The Tea Tastes Great, So I Must Be In…

By cjohnson | May 18, 2006 12:17 am

Ahhh….London. All of a sudden, here I am in South London. It is early in the morning, and everyone is still asleep. I’m sitting here with an excellent cup of tea (title of this post refers to this other post) and a plate of Jacob’s cream crackers (since I’m desperately hungry and it was the only thing I could find without disturbing my host’s kitchen cupboards) and looking at lovely cloud patterns through the window, and some beautiful shafts of morning sunlight from time to time. And I’m listening to the birds…. and some seriously loud snoring from upstairs.

Would not have predicted that I’d be here at this time. Tuesday saw me doing hectic things at work back in LA, as usual. Then I decided. I called the airline, got a seat, and that afternoon (after a mad dash across town, making it to the gate one minute before the flight closed) saw me in the air, headed to London.

And here I am. Purpose of trip? Just to be there for my sister, Carol, who yesterday was giving birth to her first child. All went well. Hurrah! We are an Uncle, again.

What else shall I do while here? Well, I’ve got jetlag, my laptop, and a wireless connection and I’ve three more papers to be working on, using this convenient setup – one came out last week; I’ll be telling you about that physics very soon – and I’ve got several other writing projects to work on…. and I will probably be helping out with things like shopping and other errands from time to time.

And then, when I can get away, I think I’ll go to some old haunts to drink it all in, such as South Kensington, Bloomsbury, and Soho. I’ll go to a John Lewis to buy some household items like one or two more pieces of the Denby Greenwich dining set and a set of placemats and coasters, have a look in some museums and bookshops, and -oh yes- I’ll definitely buy some essential food items to take back with me: Green and Black’s chocolates, Maldon Sea Salt, good English Breakfast tea, etc, etc. (Must also remember to get some Hendrick’s gin on the way back through Heathrow.) See here for a previous haul my mum brought me when she visited last.

Sure, I could get all that latter stuff (but not the gin) from one of the English shops in Santa Monica. But it is such an effort to go all the way over to the West Side. If I’m going to go all the way over there, might as well go all the way to London.

Time for another cup of tea.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Food and Drink, Personal, Travel
  • Plato

    Congrats on being an Uncle. You never did say what she had?

  • Pacian

    Don’t be a fool Plato, it was clearly a baby.


    On which note, congrats as well, Clifford, from someone who haunted South Kensington instead of while working on a Physics degree he never finished.

  • Sean

    Congratulations to your sister! And I’m sure you can get Hendrick’s in LA; it’s not hard to find in Chicago.

  • Mark

    Yeah, Hendrick’s is available here also. Maldon Sea Salt however … better stock up!

  • candace

    You should have a pub do or something while you’re here!

    a hopeful Londoner.

  • Jess

    Fantastic news! Congratulations, and to Carol too.

  • adam

    Ah, British tea. Although I do get it here (at some premium), there can hardly be a kitchen in the UK where you can’t rustle up a good strong cuppa. There is a store in Alexandria, VA, where my brother gets Pickled Onion flavour Monster Munch, which is almost enough reason on its own to drive the six hours to see him.

    Congratulations to your sister.

  • SteveM

    “…looking at lovely cloud patterns through the window, and some beautiful shafts of morning sunshine from time to time. And listening to the birds”.
    Glad to see you are allowing time for “The Stillness”. Always…The Stillness!:) Check out this week’s new “Down the Line” show if you have time, for phone-in discussions of the inverse square law of gravitation, and sheep at war. (“I come from a military background–I don’t muck about!”)

    Congrats to your sister.

  • Plato


    Your funny:)

    Little girl, or little boy baby…I had my own once, and have five grandchildren, who were all “babies.”

    I sense a little girl, but could be wrong?

    Just guessed my daughter in laws sister’s and guessed my own son’s weight at birth, as well as, the day and gender.

    The “money pool” of course went to the child.

  • Clifford

    Plato, and others: It’s a boy…..

    Sean, Mark:- Thanks. Yes, I know you can get Hendrick’s in the LA, as you can all the other things I mentioned…. but that’s not the point, really. Somehow, everything tastes better when you’ve brought it over yourself. It is the illusion of it being a hard-won commodity, to be rationed. Seeps in through the packaging. Like in the old days. (This globalization thing has just gone too far for me… 😉 ) Thanks, though.

    Pacian:- we haunted South Ken for the same reasons, it seems.

    candace:- If I do a pub do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

    SteveM:- Ah, yes, the stillness.   LOL.

    I’ll pass on everyone’s good wishes to Carol. Thanks.


  • Pete

    “seeps in through the packaging” indeed! I too once thought that British goodies only tasted right when bought over there. Until, on one horrific occasion, I agreed to carry back a jar of Branston Pickle for a friend, only to find, on arrival, that my packing hadn’t been quite as secure as I’d thought, and that the jar, and its contents, were now uniformly spread through the suitcase.


    PS: My local Indian grocer (El Toro, CA) now stocks Worcestershire Sauce flavoured Twiglets, which are loathsome beyond my ability to describe.

  • Clifford

    Are they worse than Marmite flavoured ones?

    Horrible, repulsive, and somehow….. can’t. stop. eating. them.


  • adam

    I’ve found that British chocolate bought over here often tastes a bit stale. I guess that the shipping process isn’t very kind to them.

    Also, Cadburys that is produced here is made by Hershey, showing that they can, in fact, make nice-tasting chocolate, but generally choose not to.

    Pickled Onoin Flavoured MonsterMunch >> Twiglets. If I die and go to Hell, it’s going to be a neverending twiglet buffet, I know it.

  • Samantha

    Tudor House (in Santa Monica) stopped stocking Maldon Sea Salt (why why?) but you can get it from Whole Foods apparently, doubtless for the price of a small body part.

  • adam

    Hmmm, no Maldon sea salt? I hope that this is not a product of growing prejudice against the products of Essex, or I’m in trouble myself.

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