Sunday, April 20, 2008

You know you work on a good boat when…

Rap-rap-rap, there’s a soft knock at my bedroom door and then a voice barely above a whisper sings my name, “Cookie”, rap-rap-rap, “Cookie”. It’s Saturday morning. I’ve had an awful cold all week long. My sinuses are more congested than rush hour traffic on the Hollywood freeway. My eyelids are cemented together by sleep and my throat is dry and irritated from coughing all night. I pull the blankets up over my head and sink deep into an ocean of bed and pillows. All I want is to sleep. “Cookie”, Hobbit peaks his head through the door and sets a cup of hot tea on my bedside table, “you must get up. I’m making crepe!”. Now how can I possibly stay in bed with an offer like that? When the captain is making breakfast for the crew? And brings me a cup of tea? While I’m sick? In bed?!

I stir, sit up, take a sip. Mmmmm. English Breakfast with milk and honey. One of the benefits of working with an international crew is that they know how to make a proper cup of tea. Tea always tastes better when someone makes it for you too. And brings it to you. When you’re sick in bed. The hot tea sooths my throat and even though I’m congested and miserable, I can’t help but smile as I’m reminded yet again that I have the best job on the planet and work with, and for, a truly superb and unique group of people.

A hot shower loosens up the concrete in my eyes and gets me moving. I head downstairs to the kitchen. Hobbit is at the stove swirling crepe batter around a thin, flat pan and with a growing stack of crepes on a plate on the counter next to him. Chicken is chopping a pineapple for fruit salad. Gigi is at the table sorting through pictures of flatware and crockery for the yacht. The table is set with Nutella, fruit spread, sliced banana, butter, grated cheese and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (Hobbit’s favorite). And, of course, a fresh pot of hot tea.

Last weekend, Chicken and I wore silly sunglasses and pimped out the van a bit with some funky beads when we went to the airport to pick up Hobbit after his South Pacific excursion. Hobbit then gave me the task of finding some Christmas lights to hang in the van and a car horn that plays “la coca racha”. Chorley, the engineer (and Gigi’s husband), arrives this afternoon and I had made the suggestion a few days ago that we pick him up incognito – crazy hats and wigs. Gigi has found a costume shop that we’ll be raiding en route to the airport. Over crepes and tea, we all laugh and toss around ideas of practical jokes and pranks to play upon each new crew members arrival, theme party ideas for the yacht, etc. There is a lot of work to be done before the yacht is launched, but at least we can have a good laugh doing it!

Just as we American’s have opinions on which side of the bun the ketchup should go on for a hamburger (everyone knows ketchup goes on the patty, the bun is for the mayonnaise) – so to do the Brits on how to maker a proper cup of tea. So learn and impress your British friends – and sit and enjoy a fine cup of tea…


Tea of your choice
**2 or 3 bags, depending on the size of the teapot or a few spoonfuls of loose tea, as is preferred – but I’m a woman of practicality and appreciate modern conveniences, so tea bags are fine. You’ll need a small strainer if you use loose tea.
Milk, honey or sugar, lemon


1. BOIL the water. This is one most consequential steps in making a proper cup of tea, and the one that is most often done wrong. The water must be boiling. Not simply warmed, and never microwaved, but rather a hard, rolling boil. While the water is coming to the boil, pour warm water into your teapot to warm the pot. Swirl it around and chuck it out.

2. In this order - place your tea into the warmed teapot and pour the boiling water into the pot, never the other way around, as the water must still be boiling when it makes contact with the leaves, for best extraction.

3. The length of time you allow the tea leaves to sit in the water is a matter of personal taste. Too long and the tea can become bitter. Some people say diluting it helps, but once it's gone bitter, I think it's best to make a fresh pot - because even diluted, you can still taste the bitterness. I let my tea steep for1 to 2 minute, although for herbal teas, I let it to steep longer.

4. According to ancient doctrine, and I believe Jesus mentioned it during the Sermon on the Mount, you must never add milk to your tea until the tea has fully steeped and the tea leaves/bag has been removed. So, pour the tea into your cup first and then add your honey, sugar, milk or lemon.

5. Sit comfortably back in your chair. Lift the cup to your nose, smell the aroma of the tea, letting it tickle your senses and warm your hands. Sip.

1 comment:

Dr Harrington said...

Your blog is wonderful reading

Dr Harrington

Blog Directory - Blogged