Travelling: SE England I - Livre d'Or — LiveJournal

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Travelling: SE England I
Wednesday, 22 December 2004 at 10:43 pm

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Last week was quite a week, and I'm going to try and record some of it, even if it's too daunting to describe everything in detail.

I arrived in London early on Friday morning, and spent a morning with lethargic_man which was sufficiently delightful to make up for 12 hours travelling, mostly on the vile overnight coach.

Given the time of year, we were actually rather short of time in London (despite the early start), and had to leave at lunchtime to make it to my parents' place before shabbat. Anyway, sunset being so early made for a delightfully relaxed evening. There was lots of tea and good conversation and a pseudomonas and my mother fed us extremely well. And we lit the fourth chanukah candle (my birthday candle) and lethargic_man did lots of singing, so both chanukah and the shabbat kiddush ceremony were a bit more musical than my family usually manage.

Despite the fascinating conversation, we managed to get to sleep at a reasonably sensible time. Which meant that lethargic_man and I were able to leave in good time in the morning to walk the six miles or so to shul and actually arrived nearly on time. The weather cooperated (unusually good weather luck was a pretty constant feature of our relationship throughout!) so walking through Granchester in glorious sunshine was particularly pleasant. And the service was lovely too, and with lots of music in honour of the festival and magnificent nosh in honour of Diana Lipton, who runs the cheder and is a general pillar of the community. This was helpful since we didn't have a chance to lunch except by stuffing our faces with the snacks provided.

We headed over to pseudomonas' new place to wait for night to fall so we could travel. Sadly, although pseudomonas had been fluffy and bouncy and delightful the previous evening, he'd not slept well the intervening night and was feeling pretty rotten. Then all the getting changed for the party (which we had to do kind of serially) and trekking across Cambridge took longer than I'd budgeted, so we were somewhat late to doseybat's party.

Anyway, said party was thoroughly delightful. I'm not going to make a big list of usernames, but shoutouts to galliana, fluffymark and timeplease (on whom I still have a mild crush left over from more than two years ago). Obviously doseybat and compilerbitch were there too, since it was Bat's party, and obviously I was pleased to see them, since they are two of my favourite people. And blue_mai was there, she being a very, very old friend whom I haven't spent time with in person for absolutely years. The atmosphere of the party was a slightly odd mixture of student-y and grown-up. Studenty in that there were lots of random people, a complete mix of levels of dressiness, lots of alcohol, people sitting on the floor or on eachother, and general silliness. And grown-up in that the main feature of the party was truly excellent conversation, and people were drinking to enjoy themselves rather than to get drunk, for the most part, and there was proper food including vegetables and exotic salads. It came pretty close to being an ideal party from my point of view.

We wound up at about 3.30 am, and those of us who really, really wanted to sleep headed off to the Batmother's place (just down the road) where there were proper beds and no tail end of party keeping people awake. Admittedly rather fewer beds than people, but we distributed ourselves quite happily. It was a bit of a strange experience to sleep in doseybat's old bed, in her extravagantly decorated room which I used to think of as a portal into another reality. lethargic_man found some of my teenage attempts at profundity among the graffiti on the mural of an extremely magnified ornamental cabbage, which only emphasized how weird it was for him to be present somewhere which was so significant to me at 17.

After far too few hours asleep, the Batmother fed us a quite sumptuous breakfast. Two large mugs of English tea and one of Russian were sufficient antidote to sleep deprivation that I gave a fair imitation of being human, at least for a few hours. blue_mai showed up from the main party too. And when we headed back there, there were still conversations being continued from the night before, though it wouldn't be strictly true to say the party was still in full swing.

Spent the afternoon with lethargic_man's friend SO, wandering around Hampstead Heath until it got too cold and dark to do anything except head back to lethargic_man's place to drink tea. SO is very good company, and Hampstead Heath is a delightful spot to walk even in December. Yay.

My parents hosted 50 people for a chanukah party Sunday evening. Although I was present in person the event mostly passed in a blur for me; I was too tired to take much in, and in attempting to make polite small talk about the state of my thesis I'm sure I gave the impression of being far too stupid to be doing a PhD. I did manage to head off a busybody woman who wanted to throw all the leftover food away because putting it in containers and into the fridge was too much effort – we lived on those leftovers for most of the week! The last guests didn't leave until nearly 11pm, after which I helped with clearing up for an hour or so until I really couldn't stay upright any longer.

I spent Monday recovering.

Oh, and unrelatedly, I've made a start on my book review backlog with Neil Gaiman's thoroughly delightful and original Neverwhere.

Moooood: hyperhyper
Tuuuuune: Beth Orton: Tangent
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beckyzoole: default
Date:December 23rd, 2004 03:51 am (UTC)
5 hours after journal entry, December 22nd, 2004 09:51 pm (beckyzoole's time)
Two large mugs of English tea and one of Russian

What is the difference between English tea and Russian? In the US, there is a strong black tea marketed as "English Breakfast Tea", but I've never seen anything called "Russian Tea".
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darcydodo: tea
Date:December 23rd, 2004 07:55 am (UTC)
9 hours after journal entry, 01:55 am (darcydodo's time)
Ah. In England there's both "English Breakfast Tea" and "Russian Tea." There's also "Russian Caravan Tea," but we've not yet decided (or is there a more definite word on this, yet, livredor?) whether that's Russian Tea with caravans in it, or if it's just ordinary tea with Russian caravans in.

The other thing about Russian tea is that you drink it with shitloads of sugar and lemon.
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livredor: teeeeeeeeea
Date:December 23rd, 2004 09:18 am (UTC)
10 hours after journal entry, 09:18 am (livredor's time)
What is the difference between English tea and Russian?
I was referring not to varieties of tea, but to ways of preparing it. The tea was ordinary black tea (which is theoretically Indian, but I'm talking about the kind of basic stuff you get in ordinary supermarkets) in both cases. The English version is medium-strong, and drunk with milk (a well-known English eccentricity!) The Russian version is extremely super-strong, and drunk black with most of a lemon and enough sugar to make the intense bitter and sour flavours palatable. It's very nice, and also rather like Proplus in liquid form.

English breakfast tea is a particular blend of tea. Most brands I've tried tend to be a bit weaker than average, but I don't know if that's a defining characteristic of the type of tea. Russian tea, as a variety, does exist over here; I'm not sure if it's actually grown in Russia (which is large enough that it probably contains regions suitable for growing tea). It tends to be more flavourful than standard Indian black, not necessarily stronger, but with more resonances that are not just the basic tea taste. Which means that in my opinion, it tastes a bit odd with milk, I'm more likely to drink it black with a little sugar, or full-on Russian style.
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rysmiel: mary magnum
Date:December 23rd, 2004 03:22 pm (UTC)
16 hours after journal entry, 11:22 am (rysmiel's time)
There are some very lovely blends that are sold in, well, specialist teashops here that are labelled as specifically Russian teas; usually with pre-1917 sounding names, too.
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