So there are many perks of blogging I’ve come to realise over the past 18 month (yes I’ve been doing this thing for 18 months!).
Blogging is a great excuse to visit new places.
I can drink tea and eat cake for the purposes of research. (More tea drinking posts coming soon!)
I learn things from other bloggers.
I ‘meet’ new friends.
My fans send me gifts.
Yes you heard that last one correctly. Ok so maybe fan is a strong word. Comrade might be better, one of my blogging comrades.
I’ve known Plot (Sonia) for a few months now, we ‘met’ via a bloggers group and I instantly knew she was one I should stalk (follow). Sonia has even taken part in my Twenty Questions series, so I feel we know each other quite well now!
One quiet Wednesday morning in early February Sonia messaged me with a proposition. If I sent her my address she would send me some traditional Belfast tea (she’s from Northern Ireland you see).
Yes, I will do almost anything for a tea but when asked to send some weirdo you only know through the internet your address you think ‘is this wise?’ But it’s ok, this weirdo is a good one. I mean it in an endearing way! And there was the chance of receiving tea.
This traditional Belfast tea (Thompson’s Punjana, still produced in the same factory today) wasn’t just any Belfast tea. This was the tea that made the Titanic!
Ok so I know tea doesn’t build ships, but people do, and tea builds people, kind of. It builds me anyway. They say 65% of your body is water, well mine is probably tea. Joking aside tea is an important part of everyday life for many. You can’t function in the mornings until you’ve had your first brew, the greatest ideas can come while chilling with a cuppa, we gossip and put the world to rights on tea breaks. A warm cup of tea can be calming, soothing or energising.
Thompson’s Punjana is the brand consumed by the builders of the Titanic, so, this tea built the Titanic.
As is probably clear from the title of this post I don’t know a lot about the Titanic. My knowledge and opinion is based entirely on the Jack/Leo Rose/Kate version with a Celein Dion backing track. How much of this is based on life I couldn’t tell you. What I do know is, there was an iceberg involved, a lot of pushing and shoving, a string quartet, and Titanic sunk.
My thoughts were also probably romanticised due to me being 12 years old and a little bit in love with Leonado Dicaprio after the cinema trip. I could not forgive Kate/Rose for pushing him off that door and into the freezing sea! But there we go, girl power, needs must, and all that.
This was also around the time I was studying Romeo and Juliet at school. So Leo will forever be a romantic tragedy to me!
That’s the end of my Titanic knowledge I’m afraid, but I do have some photographs of the statue and garden of remembrance to show you. Thanks to Sonia for taking them!
If you look closely this very sensitive statue shows people going under the waves!
I am quite the expert/fanatic on tea though.
Thompson’s Punjana tea was also served on the Titanic. So I sit here imagining I am Rose/Kate gazing at Jack/Leo as I prepare for my first Punjana brew!
The strong fragrance hit as soon as the packet was open. The stuff lovely Sonia sent me was in bags, so easy to brew in a mug.
The tea instantly darkens as brewing. I leave for a couple of minutes before removing the bag and adding a dash of milk. It’s a rich brown colour. Has depth.
An aroma rises. A real tea smell. It smells strong. Like this tea means business.
You know how they say you could stand a spoon in it? Well you probably could. I’d describe it as robust.
A ‘Builders Tea’ this could be referred to (without the sugar for me). Well it certainly helped them build the Titanic. It was a design failure after all. Sorry, bit close to the edge? Iceberg? Sorry again.
It’s bold, if a little bitter. I don’t take sugar in my tea but this could need sweetening for some.
I don’t know how to describe it but it has a thickness to it. It’s not thin and wish-washy. Gives the illusion of having a thickness to it, as in flavour rather than texture.
It leaves a smooth aftertaste.
As with many fragrances and tastes tea drinking can evoke memories.
It’s funny how tea can have different tastes in different places. Be it the tea used, the water in the area or the maker. Tea at my Nans always had a distinct flavour. Whether good or bad this can ignite memories or bring comfort.
This brand of tea was one used by Sonia’s Granny.
‘Growing up, I have strong memories of my Grandmother, a very feisty wee woman, who spoke in a strong Lallians (Lowland Scots) dialect. She was very fond of her tea, but it had to be just right, made from tea leaves, preferably from the Punjana Tea Company,. This was definitely the most popular brand of tea back in the day, probably because it was blended to compliment the water here in Northern Ireland.
Granny was fussy, and always turned her nose up at tea bags, in favour of her preferred, loose leaf, ‘proper’ tea. This needed some accompanying kit, firstly a tea caddy, to keep it fresh and a tea strainer to remove the leaves from you cup. Granny’s caddy was made out of oak, and even thirty years after her passing, if you open it, you can still smell the long gone contents. That smell, the blend of wood and tea takes me right back to my childhood, and doing homework in her front room after school.
Granny would pour me a cup of tea using the strainer that I always thought was a doll’s flour sieve. If I had been reasonably good she would read my leaves afterwards too. Looking back at it now, its surprising how often my future seemed to involve ‘eating all my dinner’ or ‘finishing my homework’, Granny was nothing if not pragmatic.’
Granny sounds like my kind of lady!
Thanks again Sonia for the gift of tea. It’s pretty tasty, I can see why your Granny demanded this brand! I’m halfway through the pack already. My Mum rather likes it. I have to keep reminding her this is for my research. I’m the blogger. They’re my perks.
I welcome tea gifts at any time, from anyone!