Tea and empathy


It's not often that we come across a new product in the supermarket that deserves a rave review, but Madame Flavour's teabags are one such product. Making a cuppa with one her delicate little teabags (or should I say "sensual infusion pods") that come in gorgeous flavours and attractive packaging is a much nicer experience than fishing out a cut price teabag floating in a chipped mug. In fact, Madame Flavour's pods are so fragrant and tasty you will want to reserve your best china to put them in. Mine is a pretty blue and cream set I inherited from my Aunty Kit, who was something of a celebrity in her day for being both chief interpreter at the Nuremburg Trials and a woman. Yes, the Madame's sensual infusion pods are more expensive than your common or garden teabag but they are worth it as each little recession-buster can be reused over and over. I am also impressed by the Australian Madame's correct spelling of "flavour". It's the proofreader in me. 

Mention of the Nuremburg Trials reminds me of Markus Zusak's wonderful novel, The Book Thief. It's set in Nazi Gernmany and tells the story of a beguiling German girl called Liesel Meminger, her foster family and her friends caught up in the horrors of the Second World War. The compelling narrative is delivered by that ubiquitous character, Death. Death, it turns out, is an amusing and empathetic story-teller. It kills him sometimes how people die. He is attracted to Liesel because the girl manages to cheat him a number of times, which pleases him. Contrary to popular belief, Death is not vindictive. In fact, Death would be more than happy to be made redundant. Like many great new novels, The Book Thief has been made into a movie and is due out next year. If it's half as good as the book, it'll be brilliant. 

Speaking of tea and death, my dear darling Mum passed away just three months ago. When I visited her I would often comment on (i.e.criticise) the enormous number of cups and saucers that woman possessed. According to Mum everyone should have a huge supply of drinking vessels because you never know when some one you know will die, and when it happens you need to be able to provide mourners with a constant supply of beverages, hot and cold. The same goes for vases vis a vis flowers. Mum was so right. We made more cups of tea in that terribly sad week following her death than the Irish Parliament would consume in a year.  Following her advice, I have since given up my minimalist ways and now have enough wine glasses, teacups and vases to fill Olveston.