The Five Minute Writer: How I like my tea


My aim for this project is to work through the book ‘The Five Minute Writer’ by Margret Geraghty, and document my progress on my WordPress blog.

“We can’t all be geniuses. What we can do is to practise the kind of thinking that has been shown to foster creativity.” – Margret Geraghty


  1. 1.      The Power of Ritual


‘…a ritual can be anything that we do in a particular way.’




Tea is something I am very particular about. It must be Yorkshire, or if that fails, PG Tips will have to do. Typhoo ought to be banned. It’s a vile, piss weak tea and I shudder just to think about it. When abroad, I spend hours trailing cafes, asking for black ‘normal’ tea, only to be presented with a beautifully carved wooden box, filled to the brim with herbal and fruit teas. Finding a cafe that serves ‘normal’ tea is extremely difficult, especially in Norway, well, in most of Scandinavia to be specific. When I was living in Iceland for three months, I had to bring a stash of my own, and God help those who had to deal with me if I hadn’t had my morning cuppa, or if I’d forgotten my flask on a work day. I was a total shit.


When I make a cuppa, it has to be in the right sized cup. Not one of those mega ones you get free with an Easter Egg, nor one of those ones that they sell in the Post Office with matching coasters that you usually buy for your Grandparents, but one that is regular sized. The sort you get in a greasy spoon. I have a good selection of cups the right size, the one I like to use at the moment is nicknamed the ‘cancer cup’ because the design was done by a little kid in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research. Mum bought me it for my birthday two years ago. I know, how quaint.


The water I use for my tea HAS TO BE BOILING. I stand by the kettle and as soon as it clicks off, I pour it over the teabag and two sweeteners. (Sugar leaves a strange aftertaste) and leave it to stand for two to three minutes. If, for some reason, I am distracted and need to leave my tea for a while, a new one must be made, because if it’s not red hot, I can’t have it. I use 1% fat milk, and only a splash to make it that lovely caramel brown. When I was anorexic, I only used skimmed, the UHT stuff. I did that for far too long. I find semi-skimmed a little bit too rich but its manageable if my tea is strong enough and whole milk – fuck. It just doesn’t work. It takes away the taste of the tea completely. I like to use a particular tea spoon to stir my tea, too. I don’t know why, but I do, and I have to stir it at least ten times, usually in both directions. One of the worst things to happen when I am drinking my tea is to get hiccups. It spoils the enjoyment and pisses me off beyond belief. Making and drinking tea for me is a ritual, which I perform at least four times a day. Those moments are little bits of happiness. I like to use my teapot when I have people over. Sometimes, I’ll use it just for me, and reader, nothing in the world can beat the taste of tea made in the pot.