Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was boiling a kettle when a blossom from the Camellia sinensis tree fell into the water and in the year 2737 BC, the first cup of tea was created by accident. The popularity of this tasty drink spread throughout Asia and traders soon introduced tea to ports worldwide. In China and Japan tea drinking came to represent the values of refinement, spirituality, humility, restraint and simplicity. Preparing, serving and drinking it grew into a complicated and leisurely ritual. Buddhist monks built special teahouses surrounded by lush, green gardens especially for the celebration of tea. An early Chinese scholar described teatime as "An adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday life." The custom continues throughout the East to this day.
At home during these uncertain times with few diversions and no outside activities, I like having something special to look forward to each day. My Irish ancestors knew how to mark the end of a work day and celebrate the start of a leisurely evening by sitting down to a hot cup of tea. While housebound I've adopted the habit. Curled in my easy chair dressed more for comfort than beauty, I'm eons away from embodying very lofty values, but by turning off the TV and scarfing down fewer cookies I could elevate my pastime and focus more on the tea, perhaps trying different varieties. Moving it into the garden sounds really nice, too, so perhaps I'll have teatime outside when warmer weather finally comes.
bobbin-olive books are the perfect place to write about the simple things that give you pleasure. For me, the coming of nice weather, filling some big pots with tender starts and maybe even swapping out hot tea for iced. Who knows? I'm still puzzling over how and why afternoon teatime came into my life.