It’s that time of the year again, when Clan Teaist decamps to our place in the country for our summer holiday.
The house, perched on granite cliffs, has a forest behind it, and the Baltic sea in front. Swedish author and poet Karin Boye visited and was moved to write poetry about it.
When there, we’re connected to The Grid by only a slender water pipe that covertly snakes its way from the nearest water main through streams and bracken to pop up from the ground near our back door. It wasn’t always so – until the late 90s fresh water meant filling up a set of 10 litre camping water containers at a neighbours place, and lugging them home.
“Groceries” means a half hour bike ride into the nearest town, 30 delightful minutes of gravel paths through woodland and along the shore, until we land back in civilisation, pedalling over a canal bridge on the edge of a marina that seems to jump at you from nowhere.
All garbage and the contents of the composting toilet have to be carried 1 km through the forest to a collection point.
We get a telephone signal if the wind is blowing in ther right direction.
The cat loves it. For three weeks he casts off his Lord Topov Sikorsky, cuddly-wuddly puddy-tat persona, and becomes The Brown Beast of the South, a hunter to be feared and respected by humans and the furry woodland folk alike.
My tea supplies for the time I’ll be away are very simple – I’ve calculated that about 200g each of green gunpowder and loose leaf shou Pu’erh as well as a fistful of filter bags should see me right.
Early in the morning, before anyone else is awake, I like to fill a small camping kettle with freshly drawn water, and then walk down to a special level spot, half way down the cliff.
I’ll boil up over a tiny home-made alcohol stove, fabricated from an old beverage can. I’ll then steep a little green tea in an old teapot, and drink it to the sound of the sea gently lapping against the rocks, and the start-of-the-day chatter from the seabirds nesting on Rödskär, a small nearby islet.
One of the most enduring and popular Swedish songs about Summer reminds us that as nice as it is, the season itself is short indeed. By the time we return home, the nights will have begun to noticeably draw in, and Autumn will be just around the corner.
I’ll use those precious moments of quiet and calm out there on our cliff to plan my tea drinking activities for the back half of the year. In particular, I’m going to invest some time and coin in tracking down several of the more unusual types of Pu-erh I read about in the spring in my Pu-erh book.
But that’s for the future.
Starting tomorrow, for a few wonderful weeks my world will be distilled down to rocks and sky, wind and rain, and trees, bicycles and barbecues, weather permitting. And tea, of course, lots and lots of tea.
See you sometime in early August, all being well.