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Put the kettle on. It’s time for some creative self-hypnosis.

Posted Aug 06 2009 10:57pm

You may have noticed that I have been taking a couple of weeks out from blogging recently - and thank you so much to all those very kind people who enquired after my well-being.

As part of exploring Slow - the Slow Movement, Slow Language (as I wrote about in my last post here) and time to breathe and reflect - I took a little time away from the online buzz and experimented with some new activities.

I have been making lots of poems and I have also been making things with my hands too. Here is my first tea cosy, knitted for my friend Merran’s birthday.

tea cosy

I haven’t knitted anything since I was eleven years old and starting again was very hypnotic. With each stitch, the feel of the wool through my fingers and the click-clack of the needles was powerfully evocative of my white-haired grandma, who taught me how to knit. I could almost feel her presence in the room with me.

I think she would have been a little startled at this teacosy, inspired by a cactus, but she always understood my need to make things.

I Googled the song that has been circling in my head for the last day or so since I finished knitting. Apparently it is from the 1935 film, ‘Come Out of the Pantry’. I must find a copy.

‘Every nation in creation has its favourite drink,
France is famous for its wine, it’s beer in Germany,
Turkey has its coffee and they serve it blacker than ink,
Russians go for vodka and England loves its tea.

Oh, the factories may be roaring
With a boom-a-lacka, zoom-a-lacka, wee,
But there isn’t any roar when the clock strikes four,
Everything stops for tea.

Oh, a lawyer in the courtroom
In the middle of an alimony plea
Has to stop and help ‘em pour when the clock strikes four.
Everything stops for tea.

It’s a very good English custom
Though the weather be cold or hot
When you need a little pick-up, you’ll find a little tea cup
Will always hit the spot.

You remember Cleopatra
Had a date to meet Mark Anthony at three.
When he came an hour late she said “You’ll have to wait”
For everything stops for tea.

Oh, they may be playing football
And the crowd is yelling “Kill the referee!”
But no matter what the score, when the clock strikes four
Everything stops for tea.

Oh, the golfer may be golfing
And is just about to make a hole-in-three
But it always gets them sore when the clock yells “four!”
Everything stops for tea.

It’s a very good English custom
And a stimulant for the brain.
When you feel a little weary, a cup’ll make you cheery
And it’s cheaper than champagne.

Now I know just why Franz Schubert
Didn’t finish his unfinished symphony.
He might have written more but the clock struck four
And everything stops for tea.

Personally, I have never liked black tea, although I have a big stash of delicious green and herbal teas. But I think the old ritual of sitting down to enjoy a cuppa marked something important. Do we give ourselves that tme now as we ‘grab a quick coffee’ or sit eating our lunchtime sandwich hunched over our computer screens?

In the end, it doesn’t matter what your personal ritual might be, but taking some time each day to enjoy a few moments of calm - knitting or drinking tea or just taking a few deep breaths - will help to keep your neurons firing and your immune system functioning happily.

I also found it really useful for my poem making to switch creative media for a while and make something that I could hold in my hands.

Have a great afternoon. I’m off to put the kettle on before starting work again.

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