Our tea-swilling Royals

I seem to be following the Royals on a tea tour of SE Asia.

First we decided to go to a tea house in Singapore for a traditional pot of tea with all the accompanying rituals –

 

only to find that Her Majesty had already enjoyed a cuppa here several years ago.

Our tea waiter told us that HM was very complimentary about the tea, and she took time to outline all the benefits of tea drinking to the staff.  Teaching grandmothers and sucking eggs came to mind, but on the contrary, he seemed highly delighted to have been told what he presumably already knew, by such an august personage.

The ceremony involved a lot of smelling –

at various stages of the process –

and then lots of pouring into tiny cups –

and it was a very zen and relaxing experience.  But we were careful not to get too relaxed

as the rules of the tea house include ‘no lying around’.  I’m sure HM approved of that rule too, or possibly suggested it in the first place.

Then we drove up through the cloud forest to the tea plantations in the highlands in central Malaysia.  It was a strange sensation to see the clouds swirling about you as you looked out at the tea bushes.

And as it’s a chilly 24 degrees Celsius, the locals all make sure to dress appropriately –

in woolly hats

and furry boots.

And to think that the English are outdoors in shorts and t-shirts as soon as the temperature reaches doubles figures – how would Malaysians cope?

There was tea as far as the eye could see

which made us feel thirsty, so we trotted across to the tea shop – only to find that

William and Kate had already been there and given it the royal seal of approval.

So we had to try some ourselves.

It’s strange to be over 6,000 miles from Devon, but have cream teas available everywhere

Even the buildings look as though they could be somewhere in Surrey

But they do have something that hasn’t yet made it as far as England –

So I had to try some … purely in the interests of research.

I have been assured that these strawberries use specially angled mirrors to check their degree of ripeness, and once they reach the correct shade of red, they wrench themselves off the plant and hurl themselves into the nearest punnet.

A fortune awaits the entrepreneur who decides to introduce this variety into Britain – just think of the labour costs that all those Norfolk farmers will save.

 

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