I am about to confess something of great magnitude.
I, I ... I don't drink tea. Oh but I used to, no day went by without 6 cups of distilled British Empire soaked in three teaspoons of white mischief from Tate & Lyle. Yes, for me, it was nothing but drug paraphernalia for a tooth quivering crystalline sugar high.
Oh but I do like the kit. The aged silver patina of the tea strainer, or when I was a child, my hamster's 'fencing mask' - yes I was leathered sorely for that one. The tintinnabulation of fine bone china, opaque yet almost translucent when held up to the light.
When it comes to the subject of tea I defer to George Orwell who in 1946 wrote a classic essay on the perfect cup of tea in the Evening Standard:
"First of all, use Indian Or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues not to be despised- it is economical, and can be drunk without milk - but one does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it.
How do you enjoy your daily cuppa?
Fortnum and Mason
The Palm Court at the Ritz
What is tea without cake? The remnants of a really ropy Victoria Sponge which I whipped up at the weekend.