London Attack

It breaks my heart to see an attack on the people of London. When an alleged terrorist does something like what has happened today – driving into a group of people and another trying to access the Houses of Parliament with a knife, clearly intent on doing harm – I fear the extremists win. But not the extremists that might first come to mind. I’m speaking of the extremists who are now clearly rampant in France, in the Netherlands, and most especially here in the United States. The ones who think all borders should be closed. That immigration is and should be a thing of the past. We should not help our fellow man. We shouldn’t care about anyone but those born in our respective countries. And that’s exactly what the other extremists – ISIS and their ilk – want. I try not to get political on here, but I just hate when something like this happens. And I hate the way things will be twisted around for the use of our horrible, horrible president.

Stay safe London. I’ve never met you, but you’ve got a long and storied history and I hope to meet you some day.

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Tea and Me: Festive Spice

I apologize for not having a new Tea and Me before today. It’s been several months since I have been to the English Tea Room where I usually try out new things. The last time I had a tea to try was at the beginning of the year. That’s changed now since my friend bought me a small tea collection for my birthday at the end of January from World Market.

The loose teas were purchased in a set, so I doubt they’d be something I can purchase again on an individual basis, so I’m not going to add them to my tea scoring system. They are each packaged in test tube-like vials and could probably get 3-4 cups per vial.

The one I’m trying this morning is called Festive Spice. It contains the following ingredients: green honeybush, dried orange pieces, Chai spice mix (organic cinnamon, organic star anise, organic black pepper, organic ginger), natural vanilla flavoring, cinnamon.

I chose this to try today because I’ve been hung up on Chai tea lately. Since there’s no black tea in the mix, this is more like a spiced herbal tea and no milk involved. I like the flavor a lot and would definitely buy something like this just on its own. If you’re the type of person who can taste individual flavors in a mix, you’d probably be able to pick out each one in this tea. That’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, but I wish I could.

Sapphire Jubilee

16425794_1375243522546977_1168419084776349646_nToday, Queen Elizabeth II truly stands alone in history. She is the first, and only, British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee – 65 years on the throne.

She ascended to the throne 6 February 1952 upon the death of her father, who had himself become king upon the death of his father, George V and abdication of the throne by her uncle, Edward VIII. She has witnessed many leadership changes within her own country and throughout the world and has remained the figurehead of the Commonwealth. She’s borne witness to many wars and other military conflicts through out her lifetime and reign.

For my part I think she’s the most smartly dressed woman of her age I’ve ever seen. There doesn’t seem to be any colour she looks bad wearing.

Tea and Me: Darjeeling

15879154_1242595312492086_1239568804_nYesterday I tried Darjeeling for the first time. I have to admit to being surprised by it. I’m not really sure what I expected from it, but I definitely did not expect it was a black tea. Now, most of the time if I have black tea, I add milk, in the proper English fashion. However, there are some exceptions to the rule and Darjeeling is one of them. It was a light golden brown and as the packaging states, it had a light taste.

So here’s a bit about Darjeeling: it comes from a different plant than the more common black tea that we all drink. It is made from the small-leafed Camellia sinensis,  whereas the more common black teas are from the larger-leafed Assam. Darjeeling is named for the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India that it comes from and while black tea is the most popular version, green and oolong varieties are becoming more popular and readily available. All this time I thought Darjeeling was another type of tea, like green, oolong and the others. 

I will definitely be drinking this again.

Dear GB

Dear Great Britain (and the rest of Europe),

Forgive us our ignorance as our ignorant seem to speak louder than the rest of us. Please allow me to convey to you from the very depth of my being that I do not want the man we now have as a soon-to-be president to be in charge. I fear for the next four years and how the world will come to view the farce that is this country. I understand why he won, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I ask, then, that you bear in mind that not all of us unanimously put him into the White House, or, in fact, anywhere near it. I beg your forgiveness even as I embrace the beautiful sarcasm in response to this ignorant woman’s claims.

Sincerely,

A Mildly Intelligent American

American journalists and conservatives love to claim that Europe has been “taken over” by Muslims. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump got in trouble for falsely claiming that some areas of London were “so radicalized” that police were “afraid for their own lives.”

In the resulting fallout, more than 500,000 Brits signed a petition asking for Donald Trump to be banned from entering the United Kingdom, a debate in parliament later decided against such a ban.

And somehow, conservative American author Janie Johnson just made the same mistake. Last night, she published a tweet claiming that London as she knows it was “gone.”

Full story

St Andrew’s Day

Happy St Andrew’s Day! For those who are unfamiliar with the significance of St Andrew’s Day, it is the national day of Scotland.

Yes, if you’re a Christian, you should already know a bit about who Andrew was: a disciple of Jesus while he was here on Earth. He was a fisherman with his brother Peter, before leaving that life to follow Jesus in his travels around the known world. At the time of his death, Andrew was crucified for his beliefs, but not on the standard cross you might be familiar with from church. He was, instead, crucified on a diagonally transverse cross (a big X) that became known as St Andrew’s Cross. That symbol can be found on Scotland’s flag, known as The Saltire.

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For a more detailed history of how a fisherman from Galilee became the patron saint of Scotland, I direct you to Scotland.org. If you live in Scotland, how will you celebrate the day? If you’re Scottish, living elsewhere in the world, do you still honour the day?

Celebrating 69 Years

queen-elizabeth-prince-philip-bride-queen-elizabeth-iiThough I have not watched the new programme about the early days of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, I have seen one clip that offers insight into the difficulties of their marriage. In all of the historical fiction I’ve read over the years, a monarch’s spouse is just as much a subject of the reigning monarch as anyone else. And in that role, they have to act accordingly. This particular scene which I’ve seen online involves a private moment between Elizabeth and Philip where he’s demanding to be treated as her husband and an equal and she cannot allow that he be treated as her equal because she is a queen.

Thankfully they have forged a strong alliance as both husband and wife and as queen and subject. Strong enough to bring four children into this world and for their marriage to last 69 years. In this day and age of divorces on a whim, that is nothing to ignore. Congratulations to Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.