On Wednesday we visited Broadlands Care Home, to introduce ourselves to the residents and tell them a little bit about Lowestoft Folk.
We reckoned the ideal way to introduce ourselves would be over a nice cup of tea, and so we went armed with teapots and cosies, caddies and bags of leaf tea, teaspoons and tablecloths, all to prompt conversation with the residents about how they preferred to take the nation’s favourite brew.
And my, but they were wonderful, and full of stories and recollections, and everyone was so welcoming – I can’t wait to go back next week, when we will be visiting with storyteller, Liam Carroll.
Pupils from Oulton Broad Primary School will be joining us and no doubt we’ll have lots of time for stories and chatting and, of course, a cup of tea.
Until then, here is the Broadlands Lowestoft Folk Poem – all about how to take tea.
Better brewed than stewed
We always used padded tea cosies,
Never those ones with the spout sticking out.
You always want a good spout, no drips,
And a good pourer.
Tea was always loose, bought pre-bagged
In paper, a quarter of a pound.
People always said the brown teapots
Made the best tea.
One big pot would do all eight of us,
Us children, and my parents and grandma
Who lived with us. We poured it in order.
Babies had milk.
Toddlers from about 18 months
Had a splash of weak tea in their milk.
Then the older children, then my parents,
Then Grandma last, who liked it strongest.
My dad used to make a bottle of black tea
In the morning, to take to work.
No milk, no sugar, it would go cold and he still drank it
I hated it, it was so bitter.
We always laid the table
With a teaspoon for everyone.
Even if they didn’t like sugar,
They might want to skim off the skin.
Polio on sugar lumps, sugar tongs
With claw ends and picture cards with tea.
Putting your little finger up
With a nice cup and saucer.
When you had visitors you used
The best china, otherwise it was
A thick pottery mug: china, like the front room,
Was for when somebody posh came round.
Warm the teapot, swirl the water
How much tea to put in a pot?
One for thee, one for me
And one for t’pot.