Tea. Is any other drink so adept at being acceptable in all walks of life, at any time of day and in so many parts of the world? I'd venture to speculate that tea was the first hot drink ever made by man (or some form of tisane made from leaves, fruit or flowers and hot water). Most houses I know have some form of tea worship paraphernalia. This is my everyday form. A kettle, and several pieces of mismatched crockery, depending on my mood. I do love a cup of tea, especially taken in the company of friends.
The most basic method relies on me dunking the teabag straight into a mug, so bypassing the teapot altogether. We all have our most sluttish...and most stylish way of serving tea. The smartest tea pot I have is an inherited silver one, which I use just for the hell of it, when the fancy takes me.
But receptacles for tea can be very basic indeed. Here are some little clay cups, sometimes still used by tea sellers at railway stations in India. They are the best of throwaway cups, much more ecologically friendly than paper or plastic, and far more elegant.
I'm sure I have read somewhere (to my horror) that sales of tea in the UK are declining, and have been for a while. Coffee, that altogether more sophisticated beverage is in the ascendancy, and soon we poor Brits will have totally turned away from our so called national drink. I don't believe a word of it. Have you seen
the tea section in most supermarkets recently?
Besides, a lot of our literature depends on it.
How would the dormouse have fared if the Mad Hatter had dipped it into a coffee pot, and then presumably depressed the plunger? Get rid of tea and you immediately lose one of our finest mealtimes. Rupert Brooke knew that in 1912. Honey for tea, tea and biscuits, tea and sympathy...You can bet your life that in the background of all the Streatfields, Nesbits, Blytons and Cromptons, long suffering parents or guardians were busy drinking a reviving cup, while their offspring got into ever more alarming scrapes.
I suppose all this is why I'm so offended that the words tea party have recently been usurped. A small part of me rages when those most agreeable words are put together to describe political values that are far from my own. To begin with I hoped that the label wouldn't stick, but with the Republicans in the US beginning the long
I'm redesigning the look and feel of Google Maps.Pencil sketch 19cm x 18cm. Click to enlarge.
A sketch for my team's logo in this year's Brompton World Championships
....see you there!Pen and ink with digital colour 9cm x 8cm. Click to enlarge.
It was my friend Hellcat's birthday the other day so I drew this card for her.Pen and ink with watercolour 11cm x 11cm Click to enlarge.
This is inspired by the book of Dede Orkut which I'm reading at the moment.
Pen and ink with watercolour. Each page 25cm x 17.5cm. Click to enlarge.
Well, I guess this is a hat of sorts - though more like a crown. This image is from a series of books that I wrote and illustrated on climate change for ABDO's Magic Wagon Books. The detail is from a spread illustrating that many animals are relocating to higher altitudes where the temperatures are cooler. The art is created digitally in Painter 11 using a fine point pen (2 pixels) and oils using the 'Real Brushes' feature.
The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea
A page of heads inspired by Don Moyer. Drawn during tea breaks.
Ink 15cm x 21cm. Click to enlarge.
As a keen birdwatcher I also record the dreams of individual birds. Here I have painted a typical wading bird's dream.
Ink and watercolour 23cm x 9cm. Click to enlarge.
Due to public demand, I had no choice but to add a second panel to The Dream of The Unknown Wader.
Pen and ink over watercolour. 23cm x 20cm. Click to enlarge.
When I grow up I want to be a Moon Plucker.
Pen and ink with watercolour. 9cm x 5cm. Click to enlarge.
A fragment of the artwork from the game board of The Game of Spodunk showing the first two squares. It's very unlucky to land your goose on La Popesse.
Pen and ink on watercolour 28cm x 9cm. Click to enlarge.