Friday, 6 January 2012

Can the Perfect Cuppa Bring More People to Our Lady of Walsingham?

Before I go any further I should say that it is well known I like a pint of Brains and the occasional wee tot of whisky. Just in case anyone thinks I am a teetotal joyless Presbyterian or "drink from the wrong tap" if you get my meaning.

Now that my credentials are established, I can safely say I like a nice cup of tea. Not as much as some Northerners (Lancastrians and Yorkshiremen) I know, who could drink tea as an Olympic sport. But you know what it's like: you get in from a windswept walk with an excitable Patch the dog, a hectic shopping expedition (telling Mrs H "we/you/I don't need that/those/them" or "what do we/you/I need those/them/that for?"- so she doesn't take me too often), from mind numbing queueing in banks etc. etc. and the first thing Mrs H says is "I'll put the kettle on" or "let's have a nice cup of tea."

It's all so very civilised. I think only Shane McGowan would get in from the shops or a walk on the beach (if he does anything so normal) and pour a whisky. For the rest of us a cuppa will suffice.

We all of us have to discover certain things in life. Of course there are the absolutes that so many search for, and sadly because of the wet-flannel nature of too many Bishops and the kum-by-ya-ification of the Church since the 60s too many people flirt with New Age beliefs, Buddhism, the Kabbalah, Islam and a veritable Heinz 57 varieties of spirituality, when we all know that Jesus Christ established His 'One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church' on the rock of St Peter as the first Pope.

But once you have that sorted (and you better had!) we can all worry about other things. Brains for beer. Clarks for pies. M&S for bundies. Cardiff for football. Oh you know how it goes.

So as life goes along we gather to ourselves our favourite things. Most of us need comforts in this "vale of tears" (which is why family is so important) and there can be little more that provides so much of a prop as a "nice cup of tea" as any writer of modern drama would tell you.

And it is in this sphere of such trivial importance, that I can announce the best cup of tea to be had. We (Mrs H and I) have tried allsorts (no, not liquorice tea!) in our quest for the perfect cuppa. From top notch "English Breakfast Teas" and even the absurd flavours of Earl Grey and green teas, to the cheap end of the value blue stripey 100 for 40p strained dishwater types.

After much deliberation we have got our bestest tea for the bestest cuppa in Hurley Towers: Glengettie!

I dunno why it works so well, why it's better than Typhoo, Yorkshire Tea, Twinings or even Asda Own Brand. But it does, and it is.

So my advice, if you live in a civilised area that doesn't have awful hard water (like London), try Glengettie Tea. I'm having one right now in my Hilaire Belloc mug and it is a very ennobling experience.

Belloc said: “Is there no Latin word for Tea? Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone” but then he was always a Francophone. Perhaps it is in reaching out for tea (albeit a Welsh one, and I do use the term advisedly) that we reach out to our Anglican neighbours, especially as many of them are converting to Catholicism via the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

If they learn that Catholics drink more tea than whisky, then they may be happy to convert. When they find out that we may have dogma and infallibility, but we also have tea and biscuits, then they might understand that Catholicism isn't some "foreign thing," but as Welsh (oh OK, and English) as a nice cup of tea.

Oscar Wilde once said that the Catholic Church is for saints and sinners, for everyone else there is Anglicanism. It is widely rumoured that this world renowned sinner converted before his death, and we all know there is "more joy in heaven" over one conversion... but I'm sure there are plenty of Anglican saints and sinners who like a nice cup of tea, and now they know Glengettie is the cuppa to have, now that dilemma is sorted, they can resolve to convert and come back to the barque of Peter where they truly belong.

Not some much as "more tea vicar?" as "another Glengettie Father?"


  1. A Lancastrian living in an area of awful hard water writes:

    "I had to persuade my Welsh in-laws to buy Glengettie in cash and carry quantities until I persuaded supermarkets here to stock it. Having learned to drink Glengettie, I will drink no other tea from choice."

  2. I think that a pint of Rev James would get them flocking to Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan!


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