Re-seal to keep your tea bags fresh

As those of you who read my blog from time to time will know, I’m a bit of a fan (other words could be fanatic or, if you want to be really mean, nerd) of Tetley tea bags – and I don’t even get free supplies from them!

And, thanks to J (again), I have a huge (well 160) pack of said tea bags. Actually it’s really a pack of 80 but with 100% EXTRA FREE which makes it a pack of 160 in my book.

I’ve been using these for years. I don’t know how many, but it was when we lived in Woonton so at least 6 or so.

And they have come in the same blue pack from, well, as long as I can remember. In fact, I cannot remember life without these tea bags or the blue pack that they come in. Mind you, I am now approaching the age where I forget most things that are, let’s face it, completely unimportant.

One of the “features” of the pack is that the top, once opened, folds back and there is a strip of tape (for want of a better word – well, I do want a better word but I have noticed that, these days, I seem to be losing any skill that I previously had with the English language – the great shame being that my skill with the Italian language is not increasing at anywhere near the same rate as the decrease in skill for English – whoops, I probably shouldn’t have said that in case I want to teach English again) on which the words in title are printed. It’s sticky tape and on this latest pack it is clear tape (apart from the words printed). Oh yes, it also says “LIFT HERE” on the other part of the tape and has an arrow pointing to the edge of the tape which, I guess, they need now that the tape is transparent.

What a wonderful invention it is. You can open your pack of bags as many times as you like, take out a tea bag (or, if you don’t have any boiling water, sniff the contents in the hope of getting the same high) and then re-seal it.

Only one slight problem. The sticky part of this sticky tape works only for so long. If you’re really lucky, twice. But normally not even once. Thereby making the whole thing a waste of time, money and, in particular, effort on my part, to stick the opening down.

So, message to Tetley – either put some real sticky stuff on the tape or just don’t bother. What I find really annoying is that, in spite of the fact that I know it does not ‘stick’ anymore, I still attempt to stick it down every time until there are only about 5 tea bags left, at which point, there really is no point in trying to keep the tea bags fresh.

Having said all that, the rate at which I am going through them I shall have finished them all before the freshness inside notices that there is chance to hot-foot it out of there.

On a different note, it has been a beautiful day today. Quite warm and reminding one of Spring. But don’t be fooled, I’m sure that next week or the week after there will be a cold snap with frost and snow. At least we are out of the 10 days of rain which is something.


Now, of course, I’m feeling hungry. At the moment, as I write this (it’s 2.15 p.m.), my mind flicks over between a nice panini (of course, I should correctly say panino since I am only thinking about one…, come to think of it, my mistake was putting the word ‘a’ in front of nice panini) to a plate of pasta. And then, A, bless her, has suggested we meet with her and another friend, B, for a Thai next week (and by that I mean, of course, dinner in a Thai restaurant – not some random person from the Thailand).

Of course, this is entirely all of my own doing – me feeling hungry, that is. I have noticed that, in the last few years a number of things are happening. None of them are really good but I put a brave face on them by saying something like ‘well, I am quite old now’ or ‘at my age why should I bother about that’.

I lie, not only to myself, but also to others, including V but V never reads the blog so I can mention it here.

So, I am not eating anything for lunch. Now, those of you who know me and, in particular, have worked with me, will know that I never really ‘did’ lunch. Lunch was for wimps. Actually, so was breakfast. The only time I ever did lunch was when I had to for business purposes and the only time I did both was when I was on holiday or stayed in a hotel for business purposes.

Not a new thing. I started this at the age of 14 (so more than a couple of years ago). You see, by that time I was hooked on the smoking thing. And, at 14, we moved to a new house and so, to a new school. The fantastic thing about this school was that, at the start of each week, we were given money to purchase tickets for lunch (we used to call it dinner money – strange that, since it was for lunch and not dinner).

But, of course, I soon learned that if I didn’t use the money for dinner I could go into the town and buy something that I really wanted – so that would be cigarettes, then!

And that continued for the rest of my life until …. we came to Italy and, more specifically, when I started this job. The problem was that I used to teach here. I used to do a class in the morning and another after lunch and they gave me free lunch and, since most of my classes seemed to revolve around food (important for both me and every Italian), the offer of a free lunch in the canteen here was really not something I could (or could be seen to) pass up. The other problem is that, on some level, it is still like I’m on holiday – but all the time.

And now I work here. And the canteen is good. It’s not a five-star restaurant, but G (the cook) does fabulous meals.

So, I always have the pasta course and the main course.

And there’s the rub. Because then I go home and we have a meal similar to those we had in the UK (in terms of the amount, not the quality).

Unsurprisingly, I have gained a little weight. Well, that’s true up to a certain point. Not only have I gained a little weight but it seems my body has decided to redistribute itself. Weight (fat or muscle, it’s difficult to remember what it was really) from my top half is going with gravity whilst weight from my bottom half is defying gravity.

They are meeting in the middle. Not really very good. This wasn’t supposed to happen until I was, say, about 70! And others can say that I don’t look my age, but when I look at myself and the redistribution that has occurred, I think only of my grandfather who is (was) always in his 70’s – in my mind. He had the same problem – but, then, he was 70+, for God’s sake!

So, now, I’ve gone from not having lunch (well, hardly ever) to having lunch every day to not having lunch every day. Providing that I don’t go anywhere near the canteen and cannot smell the food cooking, I am fine (more or less).

This week I have done really well. I had lunch on Wednesday. This was a determined effort by me since last week I ended up having lunch every day – and my stomach didn’t shrink. So, this week only Wednesday. To be honest, Monday was easy, Tuesday less so and Wednesday I gave in.

S came back from lunch and said that the lunch was OK (actually, Friday is not my favourite day, the choice is not so good) and I felt rather proud of myself that I had only had one lunch this week. And then that made me think of food and then I felt hungry. Oh yes, and I can’t get rid of the pictures of the very nice salami that is currently in the fridge and I even started thinking about having lunch tomorrow by having some of that salami!

People here have suggested that I only have one course in the canteen or have a salad. But I just can’t do it. G and P are so nice and although I have managed to get them to give me less, it is impossible for me to say no.

And this has been the most dreadful, rambling blog post that I think I have ever done. For which I apologise.

P.s. as I’m posting this, S has just offered me a small piece of chocolate, which, to be polite, I did not refuse ;-).

Crisis Over, for now

Many thanks to J, a colleague of V’s, who, yesterday, gave V 160 Tetley tea bags. Hurrah! Obviously they won’t last forever but at least I should be alright for a bit.

Sunday was the start of Men’s Fashion Week. A rang to say she had been to the Dolce and Gabbana or Versace show (I forget which) where a male model (apparently famous but I have no idea who it was) was signing a pair of men’s underpants should you buy a pair. Apparently, he was acting like Father Christmas and allowing the person having their pants signed, to sit on his knee. A and her Texan friend were tempted. Later when they were about to go they noticed that he was surrounded by gay men. Quell surprise!

For me, Fashion Week is less about fashion and more about traffic. Traffic and parking. The lesser shows are put on in available spaces – and some of the available space is in my area, so the traffic becomes unbearable and the parking non-existent.

I feel dreadful, though, that I missed both Beyonce and the Spice Girls. Well, no, that’s a lie. I don’t feel dreadful at all. And, as I’m rushing from my car to get out of the cold and rain, a nice warm house and a glass of wine seem so much more inviting.

Cry for Help – no Tetley’s tea-bags left!; Missing Christmas Cards; Ecopass (part 3)

Urgent cry for help! I have finished all my Tetley tea-bags (you know, the round ones that come in a blue packet). I still have a few nice ones which are free-trade ones from the Hay Festival – but only about 5. This means I won’t last the week out. Does anyone know how I can get hold of some in Milan? I’m afraid that tea here is far too weak, whereas Tetley round ones do the trick perfectly.

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Hearing from old friends; Sunday Lunch; the Sales in Milan

It was nice to hear that M & B had had a nice time visiting A in Canada. Here, we have fireworks making all the noise and there, they have pots and pans being banged and car horns blaring. Seems like it’s only the UK that celebrates New Year more quietly (although I am aware that, these days, there are more fireworks than there used to be).

Friends are starting to arrive back from their celebrations in the South (or Paris, for some). So this weekend was doing some catching up with some friends. Saturday, V was working so we only went out in the evening but, yesterday, we did Sunday Lunch for some friends and eat the Christmas Pudding that V had been given, as Christmas Day we had gone out for lunch.

The Sunday Lunch started at just after 2 p.m. and finished (with a short shopping break) at about 11.30 p.m. This is the way Sunday Lunch should be. Long, leisurely affairs; much food (Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Horseraddish Sauce, etc.; Christmas Pudding and Brandy Sauce; Cheese) and some very good wine. And, although we drank quite a lot, because it was spread over so many hours, it didn’t cause us to suffer at all.

V wanted me to get a shirt (like one of the ones I gave as a present to V for Christmas) – but now it’s the Sales (they started on Saturday). I knew the shop (TerraNova) was in Via Torino but V informed me that they also had a shop on Corso Buenos Aires. So, I braved the rain (for it was truly miserable) to walk up there. When I got there, having dodged the many umbrellas, carried by short people but unaware, it seemed, that their umbrellas can only be described as lethal weapons and the general Italian way of not seeming to see you (i.e. they just keep on walking quite unconcerned that bumping into you or not moving out of the way is NOT acceptable to English people), I found that this shop only sold half the stuff of the other one. And although I was only out of the house about 20 minutes in total I really had had enough, so texted that I was sorry but I just couldn’t do it.

I am not a fan of shopping at the best of times but, in miserable weather, crowds of people and sales – it’s just pure torture for me.

According to S (with whom I work and is a bit of a bargain hunter – worse than V), the time to hit the Sales here, in Milan is the first weekend and then the last few days (in about a month’s time). The first few days allow you to get the best stuff and then it’s all rubbish until the last few days when the best bargains (i.e. the most discount is applied) are to be found.

So, if you were thinking of coming over for the Sales, I suggest you wait, now, until the end of January/beginning of February.

Dreaming in a Dreamworld; Last few days.

Does anyone else feel that they’re in some sort of dream? It’s how I feel quite often. Like this morning. Driving to work, our first day back, felt somewhat surreal. I am constantly amazed that I get in the car and, well, just drive the thing. I don’t have an accident; nothing happens; I just drive.

And that got me to thinking: Living here often feels like some sort of dream. I almost expect to wake up soon.

But, is it normal? I never really felt like this when I was in the UK. Perhaps it’s just because I live here?

New Year was another ‘dream-like’ situation. We went to friends for a very, very nice dinner. Plenty of wine; good food; good company. We decided not to go to the Castle in Milan to see the fireworks; it was far too cold. But at midnight, we went outside (careful to avoid the fireworks being thrown from balconies) and lit our own fireworks. A group of kids lit theirs. Fireworks going off everywhere. Then we went back inside to more wine and more conversation. All in all, a perfect New Year. I have never enjoyed the New Year so much as since we moved here. Every single one I remember well and have enjoyed so much.

Yesterday evening we were at some friends’ house for drinks and, again, had a very pleasant evening

But now it’s back to work and the normal stuff. However, I can come back to work bright and happy after a wonderful Christmas and New Year and looking forward to this year when so many special events will be happening*.

So Happy New Year. I hope many good things happen for you during 2008.

Update: * Little did I know what those Special events would, actually, be!  They certainly weren’t the ones I thought would be happening!