part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place
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Archive : May 2007


28/05/07 : Tea

At one time, I think I could have quite easily carved out a career as a cat burglar. I am also pretty sure that if I had have ever been caught breaking into someone's house, I would have ended up making the owners a cup of tea whilst waiting for the police to arrive.

The subject of tea seems to have popped up in the news a fair bit recently, ever since Tony Blair mentioned that he wanted to uphold the British tradition of a well-made cup of tea.

Looking through some of the related articles it appears that tea may reduce the risk of both ovarian cancer and skin cancer (that cup of tea in the picture must be a bit cold by the second article).

The latest research recommends using a teapot rather than dunking a bag in a cup.

Now, this is serious. Dunking a bag in a cup?!? I know that non-English people make tea this way (in the movies and on TV at least) but I didn't realise that people over here did that too! I'm shocked! How can people not know that you need to pour BOILING water ONTO the tea - before you even begin to think about milk and stuff?

I feel the need to educate people about this important matter, so here is a brief tutorial (if you think this is all too much fuss, you're working too hard and need to chill out a bit).

How to make the perfect cup of tea (according to Tim Sellers)

You will need:
a kettle full of fresh water
a teapot
a tea strainer
a teaspoon
mugs (not cups)
semi-skimmed milk
loose leaf Assam tea - preferably Twinings

Put the kettle on. Shortly before it boils, pour a little water into the teapot and swill it round to heat it up before pouring away.
Put one rounded teaspoon of tea per person into the pot and as soon as the kettle boils, add the water. You'll need to add just the right amount though - it's probably best to practice this beforehand.
Give it a good stir, put the lid on and leave it alone for exactly five minutes (this should give you enough time to find something to go with the tea, as detailed below).
Stir the tea again.
Pour a little milk into each mug - just enough to cover the bottom.
Pour the tea through the strainer into the mugs. You'll need to pour a little into each one to start with - if you fill up the first mug before moving onto the next one you'll find that the first one will be too weak and the last too strong (the finished product should be a rich coppery brown colour).
For best results, add a level teaspoon of sugar.
Stir well, sit down, relax and enjoy.

Tea goes well with most sweet and savoury foods, in particular:
Bacon and eggs
Marmite on toast (ordinary white sliced is fine, I prefer granary, make sure you use proper butter)
Cake (any)
Biscuits. For more on the biscuit issue, have a look at this site. I recommend Digestives (ordinary ones if you want to dunk, milk chocolate ones if not) - which absolutely must be McVities.

Posted by Tim at 18:24 [ permalink ]
Categories: Food and drink
Comments [ 0 ]


16/05/07 : Obsessive-compulsive disorder

... or OCD if you prefer acronyms. I thought about writing about this psychiatric disorder and how it affects me following a TV programme about phobias (different thing entirely) and because it's something that most people just don't "get".

There are a number of things that I find myself doing that would just make me appear a little anally-retentive to the casual observer. My CDs are in alphabetical order. If you open my kitchen cupboards you will find all the tins and packets neatly stacked with the labels facing forward (I'd like to point out here that I in no other way resemble the psycho husband from the film Sleeping with the Enemy!)

I often walk past something - an ornament for example - and feel the need to move it slightly so it is at the "correct" angle. I also organise things in groups of four - even my steps as I'm walking along. This sometimes means that I will suddenly have to take an extra long (or short) step to finish a group of four before reaching a kerb. I do this as discretely as possible though - if other people are around I'll make it look like I'm tripping up or something (I'd guess that a lot of people would think that all of this is an attention seeking thing, which it certainly isn't - in fact I've been rather embarrassed on the occasions that I've been "caught out").

Sometimes I might pick up a packet of something in a shop, walk a couple of steps away, then feel the need to return and exchange the packet for another packet of the same product because I'd taken the "wrong" one (usually because I had broken some sort of pattern on the shelf by taking the first one). I even find myself apologising (not out loud thankfully) to the inanimate object for disturbing it ...

The thing that affects me the most is the need to constantly check things. Switches in particular. Before I go to bed I have to go around the house checking that every electrical device is switched off at the plug. I'll stare at the switch for several seconds to make sure it definitely is off. I'll probably have to touch it just to be really sure - usually four times, often sixteen (four groups of four). The fear (I guess) is that if something is left plugged in it will somehow overheat and set the house on fire, although I'm not actually thinking about any such consequence whilst carrying out the checking.

Someone once saw me doing this and told me to get my eyes tested. It's not my eyes that are the problem though - and this is the bit that most people don't get - I am fully aware right from the start that the switch is off. There's just a part of my brain that doesn't quite accept what I can clearly see, forcing me to do more to be completely sure (which I never entirely am).

This may all sound rather extreme, but for the most part I deal with it. I may (for example) check the plugs every night but unless I'm having a bad day it only takes a few minutes. It's frustrating but doesn't run my life. There's no cure though - and I can't see how behavioural type therapies can work because I'm completely aware of the problem and that the things I do are irrational.

[Wikipedia article]

Posted by Tim at 18:20 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 3 ]


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