Peace Garden volunteer Dianne talks about tea

If, when I told you about our circle time in the Peace Garden, you came to the conclusion that the Let’s Get Growing group really like their tea, you would be right!

I myself am partial to English Breakfast tea which I understand is a mix of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan tea, a blend that aims to revitalise. I cannot leave the house in the morning without drinking two cups. Yes, I know it’s a diuretic, to my cost.

However, we do know that various teas have many beneficial effects on the imbiber. You may have heard about the research Ross Menzies was involved in with Newcastle University which found that sage tea has an improving effect on memory. I have been drinking it regularly ever since, having replaced the first sage plant I killed because I forgot to water it!

In the Peace Garden we often try out teas from the herb garden. Last week we had lavender tea and I tried elderflower. I have to admit I am not a fan of flowery teas. I have also tried gunpowder and Lapsang Souchong tea, but find them too strong.

I do enjoy fruit teas and it strikes me that although I like to gather, grow and cook my own food, I rarely make tea. I rely on tea bags. Do you remember when loose tea was the only thing you could buy? There was always the added excitement of the picture cards inside the PG tips packets. I seem to recall my grandparents collecting them for me.

Did you know that tea bags were first made available in the UK in the 1950s? Since then we have seen the introduction of instant tea (yuck), pyramid tea bags, Yorkshire Tea, ‘made with Yorkshire Watta,’ as I am fond of saying.

Green tea has really taken off recently and the tea making and drinking equipment has again become popular as it was in Victorian times, although only the wealthy could afford tea then because it was so heavily taxed.

The humble cup of tea is so significant; our economy seems to rely on abundant tea shoppes and cafes.

My favourite used to be Betty’s in Ilkley, where I was a student. On Saturdays, we would spend what little money we had on tea and anchovy toast- delicious. Now I join ladies who take tea in Corbridge.

Well, as it is summer and we are surrounded by lovely fruits and herbs in the Peace Garden, perhaps I should try making some tea. I am sure it can be done with the help of the internet and a kettle.

You never know, perhaps I will invent a new blend and call it ‘Minsteracres Mash’.

Read Dianne’s earlier blogs: