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The importance of good tea (and timing the trains right)

I’m running on less sleep than is probably wise, but that comes as a university standard across the world, I think. Granted, for me it’s more to do with out-of-university affairs than anything, but we’re aiming for relatability, here. Fortunately, there’s a little thing that the Brits really have down right that helps a lot with sleepiness, exhaustion, and more or less everything else in life: tea. I’m no connoisseur, but I’m learning. My tastes go a little fruitier than most, but even so. (and I’ll never quite manage to leave coffee behind, I suspect. Too many years of dependency.)

First off, tea is an excellent writing companion. I’m drinking tea as I’m writing this, I was drinking tea as I worked through revisions last night, and I have no doubt that I’ll be drinking tea when I’m outlining that essay plan I’ve been putting off for three weeks tomorrow too. …I’m not saying tea is an enabler of bad behavior, but, um. Read into that as much as you like. Some teas are caffeinated, others are herbal, others taste a little like someone contemplated adding some milk to that sugar and decided at the last minute that no, sugar’s probably enough on its own. Everyone can find something. I’ve been fond of the red berry tea for a while now – the fruity taste is just enough to make it feel like a treat, and the hot beverage aspect of it is enough to calm my mind and settle my thoughts into something I can work with. It’s also pretty cheap though, and this is the land of tea; I wanted more.

Enter Fortnum & Mason (and my handy open-to-me-crashing-at-their-place London friends). Dear lord. I was wearing one of my nicer outfits and I still felt outclassed the minute I walked through the door. They make a business out of selling only the best teas, chocolates, biscuits, tea sets, coffee grinds, fancy sugar confectionery things with even fancier names, and so on, and it shows. Everyone there is dressed nicely, and every customer (myself included) is gripping their wallet just a little too tightly. It’s a good atmosphere, all things considered. And I got my tea even if the wince was unavoidable. Lemon and ginger for the cold nights when I have a bit of a cough to fight, and orange and grapefruit for when I’m just looking for something nice. I’ve now tried both, and wow. Price totally worth it. Besides, after this pilgrimage I no longer feel guilty about coming up with Universi-tea puns. The possibilities are endless.

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