Saturday, May 07, 2005

Hip, hip, hooray for the tea drinkers of the world!

This morning in a little while I travel the three miles to Canny’s school to attend the freshman orientation for parents. Canny will become oriented to a place where she has spent much of her life the last eight months. But since she is technically passing from a high school student to a college student, it will be a little different to become a full-time student. Exciting times!

Had some interesting visitors last weekend – the Blunts from Scotland.

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Our dear friends Rev. and Mrs. Blunt (otherwise known as David and Sybil to their friends) flew over three weeks earlier to visit Sybil’s sister and to visit with a budding fellowship of believers affiliated with their denomination, The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), in Dayton, Ohio. We were able to drive the 3 hours and pick them up in Dayton last Friday and drive them back on Saturday. It was sooooo good to see them again. They are some friends with whom we have experienced a deep bond. Hope to get to see them again soon someday in Scotland, D.V.

Which brings me to my final topic today – tea. David who was born and raised in England and Sybil who was born and raised on the Scottish island north of the mainland of Britain called the Isle of Lewis are both, of course, stanch tea drinkers. Sybil confesses that her husband is much more chronically hooked on the stuff than she is, and from what I observed, I believe she’s right. I am a tea drinker myself, but more in the vein of the hippy-type American health food nut.

Regardless of the different types of tea drinkers out there, I don’t think we could ever touch the enthusiasm of the famous Samuel Johnson. Note the following excerpt from the notes in the back of a re-printed version of his dictionary:

Tea was indeed “lately … much drunk in Europe.” It first arrived in Europe in the sixteenth century, but was little known outside Portugal and Holland until the seventeenth. Thomas Garway offered it for sale in London in 1657, and in the next year, an advertisement appeared in the Mercurius Politicus for “China Tcha, Tay or Tee.” Soon tea houses sprang up across London. It was Johnson’s favorite drink. Boswell supposed “No person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of that fragrant leaf than Johnson. The quantities which he drank of it at all hours were so great, that his nerves must have been uncommonly strong.” A friend recollected that “when Sir Joshua Reynolds…reminded Dr. Johnson that he had drank eleven cups, he replied:-‘Sir, I did not count your glasses of wine, why should you number up my cups of tea?’ ” But calculating his prodigious consumption was a common sport. A woman remembered that she “had herself helped Dr. Johnson one evening to fifteen cups.” In 1757, he wrote a review of Jonas Hanway’s Journal of Eight Days’ Journey, a work that “endeavours to show, that the consumption of tea is injurious to the interest of our country.” Johnson would have none of it. “He is to expect little justice from the author of this extract, a hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has, for twenty years, diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and, with tea, welcomes the morning.”


Feanor said...

That's awsome! Drink more tea!!

# 47 said...

Uh, there's tea, and then there's Johnsonian tea.

The British have problems.