Tag Archives: Jenier teas

reading autumn in welcome

I’ve just dashed back home from a fab reading engagement at Counihan Gallery – I got to read two stories out to children and their grown-ups from Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2. It was Melbourne-proper – looked like there was an actual storm, the driving conditions were not favourable (very, very cartoon dust-cloud windy!)  and can only imagine how horrid it would be for those without personal transport.

As I bustled back into the warmth of the house, I made myself a massive mug of Earl Grey tea (using my Red Hill beer stein!), then decided it’d be a good time to finally read colleague and poet Anne M Carson’s Writing on the Wall – it’s technically a book (has an ISBN) but I’m treating it as a zine because it’s not listed on Goodreads. This chapbook-sized collection discusses an issue that we might not think applies to us, in our first world comfort – that of slavery.

Anne’s poems are set in an ancient Graeco-Roman time, and begin with a description of a wall that has existed for nearly three thousand years. Before the suite of poems formally begins, there is an essay by Professor Jennifer Burn on the nature of slavery and its more contemporary manifestations. It’s shocking that it has any at all. How do we reconcile our own lives of privilege amidst the existence of such dehumanising practices? Which still exist today.

This is where things like tea, for me, become a blessing and meditation. An everyday act, occurrence, but one not to be taken for granted. Yes, I am an atheist, but there is something about drinking a hot beverage when cold to the bone that seems a blessing, heavenly. It isn’t that I want to avoid thinking about the horrors of humanity, but that simple, everyday pleasures can help to give you a window into and out of them. We can only do our best with the tools we’re given at any given time, and slavery seems worlds away from me, though emotional abuse and trauma is not – that personal pain is always at the back of my mind. I’ve only really felt comfortable acknowledging that as it has stopped affecting my day-to-day life, in the last year or so.

I fear I may have polluted this tea blend by brewing it as strongly as I could and then adding the slightest dash of milk – as soon as I opened the pouch of pyramid tea bags, the scent of fresh ginger and lemon hard sweets wafted up! It tastes like that in tea form too – the black tea used is very, very subtle despite my efforts to brew it super-strong. This is the second of the Jenier teas I’ve tried as received through my Bookishly subscription, and I think I’ll end up ordering more teas from them, hehehe.

Anne’s poetry is a lyrical, narrational style which is both approachable to read, and yet so deceptive in its simplicity of statement and conciseness. Here’s a couplet from ‘4. The Son Becomes a Man’:

I am to be freed? It hardly seems possible. My master, / he has never more deserved the title than now, in its relinquishing.

Or Aristotle’s unfortunate influence in ‘2. The Will is Read’:

…challenging Aristotle’s claim that slaves / are living tools, property, used at will. Stalwart against wrath, / they urged freedom for slaves… / Greeks could learn from us. / But Aristotle argued louder, his word had the crowd.

We also need to ensure that once people escape abusive states of being, that there is support to ease them into what their lives should have consisted of. This too is hinted at in ‘6. Emerging’:

Walking unravels knots; / limbs, spine, thoughts begin to loosen from confinement.

(…) Doubt slithers — / how will I account for myself in the world?

Very sobering, yet elegant reading. You can learn more and also help by visiting Anti-Slavery’s (Australia) website.

why be happy when you could just practise

A few weeks ago, I spent money I should be saving on book-and-tea subscription thing called Bookishly for three months. So far two of the packages have arrived (from England!) with everything sealed within a millimetre of its not-customs-breaking life with unusual older book imprints.

I’ve been saving the two teas for something special, and after an admittedly rough week (by which I mean, I’m glad my antidepressants are working because if they didn’t, I’d probably be crying everyday, but now am too numb and stressed to have the time to).

Just managed to sneak in a tea-and-zine review post…I feel like I should be more prepared for weekly blogging but it’s harder to make time for doing it when not feeling chirpy so a lot of the posts this year have been written when feeling pretty deflated, but isn’t this part of the problem with ‘high-functioning’ when you have a chronic mood disorder? Functioning highly in what? At sadness? Anxiety cooking bolognaise sauce from scratch, mid-week?*** This week’s tea and zine of choice…read below: http://eatdrinkstagger.com/why-be-happy-when-you-could-just-practise/ (short review: both were excellent) ***I anxiety cook and clean a lot! if you’re going to make bolognaise sauce from scratch, use a bottle of good red and simmer for eons.

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I still can’t find my most recent passport (it’s not lost, it’s just packed away out of my reach at the moment), which means I can’t get a full police check, and hair started growing over my bald spot. While looking through my phone’s camera roll for Bloody Mary/Virgin Mary cocktail photos for one project I have to finish this year, I came across a photo of me with long, slightly wavy brown hair down to my waist. I’d like it to get that thick and wavy again but it’s weird…I feel like looking so…’regular’ would delete all evidence of how difficult the last three years have been mood-wise. It’s so much easier to hide how you feel with a thick curtain of hair, on both sides of your face. In three more months, it will have been a year since my last hospitalisation.

Anyway, this weekend, the sads meant drinking tea, impulse buying a (neon grass green?!) book (Carmen Maria Machado’s The Body and Other Parties) on my wishlist, and reading a very, very cute zine to end the week and squeeze in a review post.

zine: the adventures of Ruby & Mags II by Lilly Piri

drink: Jenier grenadine vanilla black tea

OH WOW. The loose leaf tea comes in those mesh pyramid teabag things which means you can compost them, and the tea is heavenly! Really subtle and smooth. You keep sipping, thinking the flavour will intensify, and then your mug is empty. It’s glorious.

Ruby & Mags II has come in a plastic sleeve with holographic gold heart and iridescent pink star confetti. Ruby and Mags seem to be a pink fawn and an tawny orange-brown cat who are besties? They’re illustrated enjoying painting, doughnuts, tea, pancakes, strawberries, and Pocky. There’s an unrelated centrefold with four-leaf clovers, a puppy, and unicorns with rainbow-coloured manes and tails. I don’t know if this is because Ruby and Mags hallucinated this after eating hash-baked goods? Dropping acid tabs? It might’ve been their Pocky? I feel like this is what drug-taking acquaintances would tell me, but I’m too sad-straight to have any personal experiences to confirm this. Naïve me thinks it’s probably just their other cute and colourful pals? I’m not debating the above to be funny – the zine is ridiculously adorable. It’s like someone just dropped the zine equivalent of a gorgeously decorated cupcake in my lap! What was R&M I like? Are there more?

Anyway, they cavort playfully with the two unicorns, and then the last panel is the fluffy kitty with strawberry Pocky. A brief online search has pulled up this website – you can see the unicorns! They remind me a bit of this one windowsill where I grew up in London, where a girl – clearly a few years older than me, judging by the size and display of her My Little Pony collection on her bedroom sill made me wish that one day, if I were patient, I’d get ones with wings, and horns! I didn’t treat mine as well as she did hers and also liked playing with my brother’s Masters of the Universe figures too. Mantenna’s pop-out eyes were pretty cool! My bro loved those toys, so it was pretty nice of him to let me play with them too.

Hopefully the coming week will be a bit better…I think my mood funk will finish up once I’ve finished reading this very underwhelming novel I’ve struggled with for a week…initially, I wanted to read it because it’s about a young Englishman who ends up growing up in Holland, and becomes a luthier, but starts to believe he’s a werewolf (he isn’t: he gets into a violent brawl and acquired head injury sets off frontal lobe epilepsy). I’m not starting to read any new novels till finishing it – it’s called Quicksilver by Christie Dickason. It’s like a very, very bad version of the very, very wonderful Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. How does anyone make a historical novel about werewolves, the Netherlands, lutes, and early modern medicine boring?! That should teach me to stay away from remaindered books for…the rest of my life.