September 4th, 2008

Tea-drinker par excellence

Dark and scary

I drink quite a lot of tea, about six or seven mugs a day, most of these at work. I've got a jokey mug that I got from a treasure hunt with chilledchimp. Our friend Jon has run seven of these around London, the Strand, the City, Mayfair, the Inns of Court, the Barbican and Kennington and we usually do pretty well, finishing in the top three out of fifteen or so teams. I think this one must be a souvenir of the Inns of Court because it has a series of cartoons of an aging lawyer with the legend, 'Old Lawyers Never Die, They Just Lose Their Appeal'.

At home I have a slightly smaller mug that chilledchimp's dad Eric got me as a present from Ireland. It bears the Dempsey family crest, a lion rampant between two swords on a red field. Don't mess with us, we'll bite you then stab you with pointy things it says.

Funnily enough, my favourite tarot card is the two of swords, the Rider-Waite version of which is a blindfolded seated woman. Her arms are crossed over her chest and she holds two swords up at an angle. I'd never made the connection before. I think I was aware of tarot before I got the mug, but deciding that this was my favourite card postdates the gift. The card supposedly indicates a choice, possibly a difficult one and is often associated with indecision although it doesn't say that to me. It seems more mysterious than that but that could just be me trying to be interesting. I'll think about it.

Both mugs, mystical or legal, bear the shame of my tea drinking, namely brown stains. This is caused by the local hard water depositing limescale which is stained black by the tannin in the black tea. Occasionally flakes break off and skulk at the bottom of the cup. I don't suppose it does me any harm but it certainly causes distress to anyone else who sees it.

Tannin is a natural antisceptic so it's probably keeping the mug germ-free and any staining that is absorbed by the limescale is not getting into me.

But perhaps the tea is having some kind of effect, that would explain the freckles.
Tea-drinker par excellence

No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in

The current debate in American politics looks very similar to the debate in the UK. Here's an oversimplification.

On the one hand there are the conseverative/republicans whose support comes from the moneyed classes in the cities and most rural areas. They want stability, everyone to know their place, the right to tell people that they are doing it wrong (although they want privacy in their own homes) and when things go wrong, they look for who is to blame (usually not themselves). They believe that if you get on in life, good things will come to you. If they don't, it's a sign that there is something wrong with you because God/the Market won't screw the hard working man. There is nothing so pitiful as a conservative who asks for help.

On the other hand there is the urban middle classes. They want improvement, social mobility, don't care what you do behind closed doors (although you shouldn't endanger yourself or others) and when things go wrong they look to see who can help. They think you should do your part and that society should reward you for your efforts. There is nothing so pitiful as a socialist who refuses to help.

The urban working classes act slightly differently. They don't tend to vote in either country (even less in the UK than in the US I think) and are less interested in social mobility. 'No better than you should be' is their by-word. They lean to the right but can also vote left depending to a large extent I think on whether they have been politicised, by unionisation or racial or religious agitators and which media they entertain.

They are many fringe groups but they don't have any say.