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One version of a growing number of Earl Grey Teas (ETS image)

One version of a growing number of Earl Grey Teas, preferred by Star Ship Captains throughout the known galaxies! (ETS image)

Once upon a time I wrote an article in which I tried to determine how many people in the world drink tea on a given day. I arrived at the tentative conclusion that the number was just over two billion. But I’m no statistician so that’s a very tentative figure. It might be interesting to come up with an estimate of how many people have ever consumed tea, but that’s a task that might be too much for my modest abilities.

In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to look at a few well-known historical figures who drank tea. In my first article on the topic I looked at a number of U.S. presidents who were known to drink tea and the late Russian leader, Vladimir Lenin, as well as some leaders you’d assume were tea drinkers but actually were not.

Samuel Johnson
One of the great cheerleaders for tea who deserves a mention, as well as a rather avid tea drinker, was the great English writer Samuel Johnson. Who drank tea to a point that some might consider excessive. I’d say more but I already have so I’ll just point you to that article.

Henry James
While the historical record shows that novelist Henry James was a fan of tea, it’s more interesting to note how many times he mentioned it in his writings. Such as this oft-repeated snippet from The Portrait of a Lady, “Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Tea turns up so often in James’ works that it inspired at least one in-depth research paper – Tea and Henry James’s ‘Scenic Method’ in The Awkward Age and The Spoils of Poynton.

Jean Luc Picard
Okay, so he’s a fictional character, specifically the captain of the starship Enterprise on TV’s second incarnation of Star Trek. But Captain Picard’s renowned request for “Earl Grey, hot” has become a well-known cultural catchphrase that’s done its part to raise awareness of tea.

Boris Karloff
Here’s one that combines a great fictional figure (Frankenstein’s monster) with a great historical figure, the actor who became famous for his portrayal of said monster. Look here for a number of shots of Karloff drinking tea, both in and out of that famous makeup.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Welcome in my tea pantry anytime! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Welcome in my tea pantry anytime! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Many say that variety is the spice of life, but I say that variety is the tea party of life. And teas seems to be getting more varied, as well. Talk of tea parties, and not always the kind at which tea is served, is rather common these days. Not surprising. Tea parties are social but, since the days of the Boston Tea Party, have also been a bit political. And now they are becoming a proving ground for the various types of teas being produced. So, I guess variety is also the spice of the tea party.

When I say “Assam” do you automatically think “black, lower quality tea”? And if I say “Darjeeling,” do you think of that blend of nondescript stuff that tastes sort of like Muscat grapes with a bit of a tangy aftertaste? What springs to mind when you hear “green tea from China”? Or if I say “oolong,” do you have a set taste associated with it? Time to shake things up. These and other tea producing areas and types are becoming more varied. The state of Assam in India is a prime example. They are now producers of all kinds of teas of much higher quality.

Tea producers are more focused away from straight black teas and going with white, green, and oolong style teas. It’s a trend that has been growing over the last five years or more. One thing motivating this is the goal to raise the bar on quality, and hopefully raise up market prices (usually at tea auctions where many vendors buy the teas in bulk) and therefore the salaries of the people harvesting and processing these teas. But all this effort means nothing if you, the tea loving public, don’t know about it or appreciate the teas being created. Even if you do, though, it may not deter you from continuing to imbibe your current favorites. I enjoy a lot of these special teas but still go for that strong pot of black tea as my go-to cuppa. Brands like PG Tips and Typhoo still have a place in my tea pantry. You might say that my tea party has variety.

How to add that variety to the tea party of your life:

With tea around your life will certainly be a party!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea drinkers often fall into one of two categories: those with iron-clad tea habits and those without. These tea habits may involve drinking only specific types of tea at specific times, using specific tea wares with specific teas, or always steeping certain teas in certain ways. I certainly have some tea habits; however, they are far from iron-clad as my tea habits often shift depending on what my schedule is during a given period or on what I am doing.

Which tea are you in the habit of drinking? (ETS image)

Which tea are you in the habit of drinking? (ETS image)

One of the things that tends to shift the most is the amount of tea that I drink—whether this is the overall amount or the amount of certain types of tea. If you are anything like me, you may go through periods when your tea consumption goes up or down, sometimes incrementally, sometimes more so. It could depend upon things like increased workload, more free time, or simply having more tea in the house.

Recently, I noticed that my black tea consumption went up considerably. This was in part due to a lack of access to the other teas that I normally drink (rather tragically, I ran out of both my Japanese green tea and my oolong around the same time), and in part due to an increased need for afternoon pick-me-ups (the result of a heavy workload and not quite enough sleep). For the most part, this was not really a problem— indeed, many people would consider getting to drink more tea an excellent thing— and I certainly do not have any complaints tastewise. However, in this particular instance, I found myself becoming less sensitive to the caffeine in the tea. The effect was twofold: firstly, I felt the need to drink even more tea (again, not such a terrible thing for my taste buds), and secondly, I found myself defaulting to black tea over green or oolong, even when I once again had access to those teas.

Although it is tempting to put that behavior down to a dependency on caffeine, the issue of caffeine levels in tea is not as straightforward as it is often claimed to be (take a look at this article for an insight into the complications surrounding the issue), and my defaulting to black tea was really just a taste habit. I had got into the habit of drinking a lot of black tea, and this is what my body expected when I thought of having a cup of tea. Luckily, it didn’t take too long to remind myself why I also drink a lot of green and oolong tea— just a cup or two and my taste buds were back on board. Nevertheless, it did take a few days to stop myself automatically reaching for my tin of black tea when I felt the urge to brew up a cuppa—to kick the black tea habit, if you will. And whilst having a black tea habit falls pretty low on the cause-for-concern scale, it did leave me with one thought: tea habits, like any habits, can be hard things to break.

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea is the essence of coziness. Cozy isn’t difficult. Tea isn’t difficult. But there are still folks who need some assistance in achieving the state of existence where both are appropriately combined. To that end, I present you with five ways to get cozy with tea.

Golden tea by candlelight by Bannacha on Facebook

Golden tea by candlelight by Bannacha on Facebook

1 The Right Tea

Believe it or not, different teas have different feels in your mouth when you sip them. Some describe it as “buttery,” “creamy,” or “full.” It can also be described as “cozy.” A number of oolong teas have this (let them slightly cool before sipping to get the full effect). Teas from the Dancong area of China, especially those from the Phoenix Mountains, have this quality. Nilgiri black teas are said to have this type of feel to them, also, as long as you remember to steep them lightly to avoid any bitterness. If you like your tea with milk (aka “British style”), then you can’t go wrong with a nice Assam black tea. Just be sure that the tea you choose will warm you all the way through – the essence of coziness.

2 Glass Teawares

Part of the enjoyment of tea is the color of the liquid. It can vary from almost clear to almost as dark as a cup of coffee. Glass teawares like the sipping cup shown above that I saw posted on Facebook can give you a lovely view of that color. Glass teapots can show you those leaves in their “agony” (or as I like to call it, “their dance of joy”) as they spin and twirl and soak up the water around them. Some teas, especially oolongs, can enlarge to many times their dry size.

Nothing like a candle glow to convey coziness. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Nothing like a candle glow to convey coziness. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

3 Candlelight’s Glow

I love candlelight, as I’ve mentioned in a number of previous articles on this blog. The softness, the flickering, the warm yellowish tint – they all create a cozy atmosphere. Colors seem softer, a bit muted, and less brash. Corners of the room in their darkness are mysterious yet enveloping like a warm wool blanket. A cozy atmosphere for tea! (Of course, fireplaces are good for this, too, but not everyone has one.)

4 Comfortable Seating

We can highly recommend a reclining loveseat for the ultimate in cozy and comfortable seating for two. Even if you are having tea all by yourself, the extra space will be great to fill with additional pillows, a warm throw or two, and maybe a stuffed bear. If you don’t have such a loveseat, no problem. Overstuffed armchairs are good, too. Even one of those huge sectional sofas that can seat a throng of relatives during the holidays (or your friends for watching that big football game) can be comfortable and cozy on a chilly evening when it’s just you, the cat, and a good book with that cup of tea.

5 A Peaceful Setting

Plump pillows, a good book, a box of tissues in case the book is a tear-jerker, a cookie, and a good cuppa tea help achieve coziness. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Plump pillows, a good book, a box of tissues in case the book is a tear-jerker, a cookie, and a good cuppa tea help achieve coziness. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

You have the perfect cuppa tea. You selected the perfect book. The candles are lit and casting their magical light. You’re seated comfortably with plenty of pillows and that warm throw tucked around your legs. Time for the final ingredient: mood setting music playing softly and creating that peaceful setting so important to enjoying it all.

May you have many cozy tea times ahead!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I have to admit that I was only vaguely aware of the Seychelles until recently and really only due to its reputation as a vacation destination. For those who also might not be that familiar with it, the Seychelles is a nation off the east coast of Africa that is made up of more than 100 islands. It’s a balmy place with photogenic beaches and, as a matter of fact, tourism is indeed the primary industry there.

The Seychelles are not really the first place you’d think of when you think of tea production, but then again you could say the same thing about the United States or England, two other unlikely places where tea is grown in relatively small quantities. Tea is indeed such a minor part of the economy there that it doesn’t even merit a mention in the country’s Wikipedia entry.

It’s actually not all that improbable that the Seychelles grow tea, given that Africa as a whole is one of the world’s top tea producing regions. Additionally, one Africa’s top tea growing countries – Kenya – is located directly to the west of the Seychelles.

While the population of the Seychelles is relatively small and tea production there is quite modest, it’s interesting to pause for a moment and note that its citizens can hold their own when it comes to tea consumption. On a per capita basis, they rank sixth among the world’s top tea drinkers, just after the United Kingdom, which is no small feat. Per capita tea consumption there averages just over four and a half pounds, which is about a pound less than they drink in the United Kingdom.

As for tea production, here’s a page from the government’s official tourism site about a tea factory located in Sans Souci, Mahé. As the description notes, “Established in 1962, this unit is responsible for growing and manufacturing tea in the Seychelles.” For more specifics, take a look at this article from the local press, which focuses on the Seychelles Trading Company and its SeyTe brand of tea, which is a mix of the locally grown product and imports from Sri Lanka. According to the article, tea growing in the Seychelles began relatively recently, in 1960.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The banana is every slapstick comic’s friend, a delight for the chimpanzee set, the foundation of a favorite Summertime treat, an ingredient in numerous delectable desserts, and chock full of nutritious stuff like fiber and potassium – yum! It’s also part of the cliché “going bananas” – a phrase that indicates you’re…uh, well…anyway, you may find yourself going “bananas” at tea time without even realizing it. Here are some signs:

One of the top 10 banana jokes. (screen capture from site)

One of the top 10 banana jokes. (screen capture from site)

1 Vocabulary Morphage

Besides the phrase “going bananas,” some of these might end up finding their way into your tea time conversation:

  • Banana republic (a small, poor country with a weak or dishonest government) – as in “This tea time is looking like a banana republic.” (bad tea and treats being served)
  • Banana skin (British – something which causes, or is very likely to cause, embarrassing problems) – as in “If I drink another cuppa tea, I’ll being steeping on a banana skin.”
  • “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” (the last line of an infamous knock-knock joke)
  • Yes we have no bananas (a line from a vaudeville song – try to resist bursting out singing the whole thing)
  • I didn’t come down the Clyde in a banana boat (Old Glasgow expression!)
  • Make like a banana and split – said to tea time guests who have overstayed their welcome or stepped on that banana skin.
  • Top banana (the main comic in a burlesque show)
  • He/she bruises like a banana (easily offended)
  • Bananas have a peel (which is why everyone likes them so much)

You also find yourself telling very bad banana jokes, like the one shown above. Just don’t overdo it!

A bit of Ti Kuan Yin to go with those banana goodies. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.)

A bit of Ti Kuan Yin to go with those banana goodies. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved.)

2 Tea Preference Changes

You can have several teas that go well with items containing bananas:

  • Ceylon Tea – A classic Ceylon tea with a light colored liquid and hints of delicate floral notes. Infuse the leaves in water heated to boiling for 2-5 minutes.
  • Ti Kuan Yin – A distinctive light cup with hints of orchid in the flavor. This is a semi-oxidized tea and so has a little bit more body than a green tea but less than a black tea for a unique flavor twist. Infuse in water that has been brought to a light boil (165-190° F) for 1-3 minutes.
  • Pouchong – Fresh and lively with a light astringent finish. One of the world’s most exceptional teas, with fragrances of flowers and melon, and a rich, yet mild cup. Infuse in water that has been brought to a light boil (165-190° F) for 1-3 minutes.

You can also make various tea smoothies, such as this Green Tea Banana Smoothies (recipe here).

3 Decoration Alteration

Need I say “yellow” here? As in tablecloths, napkins, candles, and so on. They are an indication that you are on your way to going “bananas”, but if you decide to paint the interior of your house yellow and hang yellow drapes on the windows, you are already there.

Banana cream pie with caramel (screen capture from site)

Banana cream pie with caramel (screen capture from site)

4 Banana Tea Time Recipes Dominate

You just gotta have something tasty to serve friends and family at tea time. If you see your usual scones or muffins or cookies being replaced with and of these, you are well on your way to going “bananas” at tea time:

  • Banana Chai Bread – recipe here.
  • Bitter Chocolate, Lavender, and Banana Tea Loaf – recipe here.
  • Banana cream pie – recipe here.
  • Banana pudding (my mom used to add those Nilla Wafers to it).
Deluxe Adult Banana Costume (screen capture from site)

Deluxe Adult Banana Costume (screen capture from site)

5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments

Bright yellow clothing would certainly be expected here. Or even dressing up like a vaudeville comic or a clown might be appropriate. Just don’t forget your rubber banana. And let’s hope no one shows up for tea wearing a banana suit. But if they do, be polite and only snicker behind his/her back, for it means your tea time has truly gone “bananas”!

So, how did you do? Have you gone totally “bananas” yet? If so, just give in and enjoy it!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Awhile back I wrote about comfort foods and teas to go with them (see the article here). Some comfort foods are just right for your Autumn tea party. Time to focus on those.

A strong cuppa Assam, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and a small lit candle make that pumpkin pie even more comforting. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A strong cuppa Assam, a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and a small lit candle make that pumpkin pie even more comforting. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Top of the list: Pumpkin Pie – oh yeah! You can buy one at the grocery or the local bakery, bake your own using a premade crust and canned pumpkin, or go all out with a handmade crust and your own filling made from a pie pumpkin (they tend to be about 8-10 inches in diameter). Teas to have with it: Ceylon black or green, Dragonwell (aka Longjing or Lungching), and Darjeeling.

Bread stuffing – no need for a bird! The best stuffing (as far as I’m concerned) is the kind that has been cooked inside that roasted turkey, but I’ll settle for the kind that is just baked or even the instant stovetop kind! Teas to have with it: Ceylon, Yunnan, Darjeeling, and Oolong (any).

Corn bread, corn pone, corn fritters – whatever form you choose, these corny foods are comforting, tasty, and great with tea. A touch of butter or (surprise!) clotted cream give them an even more comforting appeal. Teas to have with it: Assam, Ceylon, Yunnan, and Kenyan.

Coffee cake – but have it with tea! These baked delights are usually moister than regular cakes and flavored with cinnamon, brown sugar, and other sweet flavorings. They are unhappily misnamed since they go equally well with tea. And the combination can be even more comforting. Teas to have with it: same as for corn bread.

Scrambled eggs – easy, tasty, very comforting, and great with tea! Along with tea, I have noticed more and more the mention of scrambled eggs in movies (even ones from the 1930s and 1940s) as a quick and comforting food to have during time of trouble. Of course, you can also have them during times of calm – which is even better. Teas to have with it: Assam, Ceylon, Keemun, Darjeeling, Kenyan, and Oolong (any).

Baked squash – cousin to the pumpkin. We tend to like Acorn Squash, baked, with butter and garlic. But you can prepare it other ways and sweeten with honey or brown sugar. It all depends on if you want something more savory or dessert-like. Teas to have with it: same as for pumpkin pie.

Don’t forget a little candle to set the mood! Daylight hours are shorter and temperatures are cooler, so that little flame will add a bit of light and warmth.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Café by day. Bar by night. Fun things to do.”

This is how Drink, Shop & Do describes itself, and this London tea spot certainly does offer a wide variety of entertainment. As well as serving food and drink, it hosts a range of events from dancing, to poetry readings, to arts and crafts activities, to live DJ sessions. But it was their food and drink that was my focus on a recent visit—or, to be specific, their tea.

Interior of Drink, Shop & Do - party time! (photo from their web site)

Interior of Drink, Shop & Do – party time! (photo from their web site)

Drink, Shop & Do has a lovely selection of loose teas, which are ordered by the pot. In addition to the unflavoured black teas, several flavoured black teas sit alongside a range of rooibos infusions, a white tea, and a standard (but still tasty) Japanese green tea (they did not specify which one, but my guess is a sencha). I was there with a few friends and since we ordered different teas I was able to sample more than just one of Drink, Shop & Do’s offerings.

I ordered the green tea (the suspected sencha), and it was no more nor less than what I would expect: the slightly sweet, grassy taste of green tea came through clearly, and the presence of an infuser allowed me to steep it to my preferred strength. One tea companion ordered the chai — not a traditional Indian masala chai, but a black tea flavoured with various spices. It was very aromatic, and flavourful to boot; the spices were deliciously strong. However, if you are not partial to strongly spiced teas, this chai may not be one that you would enjoy. The third tea drinker in our party ordered a classic: Earl Grey. This Early Grey blend had a decently strong black base, which meant that, although it was still aromatic, for me this would be a morning brew rather than a light afternoon tea. But since I find it hard to go wrong with an Earl Grey, this tea certainly got my approval.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about Drink, Shop & Do is its décor. The furniture is charmingly mismatched, and the colourful interior gives the café a fun vibe. The mismatched theme continues in their teawares, and it is always a lovely surprise to see what style of teacup and teapot your tea will arrive in. And, significantly for this tea drinker, most of their teapots are very generously sized. One of our party actually found himself unable to finish his pot—not a common occurrence, I can assure you! But fear not, the unwanted tea did not stay unwanted for long.

All in all, Drink, Shop & Do is a lovely place to stop off for a (large) pot of tea. And, if you are up for something a little more extravagant, or if you fancy a bite to eat, they also do a traditional Afternoon Tea, along with several variations on the theme (such as “Boozy Afternoon Tea” and “Man’s Afternoon Tea”)…

Tempting. Perhaps I’ll sample some of those on my next visit.

Can’t get to London? Shop for the same tasty teas here.

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is the United States a nation of tea drinkers? Most people who know anything about the topic would probably say that we are not. While we drink quite a bit of iced tea, at least relative to the hot kind, our overall consumption doesn’t rank us among the world’s great tea-drinking nations. In fact, our twelve ounces a year only places us near the bottom end of the top seventy of tea-drinking nations, in a tie with those voracious tea drinkers in Somalia.

But that’s all changing – if we’re to believe a recent article in none other than the Washington Post, titled “America is Slowly—But Surely—Becoming a Nation of Tea Drinkers.” Their claim is that “There’s a quiet, and lightly caffeinated, trend brewing in America.” Which I won’t quibble with. As we’ve noted many times in these very pages, tea has been on the upswing here in the United States in past decades.

The post quantifies this by noting that in just over two decades there’s been a five-fold increase to $10 billion dollars annually, according to numbers provided by the US Tea Association. If that’s not enough to convince you then consider the USDA’s estimate that tea imports to the US have jumped by more than 700 percent in the last 50 years.

The article goes on to note that we like iced tea best and prefer black over any other type but also notes that green tea drinking is on the rise. Oh, and coffee consumption has largely remained stagnant for about the last 40 years. Nor will I quibble with any of this.

But while I can’t really argue with any of the above I’d stop short of saying that we’ve become or are becoming a nation of tea drinkers, as much as I’d like that. The article claims that “Tea has infiltrated most Americans’ everyday routine,” but I’d venture to say that for many of the people I know – with a rare exception now and then – tea still is a subject that barely comes up on their radar. Which is anecdotal evidence at best but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It’s amazing the memories that a cuppa tea can evoke. This time it was when I got caught playing a computer game at the office. I must have turned 10 shades of red. But it’s not all you would think it is. I’d better start at the beginning.

Caught in the act! Hey, it helps me be creative! (Screen capture from PC)

Caught in the act! Hey, it helps me be creative! (Screen capture from PC)

Once upon a time, I was able to find gainful employment writing very boring yet clearly understandable translations to normal English of computer geek jargonese. It was sort of like going from some obscure language from some remote corner of the world to a more commonly known language (English, Spanish, Mandarin, etc.). Often, these positions would be on a contract basis, that is, I’d sweep in, bestow my “genius” on them, and then sweep back out. Sort of like some tidal wave washing in a bunch of flotsam and then taking off and leaving it littering the beach. Ha! Actually, my efforts were more useful than that for the most part. I hope.

These days many companies have their computers set to block game playing on them. The amount of productive time wasted by employees on playing games, cruising the internet, and even online shopping is a big expense to companies and government agencies alike, so I guess it’s not surprising that such things get blocked by their Information Technology (IT) departments. Clever folks can figure ways to get around the blocks, though, and I did just that. Why? Because in my case playing a bit of Solitaire or Minesweeper helped me sort out issues and get a clearer perspective. Honest!

So one day I’m in my Dilbert-like cubicle and running a good game of solitaire while the latest issue of how to lay out the upgrade plan for the Marketing Department was working its way through my brain when along came the manager of the IT section I was assigned to and her second in command. (As they would say on Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway and Number One had arrived.) Blushing ten shades of red, I quickly minimized the game and hoped they hadn’t seen. A quick slurp of tea from the cup at my side helped restore my equilibrium a bit.

How to explain my process to them? I didn’t bother. Most people don’t understand how the creative mind often works. We need stimuli and time to arrange and rearrange them mentally. Games can give us that rearrangement time we need. Whether writing articles like this one, creating jewelry designs,  painting still lifes, or writing poems, the creator needs that mental space that a game can provide for excelling at that creative endeavor. Of course, taking a break and steeping some tea works, too! Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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