How much do different kinds of cups of tea cost?

(Grammar note: I think that “How much do different kinds of cup of tea cost?” would be more correct; but it feels wrong, and I am going with what feels right. See also: who vs. whom.)

Last time, I calculated that when I make a cup of tea, it costs 2.34 pence, made up of 0.8p for the teabag, 0.7p for the milk, 0.04p for the water and 0.8p to heat the water. That is using the cheapest regular tea available. But how much do other teas cost to make?

We’ve been drinking Earl Grey for many years, and more recently Lapsang Souchong. Since Christmas, we’ve added Lady Grey to our repertoire, too. We’re buying boxes of Twinings tea-bags for all of these, though no doubt there are more expensive and better options. Let’s look at the prices.

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The Spandau Ballet joke

So Tony Hadley likes to do a bit of gardening these days — he’s getting on a bit, the touring has taken its toll, and he enyoys growing fruit trees. He has a young apple tree that didn’t really take when he planted it last year and it needs some attention, so he goes to the garden centre to get some mulch.

When he gets there he picks up a couple of sacks at a decent price, but when he gets home and opens them up he finds that he’s been sold manure instead. Not what he needed at all.

So back to the garden centre he goes, and complains to the manager. The manager takes a look, crumbles it between his fingers, and says “Nah, I don’t think so mate, it seems right to me”.

And Tony Hadley says, “No, it’s manure, smell it!”

And the manager says “Mate, trust me: this is perfectly good mulch”.

And Tony Hadley says “Ah haha, ha ha. I know this, mulch is, poo.”

How much does a cup of tea cost?

However much I might lament the inexorable downward trend of everything that was once bright and good about my country, I was born an Englisshman and am still one today — which means I drink a lot of tea. (That me be the one aspect of Englishness that survives the current apocalypse.)

I am drinking even more tea than usual at the moment, because I am once more trying to lose weight — to get below that obese threshold, into the merely overweight. Tea fills my belly without loading up the calories.

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 40

If I Never Met You — Mhairi McFarlane

This is is my fourth McFarlane book. (Previously: You Had Me At Hello, It’s Not Me, It’s You, Here’s Looking at You). She continues to impress and delight, although I do have to admit that by this point the plots are slightly starting to blend into each other a bit. Continue reading

Pulled pork

It wasn’t until my 2007 trip to Oklahoma that I realised the food called “barbecue” in the USA bears no relation to the charred-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside sausages that bear that name over here in the UK. My visit to Van’s Pig Stand in Norman, Oklahoma was a revelation to me. I experienced meat like I had never tasted before. I’ve never attempted to replicate the ribs or brisket — one day I will — but pulled pork is astonishingly easy.

So here’s how I do it.

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Three recent meals

On Monday last week, I made pizza from scratch for the whole family: but because it’s hard to separate a mass of dough out into five equal parts, I made enough for six pizzas, and saved the last dough ball for the next day. This is my lunch last Tuesday:

That’s a home-made dough of course, topped with a very simple tomato sauce, mozzarella, thinly sliced chorizo and jalapenos.

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“A little sound common sense often goes further with an audience of American working-men than much high-flown argument”

Let’s see what G. K. Chesterton has to say about Boris Johnson and the rest of our clownish government.

I read yesterday a sentence which should be written in letters of gold and adamant; it is the very motto of the new philosophy of Empire. […] It occurred in an article on the American Presidential Election. This is the sentence, and every one should read it carefully, and roll it on the tongue, till all the honey be tasted.

“A little sound common sense often goes further with an audience of American working-men than much high-flown argument. A speaker who, as he brought forward his points, hammered nails into a board, won hundreds of votes for his side at the last Presidential Election.”

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We’re getting bored of all the corruption

Today I read — a little behind the curve — that Richard Sharp, who the Tory government recently appointed as BBC chairman — has donated £416,189 to the Tory party since the turn of the millennium. Hence, of course, his appointment to this prestigous and influential role.

The thing is, I’m not remotely surprised any more. I can hardly even summon the energy to be outraged. I’ve got so used to the constant parade of flagrantly corrupt appointments that they seem … normal. Continue reading

Hulks (five different ones). Part 5: the MCU

Well, I blinked, and the best part of two years passed since the fourth and penultimate part in my series about The Incredible Hulk. (See also part 1, part 2 and part 3).

For this concluding post I’m finally talking about the MCU proper, in which the Hulk is played by Mark Ruffalo starting with Avengers (2012), as distinct from the 2008 movie The Incredible Hulk which is nominally part of the MCU but tonally and narratively quite different from the rest of it. I’m talking about this guy:

He has brief irrelevant cameos in post-credits scenes in Iron Man 3 and Captain Marvel, which we will ignore, but is a major character in five films: Avengers, Age of Ultron, Ragnarok, Infinity War and Endgame.

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Paint the whole world with a rainbow

Back on 12 December last year, we had a spectacular rainbow out behind the house — so clear it felt you could reach out and touch it. Here’s a photo of it that I took on my phone, completely unedited:

That’s all: just something beautiful for these dark times.