Welcome! Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy browsing some of the photos and stories. As the 'teawife,' it is my duty to watch and listen and be a supportive friend, and a loving mum and wife. I should post more often, but sticking my nose into everyone's business keeps me busy! Kathy the teawife

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Withdrawals

As many of my friends know, I'm often called 'the teawife.' This Irish term has much more depth and meaning that just 'a wife who drinks tea.' It also represents a sisterhood of women who share, care and are concerned for others. That's a polite way of saying that a teawife loves a bit of gossip!

But a teawife does enjoy a good cup of tea with a 'natter' (idle chatter).

Some of you might be surprised that this teawife not only loves and is pretty much addicted to tea, but I also like a strong cappuccino. I realize in my tea circles that this admission is akin to admitting to some horrible crime!

There are certain times of the day that call out for a comforting tea. There is nothing better, when arriving from an international flight and dragging with jet lag, to see the electric kettle and know a cup of tea is minutes away. Or when the stress and chores of the day take their toll, an afternoon can be soothed with a cup of strong and dimensional tea.

Likewise, cappuccino has its occasion, such as when I need a quick jolt in the morning. I also find it a calms my hunger in the afternoons as I continue my weight loss. I almost view a cappuccino as a fine food as opposed to simply a beverage.

If I need a thirst quencher or a comforting-hand-holder, I opt for a tea. If I am hankering for a creamy, indulgent, get-me-going experience, I reach for a cappuccino.

One thing I discovered about coffee when living in Abu Dhabi is that I prefer Arabica beans to Robusta. The Emiratis love their coffee, and they have a partiality for fine Italian Arabica blends. I could buy coffee everywhere, from boutique shops to grocery stores. I eventually settled on Lavazza (www.lavazza.com) as my favorite. One of my friends introduced me to the Italian stovetop espresso percolator, and I was hooked!

I made espressos and cappuccinos with the percolator for a while, until moving to England when another friend introduced me to the Nespresso system, complete with electric milk frother. My life would never be the same. While the percolator took at least five to 10 minutes from start to finish to make a cappuccino, the Nespresso was minutes, as fast as making a cup of tea! I was in heaven! And, the Nespresso Club has a wide range of coffee blends for you to discover if you like rounder, bolder or smoother cups.

I liked the Nespresso system so much that I purchased an identical Essenza espresso maker and electric milk frother for our Colorado home! Dear son will acquire my English system when he moves off to university next year. I can imagine having an espresso maker in one's student room might be a pretty good ice breaker!

This morning I needed an espresso boost, and you can imagine my horror when I went to fill up the water receptacle on the Nespresso, and I dropped the tank on the tile floor! Ooooooops! The plastic water tank is a complete write off, cracked all the way down the side. Was I going to have to purchase a whole new machine? Thankfully, no . . . the folks at Nespresso are so friendly and helpful! It will cost a princely $5 to replace the water tank, and they waived the shipping charge! I'll have the replacement water tank in a couple of days.

After all that hoopla, I needed a soothing cup of tea. Thank goodness the kettle's working!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Shelob Shed


We are back in England after six wonderful weeks in Colorado! I still need to post photos from our trip, and I sure hope to catch up with that soon. The photos on this page were taken a few years back, in January 2009 at our English home, when we had a spectacular hoarfrost. I never realized that there were so many cobwebs on the Wendy playhouse, until the frozen crystals captured the fragile webs.

Friday's end-of-August weather in SE England was nothing like that. In fact, it was sunny and sumptuous and in the seventies. I felt inspired and tackled one of the sheds in the garden. This shed project was delayed from early summer when we were having hot and sunny days, and I had planned to get out the pressure washer and do a proper job. However, we had that blasted garden hose ban as we were in a drought that immediately was followed by more rain than England has seen for 100 years! Hmmmmmm . . . I digress . . .

One thing I've learned from my seven years of living in England is that spiders love the spring and summer climate. English spiders can be incredibly huge, too, like the one that jumped on my head one autumn morning as I was climbing into my car at the gas/petrol station. I didn't realize I had picked up an additional passenger until I was rolling out of the station. There were lots of primordial screams and shrieks as I quickly stopped the car, flung open the door, and shooked the monster off my body. Shudder.

English sheds are always frightening, full of all sorts eight-legged creatures.We have come to nickname the shed that holds our Christmas decorations as 'the Shelob Shed,' named after that horrible spider from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. No one ever wants to go into the shed, as large spiders hang from webs in the ceiling and in every corner, nook and cranny.

The shed is attached to a kennel dog run, which is partially open to the elements, and it seems to be the perfect place to collect leaves, grass clippings, mice, spiders, wood lice, snails, etc. etc. I wonder how many of you are still reading this, or if you've flicked off the page because you're worried about the nightmares you'll have tonight!! This is the shed that dear-son-and-moody-teen and I bravely addressed. After we finished, I think my son had his second shower of the day! Eeeeeuuuuuwww, we never feel like we can completely rid ourselves of the feeling of cobwebs and creepy crawlies!

Under piles of chairs, papers, and boxes, we uncovered a bike that was slowly rusting away in a corner. I decided it was time to give it a new home, and I put a sign on it -- "FREE, please take" -- and rolled it to the front of the house and the edge of our drive. The bike is still in working order; just needed a bit of oil and TLC. Branduff laughed at me, thinking no one would want the bike. Five minutes later, Branduff went to the front of the property to check, and YES, the bike was GONE!

That's a good feeling as we are trying to downsize before moving next year. It almost makes up for the cobwebs and stuff that gets in my hair! Yuck! Almost.