So I mentioned, or rather I whined about going to see a reflexologist the other week. He uses the reflexology as a diagnostic tool and his diagnosis seemed to suggest that I was an old crock. He suggested no dairy, no wheat, no potatoes, no pork, no sugar, ONE coffee a day and on and on he went. It was very depressing. He wasn’t keen on the alcohol either. No way José. I was tempted to ask if it was acceptable to have any sex because that was the only fun I was likely to be having since everything else was (literally) off the table.
But I confess I have made some changes and this one has stuck. Pukka’s Three Ginger Tea is a revelation and I’ve been taking a cup every morning without fail. This means that I have a detoxifying beverage which doesn’t taste like shit, and I get to go out later and have a coffee. Case in point, I’m in Kaffe O right now. I’ve eschewed my usual one-shot latte for an americano to keep the dairy down. One thing I have never been able to stomach though is ordinary black tea or coffee but there’s a large proportion of society who can. These people are teachers, and I shall tell you how this phenomenon came to be.
When teaching, you simply long for your break. I used to teach like I was on acid just so I could finish my lesson and be standing at the door to run like the blazes to get my restorative cuppa. Once a senior teacher yelled: “Hey you, slow down” as he saw my little blond head racing along amongst the throng. He thought I was a pupil (I’m so short you see, like a wee Year 8) and I never disabused him of his mistake. Anyway, so insistent was I on the necessity of good tea and coffee that I brought in a teapot and cafetières so no one had to suffer the dreadfulness of a sub-standard cup. But sometimes, off I would trek and open the fridge, only to find that some dirtbird had polished off our milk. The horror, I mean, you always think it’s going to happen to someone else.
Now, you expect this sort of behaviour in student houses, but really, in a school? Everyone knows that a teacher starved of their coffee is like Richard Burton before his first whiskey, not to be messed with. And what really, really got my goat, was that at our table, we had a rota, and if, woe betide you forgot to buy the milk, you raced off before break and procured some. There were Sunday nights when I remembered at eleven pm that I was on milk duty and poor LSB would be dispatched to get the requisite two litres. “I fucking hate milk duty” he used to mutter. So it wasn’t really about the milk. It was the fact that we had a kitty, we had a rota and often at considerable inconvenience to ourselves, we always made sure we brought it in.
But, as in every tale, there’s a villain. And in this one, these were the milk snatchers. They were neither in possession of milk or rota, but were merrily drinking five cups of coffee A DAY. I couldn’t help myself one morning. “How do you like your milk Anthony*? Totally fat free, half-fat free or just like, free full stop?” “Ho ho,” he chortled, helping himself. But he couldn’t meet my eye in the corridor for a few weeks.
It wasn’t just our school, other establishments could be touchy too. When my mum used to sub she only drank Lady Grey, since the citrusy notes and bergamot were best savoured without milk. My dad used to take his own little portion of milk in a small Tupperware container. Some schools were so short on fridge space that people just resorted to black tea and coffee, and then never went back on the milk. Really, there are no easy answers. One place where I used to teach provided break and a wee trolley was wheeled in with tea and coffee and scones. (You could have stoned the crows with the scones but it was a nice gesture).
So anyway, if and when I go back, I’ll probably just bring in my ginger tea, because I can’t be arsed anymore with the milk politics. Mind you, I’d be very happy to throw in twenty quid a term and get a decent cup of filter coffee and maybe some baked goods. (Let’s see the milk snatchers cough up for that, as if). One lives in hope.
*Names have been changed to protect identities