There is something particularly peaceful about making a cup of loose leaf tea. It makes the process slower, in both the physical and figurative sense, and somewhat more special. For me, it always resurfaces memories of my time in Durham a couple of years ago. Living in a crumbling house on the cobbles behind the cathedral and studying in a Hogwarts-esque college building, my life was the epitome of cosy and slow. Waking up, I would peer out of my window to see students rushing in and out of college buildings, and tourists wandering around, admiring the picturesque buildings on the Bailey. With grey skies and fallen leaves, the atmosphere was autumnal and idyllic in every sense.
Nestled in the north of England with few friends and a highly introverted nature, weekends were spent exploring the quaint city centre before coming home to cosy afternoons in my old-fashioned room. I would make a cup of apple & elderflower tea and settle in for a few hours of reading, catching up on my favourite shows and painting with watercolours. Looking back at those unspoiled weekends, I strangely miss the little town that was my home for almost a year. While these moments were special and ones that I will always remember, the rest of my time in Durham wasn’t so seamless. I struggled living in such a tiny – almost claustrophobic – place, missing the open-minded personalities of my friends back home and the general lack of judgement that I became accustomed to during my undergraduate years in Bristol. Durham was a whole different world that I never somehow managed to grasp.
Standing in the kitchen of my family home two years later, these memories resurfaced as I poured hot water over a fresh scoop of tea leaves, taking me back to those slow weekends of self-discovery. I’m happy that I had the chance to live in such an idyllic place – and that I somehow made it through the second half when the cosiness and quaint charm of the city began to simmer away, like the heat rising from a cup of tea on a cold, crisp autumn afternoon.
Is there anything in your everyday life that takes you back to a particular memory?