Octeaber: The Old Witch Speaks – The Curious In-tea-dent of the Grandparents in the Summertime

Time for something completely different…

Whilst I – The Notorious B.I Tea Witch – is getting my mugs out for the ladzzz at Mugen Tea House and I’s Assam-i-tea Ville Horror Chari-tea tasting event tonight, I have handed the blog reigns ceremoniously (or dangerously) to the original witch herself. My mother.

She was desperate to get in on the multiple teagasms, t’innuendos and ti-tea-lation, by telling you all about why she hates tea more than she hates me for ruining her life by being born ;).

So Twitchers, give a warm, wild and…wet (?!) welcome to the one, the only Mrs T(ea).

Well hello there dear readers or twitterers or bloggers, (sorry technophobe moment), let me introduce myself. I am the Old Witch, 50% responsible for The Tea Witch herself. I have the pleasure of being Laura’s mom. I am sure she won’t want anyone to know this but I DON’T DRINK TEA! Hate the stuff, won’t entertain it, I only have the odd tea bag (yes I know I’ve just uttered a profanity) in the cupboard to appease those guests that do. Even then it’s only a well known supermarket’s own brand of Yorkshire tea. When Laura – sorry The Tea Witch – visits, she brings her own, along with instrumentation…it’s akin to a crack apothecary. She wonders why I have such an aversion to her favourite potion and it got me wondering too…

Will the real Tea Witch please stand up
Will the real Tea Witch please stand up


It’s Summer 1970, a plump six year old girl and her younger sister are spending the afternoon with their grandparents in a Black Country suburb called Smethwick (or Smerrick to use the colloquial term). It’s a very hot afternoon – yes we did have hot summers in the seventies not like nowadays (oh boy! I’m turning into my mother). The two girls have been playing hopscotch on the paving slabs in the garden and grandad calls them in as they are looking rather red.

Both being ginger, it didn’t take too long to look like the wrong end of a baboon on heat. Bless him, grandad had just the thing to cool them down- a nice cup of tea. What is THAT about? Since when does drinking a scolding liquid hotter than David Cameron in a pig farm cool anyone down? Old wives and their tales eh?


Now, in their day my grandparents made a lot of the ‘tea thing’. The whole dinning table would be set up, tablecloth, doilies, cake stands, sandwiches with the crusts cut off, little jug of milk, sugar cubes etc, etc…It did look very inviting, even to a six year old who had just thrown her hopscotch stone to number 8 and was mid hop, flares flapping, when rudely interrupted. The lure of cake was too much though (did I mention the plump thing?). Nan did the honours. We all sat round the table and she poured the tea lovingly, milk in first of course, strainer,(which had seen better days), loose leaf tea steeped in a china teapot and poured at just the right height that makes the sound that makes you want a wee.

Sorry, I have no idea what brand of tea it was, where it came from (although it was probably the Co-op down the road) or whether it was black, green or blue with pink spots. It was just tea.


I took a big swig! The taste was not “teagasm” worthy, nor did it have a “smokiness”about it, it wasn’t reminiscent of “woodland cherries”. It was – how shall I put this – BLOODY AWFUL!

To be fair the problem didn’t lie with the tea itself, or the amount of stewing it had endured. No, the problem lay with the rancid milk that had sat in the pretty little jug on the table for hours in the heat. The taste was more cheddar than chai, more fromage than Formosa. The six year old me could not hold it in. I spat it out all over the frilly tablecloth, gagging for all I was worth as if I had genuinely been teabagged, whilst simultaneously scraping my tongue to remove the bitter bits of leaf ( I told you the strainer had seen better days) and lunging for the sugar cubes. Grandad was not amused. He was about to launch into a rage when he saw lumps of feta floating in his cup. At least I had saved him from the same fate, even if the cake stand had been collateral damage.

Lemon & Gingers for Justice
Lemon & Gingers for Justice


After all that wondering about why I don’t like tea, l think I’ve cracked it. Early exposure to poorly rated, improperly steeped, substandardly strained leaf with a hint of vomit inducing, curdled, sterilised milk, served on a hot day, when all you really wanted was a glass of bloody pop! Yep that would do it. Oh, plus the fact that your other nan did a really good coffee made with warm pasteurised milk and chocolate sprinkles on the top. (Pre STARBUCKS I’ll have you know).


The Tea Witch’s challenge is to reprogram the six year old in me and to entice my taste buds to accept any drink that purports to be tea. I must add the adult, forever on a diet, me has tried so called fruit teas (the smell of a Rowntrees Jelly and the taste of an old sock) and I have even been known to stomach a tea bag tea but only usually to be polite (new boss, bank manager, or prospective mother in law). But as a drink of choice? Uh uh, no ta, not me. Good luck Twitchy!

To be continued.

Remember why we are doing this…

Continue to show your support by donating online at the justgiving page, attending some of the mugen tea house fundraising tea tasting Evenings, and get involved with the twitter hype!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the next instalment of my daily Octeaber blog challenge


2 thoughts on “Octeaber: The Old Witch Speaks – The Curious In-tea-dent of the Grandparents in the Summertime

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