Against all the odds, the sun has been shining on England for a day or so. Wasting no time, the good doctor and I sprinted out into the garden for some husband-and-wife teatime.
Separating the two halves of our garden is an old willow tree, which sways dramatically in the wind and gives the whole garden a soothing feeling of gentle motion, much like a seaview. The rustling sound from the leaves is much the same.
The garden plays a background role in my tea drinking, as my teatable in the house looks out on it. Perhaps you've come across it before: you may remember a haiku on Chinese characters growing in our flowerbeds. Many times do I stop to listen to that ever-present rustling. Sometimes, it reminds me of gentle sunshine, sometimes it is the tree losing its leaves in winter. Sometimes, it reminds me of my wife and her mother.
Always, the willow tree is there, drinking tea with me from a distance.
With the arrival of good weather, Lei and I managed to drink tea on the arrangement that Chinese Mama had created under our willow tree, during her last visit (pictured above and below).
The logs were rescued from a nearby chap who had felled one of his larger trees; rather than see them combust, Lei thought that they would make excellent companions for the garden. As always, she was right...
To celebrate our journey into the garden, we needed some tea to suit the mood. Given that the aroma is dominated by a wall-full of honeysuckle, it would be hard to drink something other than fresh wulong, which has an aroma almost identical to the honeysuckle.
With thanks to Tom, a teachum from near to my hometown in East Anglia, we started on a "high mountain" wulong, which may have been produced by someone named Xu. It could have come from Postcard Teas, the lovely little London shop that I have mentioned before.
It is a fresh wulong in the "exceedingly green" genre, which was both very friendly and most enjoyable. "Wulong is the perfect tea for the garden", quoth the raven-haired lady.
With time on our side, we headed into roasted wulong territory, thanks to Superhans, our teachum from an American orchestra of international repute. When not making sweet music, Superhans clearly enjoys a good tea, pictured below.
This is a lively recent picking, it seems, with a very decent roast that complements, rather than overpowers, the character of the leaves.
The hours set along with the sun, and before we knew it, our wulong adventure was to come to an end, with the return of our (much beloved) family time.
With special thanks to Tom and Hans.