Thursday, December 17, 2015

How to Make a Great Cup of English Tea

An English tea mug with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth the second in cameo on the side.
English Tea Mug


How do you make a great cup of English tea?

Making tea the  English way is very easy, even in the United States.

From experience most Americans make two mistakes when making a cup of tea.

1.  They do NOT use a good British brand of tea. The most popular brands of British teas tend to be black teas. Often considered inferior by tea officianados, ordering tea in Britain will mean that you are served a black blended tea. A common and popular brand is PG Tips Black Tea, this is my favorite tea brand

2.  Americans do NOT add boiling water to the tea leaves or tea bag. You should always use water which has just gone off the boil. Never use tepid water, it doesn't allow the tea to release all of its flavor.

I will not stress that you must use loose leaf tea or that a tea pot should be used. You can use tea bags to make tea in the cup. That is acceptable these days, though in polite company it would still raise an eyebrow or two.


1.  Fill  akettle with cold water. You may use bottled water if you like but cold fresh drawn water is best.

2. Bring water to a brisk rolling boil.  A rolling boil is when bubbles form in the water and burst vigorously on the surface.

3. Rinse a good heavy mug with some of the boiling wat. This warms the cup before it is filled, reducing the risk of the cup shattering.

4. After rinsing the mug and throwing away the water used to rinse the cup place one tea bag, in my case, PG Tips Black Tea, in the cup or mug.

5. Add the hot boiling water from the kettle to the mug. Fill until about three quarters full.

6. Let the tea bag soak for about ten seconds and then stir the water around the mug with a spoon. This is to diffuse some of the tea flavor.

7. Allow the tea bag to swirl in the hot water for about thirty seconds, then  remove the teabag from the mug. DO NOT squeeze the tea bag, this can cause the bag to split and drop tea leaves  and dust into your cup, it is not pleasant to taste tea which has lots of leaves still floating in it.

8. Add sugar or your favorite sweetener to taste and a little milk. Don't use cream or coffee creamer they are not meant to be used with tea.

You can also drink some teas without milk or sugar but these teas tend to be the more delicate teas. English black tea is robust and flavorful, but can also seem bitter. It was afterall the drink of the masses, to be drunk while laboring and to replace beer and gin as the drink of the poor.

I hope that you have enjoyed this little excursion into the art of making English tea. Maybe test out some of the many British teas available from your local supermarket or

The links above will take you to pages linked through my affiliate account. As such I will receive compensation if you decide to purchase  the items shown in the links.

Here are links to my zazzle designs for teapots; Ireland Teapot;   Inspired by Clarice Cliffe;   Texas Tea Teapot.

Pour for Ireland Teapot
Pour for Ireland Teapot by Bretsuki
Find other Ireland Teapots at

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

From Puppies to Guide Dogs

Just a few nights ago, Leif and I, joined some friends from Fresno Far Sighted Puppy raisers for a walk around Fig Garden Village, shopping center here in Fresno.

We where joined by Jonathen a journalism student at Fresno State University.

Here is the news report which he created and was broadcast on Fresno State Focus recently.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Songs

This year will be my fifty fourth Christmas. That is a lot more Christmas' than I thought I would ever see at times.

Over the years I have built a lot of memories of specific years and often those memories are rekindled by the music of Christmas.

For instance. I was about 6 years old when I appeared in my school Nativity play. I got a solo part too playing Caspar, one of the three kings. I don't remember much of the experience but every year the words of the song come flooding back along with pride that I stood along with a cast of shepherds, Angels and Saints to sing out my solo verse.

So if you are in the mood for Christmas, pop on over to my Christmas song playlist and belt out a rousing chorus or two of a favorite Christtmas song.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Gunman?Why train me for that?

I got a strange e-mail last night. It was from an organization, of which I am a member telling me that I needed to go online to get training for the eventuality of a gunman attack.

In recent days things have gone absolutely crazy, I must say. To say that you can find classes online to teach you, in your own home what to do if you are attacked by a crazed gunman is pretty ludicrous to me.

I am not anti-gun. I used to shoot in county competitions back in England. My preferred weapon was a over and under shotgun. A Browning to be precise. I could shoot at a clay pigeon shoot all day quite happily.

The problem I have is in the sheer panic of some people. Paying $99 to pay for me to have a class and obtain certification that I know what to do, in case of a crazed lone gunman. I have a pretty good idea what to do. Stay away from him. But as a blind man I know the sheer difficulty of even doing that. Moving around an area, lots of noise, echoes how do we know which way is safe?

So why should I buy into this fear?  I must say being blind I have more real fears than being shot.

My fear is real. It doesn't paralyse me. I do go out. My fear is of motorists, not gunmen.

I have had many more close encounters with motor vehicles in myy time here in the United States than I have with crazed gunmen.

Motorists do the silliest things. They drive too fast. Take chances of crossing intersections as the light turns red. They drive down sidewalks to cut into the supermarket parking lot. All to save that vital second.

OK Not all motorists are that bad. Most do stop on red even when turning right to let the blind man and his cute dog cross. But enough don't to scare the sh*t out of me.

So a word to all those in fear of this gunman. Put your fear into perspective. Fear what you know, not what you fear.

For those of you who might drive. Drive safely.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Please Save My Ears!

It is a constant source of amusement to me that sighted people seem to think we "blindies" are all deaf too.

You know. You go into a store or office. An assistant will saay hello, offer help. See your white cane as you ask their assistance and then yell "OVER! THERE!" and helpfully wave their arms as if immitating a windmill in a hurricane.

I don't mind the arm waving too much, unless I am carrying a hot drink in my hand. But the shouting? Oi that bit gets hard on the ears very quickly. I have had my ears whistle for minutes after some encounters.

It happens so often that I have even come up with a hoodie designed to inform the shouter that I am not deaf. The Blind not Deaf Hoodie   also  has the added benefits that if they do shout you can pull up the hood to afford some wear protection and you get to stay warm and taosty all day long.

The shirt is available in a wide range of styles, colors and men and women's fittings.

Blind Not Deaf Shirt
Blind Not Deaf Shirt by Bretsuki
Check out other Blind T-Shirts at

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blind People See

I have created a T-Shirt  to help raise some income to fund production work on my planned television program next year.

There are three styles of shirt available from Teespring. Short  sleeved, long sleeved and sweatshirts available in a range of colors and sizes with prices beginning at less than $20.

All the shirts carry the message: "Blind People See Things Differently."

To order and buy a shirt go to  "Blind People See ..."

Gray short sleeved T-shirt saying blind people see things differently in navy blue letters
Limited Offer "Blind People See ..." Shirt

 These shirts are available for a limited time. You can order your shirt now at "Blind People See ..." and receive your garment in time for the Holidays.