I remember – when we lived in a house with a backyard that had a lawn worthy of mowing – my dad standing outside on a hot day claiming to be suffering from ‘Gardening Dementia.’ This was the delusion that he had heard his wife calling to him from the kitchen, asking if he would like a cup of tea. My mum would – naturally – hasten to produce the required beverage and consequently alleviate said dementia.
(Yes, the traditional gendered division of labour was alive and well in our house!)
I remember being mind-boggled at the prospect that my parents could bear to drink hot tea on a hot day. They persisted in claiming that it was the most refreshing thing! I didn’t believe them; for me, only cold drinks in hot weather would do.
However, lately in the blistering heat of Canberra summer, I have begun to see the wisdom of my parents’ ways (funny how that happens as you get older). I have noticed that when I get home from work, I crave hot tea. Not just any hot tea – nothing delicate to be drunk out of a thin-lipped cup, nothing light and fanciful – only good strong black tea with a fair dash of milk, in a substantial mug, just like my dad would drink on those days, will satisfy the need.
And it can’t be drunk delicately either. No, this kind of tea has to be swallowed, if not gulped – fortunately, the milk means that it’s not a scalding proposition to do so – but never sipped.
I know what I’ll be drinking when I get home today.