The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

tea caddyFriday night. I’ve been working outside all week with no radio. That’s fine as I tune into the pattern of sounds in our village. The girl that tacks out on a coloured horse every afternoon. The heavy breathed joggers. The trail of mothers and children that venture to school and back at tea time. And the intermittent traffic, usually driving far too fast.

Our cottage is set back from the road in a dip. It’s a secret place. On a tight bend, people just don’t notice our home. We have double glazing and a deep drive. We could be on the moon

I am working at a house opposite. This wonderful house is set a good ten feet higher in an acre of garden. Inside it is quiet and the heavy doors shut with just the right whisper. Phut. But this afternoon, working outside, I was almost knocked off my ladder by the orchestra of lawnmowers. From Anne Mary’s sit-on steed to the mini Flymo in the garden next door.

I didn’t hear the call for tea but my decorating training means that I can lip read. As long as it’s a simple word. Tea has a 100% response rate.

Tea is my fuel.

I tend to shy away from a tea break. I generally opt for a mug on the job. Tea should be savoured and ideally be constantly at hand.

I used to be a “Twinings 1720” freak but now I have discovered Assam. Perhaps it just works well with our water but when I twigged that I had only 4 bags left I began to get a bit twitchy.

On a job I’m generally offered two types of tea.
“Builder’s or Earl Grey?”
I generally opt for the former. I’ve consequently carried out a blind tasting of most of the supermarket blends on the market. I quickly came to the conclusion that Twining’s Assam is a race apart.

Beware. If you try this tea there probably will be no looking back and what will you do with the surplus of insignificant tea bags?

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    Oh I see. Aldi like Netto is great for some things but not specialist items like tea!

    I must try Dargeeling. At the moment Assam is my number one.

  2. Pamela

    Hi Fiona

    There are no plans to sell Darjeeling but it’s the only tea my brother really likes and he is having difficulty getting hold of it locally – mostly because he’s an Aldi shopper. So the mail order investigation was just to find an easy way of keeping him supplied with good tea. I currently have Darjeeling from both Whittards and Waitrose for him to try next time I go down to visit/work.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    I must try infusing verbena – I’ve heard that it makes a delicious tisane. It grows like a weed in our garden!

    Are you planning to sell the Darjeeling?

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