If you’ve learnt anything about me by now, it’s that I leave no pun unturned. And so it is that we wake up to 0715 ‘Bed Tea’ at the Norwood plantation bungalow that’s been turned into a 6-room boutique hotel by a company that’s owned by Dilmah, the biggest tea brand in Australia and New Zealand (but weirdly not in Sri Lanka). Already I’ve swooned over the big baths and four-poster beds, the croquet set and the High Tea, the all-inclusive rate which means we sink cold Rosé like the lushes we are (talking about me and the kids – Adam and the nanny are Methodist teetotallers)*.
But ‘Bed Tea’ just about puts the tin lid on it. Eee by gum. By heck. Hecky thump. My Yorkshire (and Bedfordshire) forebears would turn green with envy in their graves if they could see me now. A person delivers a pot of Ceylon, a china cup and saucer, a jug of cold milk and a shiny shiny little spoon to the chest at the end of the bed, pours it and scoots out again. It’s like a miracle. A human teas-made but a million times better. There’s even a small plunger of coffee for Adam but he doesn’t seem to rate the whole thing that much. Maybe I’m overestimating it? Like hell I am. It’s BED TEA. Wars have been fought and won over less beautiful phenomena.
I start the day like someone who’s just had their first bonk: starry-eyed and moony about the general loveliness of the world. It’s kinda drizzly and a bit grey in tea country but I care not. In fact it takes me all my efforts not to skip around in the drizzle singing ‘I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy!’ The reason I have to definitely definitely NOT do this is that the ‘guy’ is Sanath with the Bed Tea and it wouldn’t do for Adam to twig.
The hotel arranges a tour of the tea factory belonging to a neighbouring plantation – Dunkeld. It’s so cool to go round a factory that processes the stuff that literally grows on it’s doorstep. I’ve drunk 5 cups of tea minimum pretty much every day of my life and yet I had no real clue how it was processed. It involves a bit of drying, a bit of scrunching, a bit of shudder-wudder-shaky-waky, a bit of sifty-wifty, some gradey-wadey and finally some packy-wacky.
That’s Ed in the tasting room at the end, drinking 5 cups of Broken Orange Pekoe. He was on a proper caffeine jag afterwards but in an entirely un-psychotic way. That’s the great thing about tea – it doesn’t give you the jitters but you get the buzz. It’s Granny-Gak, Nana-Nose, Crone-Coke. Drink enough of the stuff and you’ll fly through an afternoon of croquet and still have energy for a vigorous game of Bingo.
Tea Trails Norwood also has the most unfeasible bamboo, best used as a backdrop for photographing Jamie doing pool stunts, with her unfeasibly long legs.
* 50% Fake News: Adam and Emily aren’t actually Methodist teetotallers, they just know all the hymns.