All in a day’s work….

Taking tea with a tuatara.

The funky collection of ‘60s teacups took my friend and colleague Jen Miller a lifetime to collect.

Generously, she kept most of them at the Christchurch office of Forest & Bird, the environmental organisation we both work for.

I never saw them; they were lost in the 2011 earthquake that shook Christchurch to its core. The only pieces that survived were a few bowls, such as the Palissy and J&G Meakin bowls Jen served us homemade soup in at lunchtime today.

Finding genuine replacements for the cups is proving difficult, so while she hunts, Jen’s making do with modern china with a retro theme.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 7: Citta mug, not too big, china and with a groovy pattern.

TEA 9:  Loose-leaf Twinings orange pekoe, made in a stainless steel pot just like one my grandmother had.

SETTING 8: It is work, but the Christchurch office is always a good place to be, and not just for the quality of the catering.

Note: the green guy checking out the chocolate brownies is my prop for talks on the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s weird and wonderful native species. Tuatara are not lizards, but the last remaining species for the ancient order Rhynchocephalia that included dinosaurs. If the climate warms,  all the baby tuatara will be boys – wrong on so many levels.

Fools Of Desire (F.O.D) Cafe, Rangiora

Delicious tea, let down by the cup.

It had been a long time between drinks, and I was more than ready for a good cup when we got to Fools of Desire (known as F.O.D) Cafe for an early lunch today.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 2.5: Sadly, another otherwise excellent cafe with great tea, let down by confusing coffee cups with teacups. On the plus side, the cups were warmed (hence the .5) and the waitress listened politely as my sister and I raved on about the difference between teacups and coffee cups.

TEA 9:  Loose-leaf Kerikeri  Tea’s organic Bay of Islands Breakfast for me, a blend of English breakfast and Earl Grey for Deirdre. Absolutely delicious, and made properly in the pots. Would have been a 10 if the flavour had been enhanced by fine-bone cups (I’m labouring the point, but it seems I have to).

SETTING 7.5: The cafe’s a bit noisy (and piped TV themes  in the toilet is, frankly, weird) but we found a quietish nook cut into the wall and enjoyed ourselves.

Fools Of Desire Cafe, Conway Lane, 176 High St, Rangiora.

Number Eight, Christchurch airport



Tea for two at Christchurch airport.

Another day, another airport

Guest photographer today is my sister Deirdre, another tea aficionado who is also helping me score. Coming to the conclusion that I shouldn’t drink tea in airports. Or aeroplanes.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 1: Where do we start? At first I was given a coffee cup. It was replaced with a tea cup, but it’s chipped, and Deirdre’s cup is dirty. And that’s before we start on the aesthetics.

TEA 3: Dilmah. The bags were given separately, which means they haven’t brewed properly in the pot, and as a result the tea is weak and cold. The man behind the counter was startled when we asked for separate milk jugs (I wanted fullcream, Deirdre wanted trim), but he recovered quickly.

SETTING 6: Good for an airport cafe. Nice and quiet. 

Number Eight, Christchurch Airport.

Tea in the air

Air New Zealand, somewhere above the Desert Rd, New Zealand.

It’s tea, I’m drinking it, so it should be rated.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 1: 

TEA 1: It’s wet, is about the best I can say.

SETTING 6: Comfortable for an aeroplane.

Air New Zealand, somewhere above the Desert Rd, New Zealand.