Lapsang Soupong

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 11 February 2013

Year of The Snake started yesterday.

As the rain tumbled down, turned to sleet, then snow, I talked with Jeremy Phang abut this year coming up.

He said what all the generic websites say that soon we will be reaping the benefits of last year.

I do hope so - times is tough not just for me but for so many of my friends.

Woke this morning to big, blobby snowflakes. They haven't settled but the tops of the trees are still sprinkled with white.

When I first started writing twenty years ago - blimey I cant believe it's that long ago - I used to make myself a pot of Lapsang Souchong tea. It's aroma makes me nostalgic.

I've resurrected the tradition. I have a white teapot. my own Masons Regency teacup, I balance the hot pot in one hand, and the teacup in the other with my phone and the intercom so I can talk to Gods Gift in the studio. Then I settle down at my table in the attic.

The first slurp and I'm back in the middle bedroom, 1984, with an old Amstrad writing scripts for TVam. I was as bad on computers then as I am now, although my keyboard skills are pretty kuch perfectl.

Back in 1993 I started writing an hour and a half, every day. I was not allowed to work any longer, or shorter. My mentor at the time, used the old technique of leaving 'em wanting more. The less I was allowed to do the more I ached to be writing.

Now I write everyday, sometimes for as long as 7 hours at a sitting, not noticing the time. It is actually the best diet I have ever been on. I don't think about hot buttered toast, or cheesy cauliflower, or soft avocados with white mayo. Ssh! I'm salivating.

I've written on a small desk, a bigger desk and now my big wooden table. We paid two men to carry it in from the studio at the bottom of the garden, hike it up two fights of stairs and slide it onto the attic carpet.

It belonged to Bill Oddie, a dear old friend, when his first marriage split up we bought it for the cottage. It's made out of old railway sleepers, if you kneel down you can see the ingrained writing from 29 years of children's homework, accounting and countless dinner party stains.

Today it pays host to 6 table mats I bought in Glastonbury, blue with flowers on, a black Ralph Lauren box containing my spare glasses, a silver metal in- tray containing post its, scrap paper and wet wipes, a bowl of assorted crystals. a silver metal pen holder - that matches the tray - a grey pencil sharpener, 3 notebooks belonging to my writing partner full of her beautiful handwriting. A little white rabbit light, a paper plate with a purple pencil sharpener that belonged to B when she was at school, an eraser, a little tube of lavender headache getriddererovver. Two old train tickets, a crystal angel, given to me by the wonderful Psychic, Betty Palco, a green egg made out of Adventurine, 2 little hearts made out of stone, a decorated stone from Greece with hearts painted on it. A crystal pyramid, a tiny green malachite Ganesh, a little ceramic otter, an even tinier Cornelian angel that B gave me for Christmas, a lump of Amethyst, with a heavy pendulum sitting on top of it, a quartz tower, a red heart box that contains my dongles, my mouse mat and mouse and today, my white teapot filled to the brim with hot Lapsang Souchong.

As I sit in the silence I can hear the drip drip of the snow melting, as the light fades.

Three o'clock on February 11th and I have started my 40 day spiritual fast. Sometimes I think I should keep my practices to myself and then I think Oh! Sod it. I'm nearly 64 if I cant tell my bloggers the truth then I should stop now.

I am giving up sugar and bread, coffee and my fear of poverty.

I can't tell you how frightening it is giving up fear.

But then I will tell you how I hang over the next 40 days.

I've got a vegetable stock simmering on the back burner. I shall slip some Chinese leaves and garlic shoots into the clear bouillon for supper.

Pushing the boat out wouldn't you say?

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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