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Saturday, 2 April 2011


I always used to be a Tea Drinker. All through my childhood, tea was the only available drink in most Scottish homes.  (Always made with loose leaf tea in a well warmed pot.  One spoonful for each person and one for the pot.)  It was mostly drunk with milk and plenty of sugar.  The posh would sometimes drink it with a slice of lemon.  And plenty of sugar.

As an aside, when I was in the Army, it was well known that hot, sweet, milky tea was the ideal liquid for every occasion.  Shock, shrapnel wounds, mass invasion by Cuban revolutionaries, it didn't matter. The quick application of hot, sweet tea was the universal balm. Except for stomach wounds.

Coffee was only available in cafés, where it came in two types.  White or Black.
Actually there was a type of coffee available to the working classes in those days.  It was used quite often for children to make them a milky evening drink, especially if they weren't very well. It was a strange liquid called Camp Coffee, also used to give a coffee flavour to home baking

Notice the label.  Scottish soldier in a kilt, being served by native camp-wallah
Ah, those were the days, thousands of Scots killed for Empire and Glory.
But at least we were better than the poor bloody natives

I remember the advent of Instant Coffee, when Nestlé started selling Nescafé.  It was the only coffee I tasted for many years.

Percolated coffee became popular at Dinner Parties in the 70s (Dinner Parties sounds very posh, but all it meant was some family and friends coming to tea) we had a Russell Hobs electric percolator, but the coffee always taste a bit anaemic to me, and always with a burnt flavour.

The Russel Hobbs Percolator

It wasn't until Starbucks started taking off in Scotland that I began to really acquire a taste for the stuff.  I always started the day with a cup of tea, but had a coffee at lunchtime, and Starbucks was the best.

But what a revelation when I came out to NZ, and settled in Wellington.  NZ really has an excellent café culture.  Every little place seems to vie with the opposition to produce the best.  And the types; Flat White, Latté, Long Black, Short Black were all new to me.  Then I found I could ask for them with a "double shot" of coffee extract.  my favourite became a large flat white with a double shot.

In school however, these exotic types we're not really available. We did have a little coffee making machine in the corner, but it just takes too long.  When you've got 20 minutes between classes, and 5 of them have already been used in having a chat with some troubled kids, and you've got a patrolling duty to do, then we don't just have the time to make or savour the coffee experience.  Instant was the way to go.

Time, always time

Over the past 7 years, I've built up a bad coffee habit.

I have a mug at breakfast (large mug, 3 spoonfuls)
Another mug after relief has been set at school. (4 spoonfuls, as they're quite small spoons)
Another mug at morning break
Another mug at lunch
Another mug when we finish, but before the meetings start
Another mug after the meetings
Another mug after I get the relief set, and before I go home.

I don't really enjoy all the mugs of double strength coffee, it's just an established routine.  I do enjoy the first 2 cups of each day though, they really get me started in the morning.

Shakes?  What shakes?

I've gotten used to going to the toilet 4 or 5 times a day
I've gotten used to the slight hand tremblors
I've gotten used to the slight crankiness in the afternoon (Although my pupils uses a slightly different phrasing.  "Bad tempered old bastard" I think they said.  Such compliments no longer make me proud, I've been teaching for far to long)
I've gotten used to the occasional cardiac palpitations which hit me at odd times.
The bad breath, stained teeth and headaches were all a part of my life.

Another grumpy old bastard

Now my doctor says I have to stop.  Something about extreme hypertension.  Bloody doctors, they take the enjoyment out of everything.

I wonder if they sell insulated hip flasks?  I could get at least 1 mug of 6 times concentrated coffee in a small flask.

Or would it be better to just stick to whisky?

If the kids thought I was  bad tempered old bastard before, just wait until I have to go cold turkey.


That's the only thing that's cheering me up
I'll scare the sh*t out of them



  1. I've removed Angry Jesus'scomments because they were crap.
    I've also indicated to the Blog Machine that Angry Jesus is a spammer.

    Bye bye AJ

  2. Swark! What's up Twisted? Will there be No Comments next, like how Second finished up?
    Next thing you'll be instructing servants to chase me away.

  3. {SINGS}

    Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam. SPAM WONDERFUL SPAAAAAMMM.........

    Your Gaff - Your Rules Boss.

    I love a good coffee but hate those coffee house nazis who make you buy coffee by the bucket - Grande? {do you even care how big a human bladder actually is Mr Starbuck?} I hate the 'we have to talk it up' language behind it too. {Tall/Medio} It's great coffee, sure. It's great to do it well, but come on..... 'Baristas? Really? Are joiners 'wood solution process implementation managers'?

    Get a grip.

    Sorry - shouldn't be ranting on someone elses blog without invitation.

  4. I agree.
    I get really pissed off with these coffee houses where their offerings start with medium or something similar. I want small Ok? Give me a sensible start point and not make me feel like a social misfit by not ordering the 'regular' which is about two sizes too big for me.

  5. Corbius: Remember the automatic shotgun? Anyone can post comments. They can be amusing, insightful, abusive, mildly pornographic, insulting, disgusting. I don't mind as long as certain minimal standards of decency and language are adhered to. But they can't be boring. So when AJ posted a comment consisting of about 100 instances of "crap" and nothing else, he had to go. Maybe if he appologises I'll let him back.

    Alistair: I actually like Spam fritters. Yes, I'd forgotten about the size wars. I can't remember how many times I've left ½ a cup (actually a small bucket) of coffee because I couldn't physically drink any more.
    I don't mind the rant. Ranting is good.Ranting keeps us sane. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    TC: WHen you've finished "school" and start selling houses, remember your comment. Big is Bad. Seriously though, do you mean to say that there are times when you don't feel like a social misfit?



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