish climbers who were exceedingly good company. For these guys a days climbing had to include a pre-climb brew, good companionship on the crag, and a meal together afterwards, and this was reverently designated:  un compleat días, which I have always remembered as a laudable concept.

2 comments:

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Tea has its uses. Here is an edited sequence from my novel, Blest Redeemer. Judith is a manager, Mabel is her treasured secretary. During the Christmas holiday Judith visits Hoxton where Mabel lives with her widowed mother. The plan is to persuade the mother (Mrs Thwaites) to move house.
……………………………………………….
Judith said, “Let’s sit at the table and put you straight.”
“There is coffee…” said Mabel but broke off. Her mother was already filling up the cups with well-stewed tea. “It’s teatime Mabel,” said Mrs Thwaites. “Everyone drinks tea at teatime.”
“Of course they do,” said Judith, smiling at Mabel with mock malice.
“I’ve never ever seen you drink… oh, never mind. Cakes?”
Mabel was right, Judith abhorred tea and yet it was difficult to imagine drinking anything else at this table.
……………………………………………
“… Naturally I chose Mabel and Zara, another hard worker.”
“You haven’t touched your tea.”
And Judith obediently swallowed half a cup of tepid tea.
…………………………………………………………….
“….I’d increased (Mabel’s) salary but I needed to do more.”
Judith needed to pause here, for dramatic effect. Drinking tea might justify the pause. Out of love she drank more tea. “I take it you can see where I’m going,” she said with a slight shudder.

Sir Hugh said...

L da P - You never know here blogging is going to lead you next.