Am I Weird?

12 Jul


A national newspaper once pilloried me for saving money, suggesting I was careful to the point of mean.  We never buy that paper and we never speak its name, so I can’t tell you which one it was.  When my poetry book is e-published and goes viral, doing for rhyme and form what Fifty Shades of Grey has done for mommy porn, I will refuse to allow it to be serialised in that particular paper.  So there!

The thrust of their argument was that I re-use teabags and therefore I am a heinous person.  They conned me into posing with used tea bags on my washing line, claiming it was ‘a light-hearted piece’.  And so it was, if by ‘light-hearted’ they meant, ‘vicious to the point of stabbing her in the heart with a teaspoon.’ But I’m not bitter, unlike that editor’s soul.

I do re-use tea bags.  I don’t hang them on the washing line.  Here’s how it works:

I drink milk, water, the occasional glass of wine or Dandelion & Burdock, and Earl Grey Tea.  I drink tea all day long.  I like tea; it’s refreshing.  I don’t do drugs, snue gliffing or alcohol to excess so, in the scheme of things, it’s not a dangerous addiction.  I’m not likely to mug a granny for the price of a china cup of char.  I don’t get high on bergamot & lemon fumes.  I refuse to apologise or stand up at the TA* and declare, ‘My name is Tilly.  I am a tea-drinker.’

* Tea-drinkers Anonymous; not the Territorial Army.  I’m hardly likely to wander into barracks and declare ‘I drink tea,’ am I?  Not if I’ve had my regular doses, anyway.

[276/365] DSC_1914

[276/365] DSC_1914 (Photo credit: knowinspiration)

We are on a minuscule budget and fifty Twinings Earl Grey Decaffeinated teabags cost around £3.59.  That’s more than seven pence a cup!  

I drink an average ten cups a day. Seventy pence a day x seven days a week x four weeks a month x thirteen months a year because four weeks x twelve months adds up to only forty-eight weeks and I’m not giving tea up for a day, never mind a whole imaginary month = £254.80.

I know I could use that money to go on holiday or buy gifts for my boys or pay my gas bill (it hasn’t stopped raining since last September; of course I’ve got my heating on in July), but I won’t.  And you can’t make me.

I drink decaff after noon and regular before noon, and the regular is a little cheaper; but if I drank regular Earl Grey all day I’d get no sleep and start writing daft posts about ordinary things, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?

I drink my Earl Grey black.  I drink ordinary tea with milk, not too weak, not too strong, no sugar, not too milky, just so you know when I visit you.  I’m easy to please, so long as you make it exactly how I like it.

Black Earl Grey is strong.  I don’t like strong tea; I’m not that northern.  Making my tea is a matter of pour, wiggle, remove.  Around a third of its natural strength.  That’s two-thirds of a tea bag unused.  In this – or any – economy, that’s a scandalous waste of money.  Would you throw away two thirds of the contents of your tea box?  Of course not.

Excuse the blurry photos – I’m useless before the third cup of tea.

This is what I do every morning when I get up:

  • Put the kettle on (filling only to the required level; don’t waste energy, water and money by over-filling the kettle).
  • Set out three cups – one wide; one large; one small.
  • Make the first brew in the wide cup: pour, wiggle, remove.  It cools quickly, giving me an immediate fix.
  • Put used bag in large cup.
  • Make the second brew with breakfast – pour, wiggle-iggle, remove.  A large cup, to wash down the meal; not wide, or it would cool before I’ve finished eating and it has to be drunk at just the right temperature: not too hot, not too cold.
  • Put used bag in small cup.
  • Make the third brew around ten.  A small cup, because the tea is beginning to lose its strength.   Pour, leave to stand for a minute, double wiggle, squeeze, remove tea bag to food recycling box.

There’s nothing weird about that, is there?

Why don’t you visit me, and we’ll discuss it over a nice cup of tea?



26 Responses to “Am I Weird?”

  1. creatingreciprocity July 12, 2012 at 11:21 #

    Fifty Shades of Earl Grey – a raunchy novel about a poet and the aristocratic lover she discovers is really an old bag…


  2. vivinfrance July 12, 2012 at 11:48 #

    Just because we like builder’s tea, doesn’t mean I criticise those who like weak EG, like my daughter. She also re-uses teabags. I don’t like Earl Grey at all – to me it tastes like bathsalts smell! I’ll bring my own when I come.


  3. boomiebol July 12, 2012 at 12:17 #

    You just like your tea, nothing weird there 🙂


  4. petradragon July 12, 2012 at 12:19 #

    Spooky!! At least I know now I am not alone in tea-bag reuse. Never mind the northerners drinking strong tea; I thought it was because I was mean! 😀


  5. mairedubhtx July 12, 2012 at 13:36 #

    Although someone may come to my house and question me about this, I must say that your explanation makes a lot of sense. I drink a lot of iced tea in cans that can be bought on sale (when else is there?) for 4 for $3 at Walgreens for the Diet Green Tea with Ginseng. But I digress. If I were a hot tea drinker, I would probably do exactly what you do, since I love Earl Grey but don’t like my tea too strong and like hot tea with milk and sugar (bizarre here in the States; the restaurants look at you funny when you ask for milk instead of lemon). So, no in my humble opinion which is not really so humble, you aren’t weird, which is what I meant to say.


  6. adinparadise July 12, 2012 at 13:58 #

    When I saw your title, my immediate response was, “Yes.” 😉 On reading your tea bag saga, I thought, “Actually, Tilly is a very sensible woman. ” 😉


  7. katharinetrauger July 12, 2012 at 14:31 #

    Ay! Dear, you are your funniest when you are being totally normal. I am still laughing so excuse any typos, in advance!
    LOTS of people reuse teabags. To hide the fact, we make a 4-serving pot with one bag and keep it cozy from wake-up ’til breakfast. It’s quite adequate for our tastes. However, when I’m feeling totally miserly, I use 1 teaspoon loose tea in that pot, which has a strainer built into the spout, and sip through my teeth to catch the escaped crumbles. It’s how folks always did it in the good old days. We grew up drinking tea before bed, just a half teaspoon in the cup, lotsa water and sugar. Then we’d stare at the leavings and wonder how people could read anything there. 😉


  8. laurieanichols July 12, 2012 at 14:54 #

    I don’t think that the paper gave you the credit that you deserve for being a sensible, logical, innovative lady. I too love Earl Grey and I drink it as you do. Moreover I would probably drink as much or even more, but since I am not as committed as you I drink coffee black and a whole pot of it which is about 10 cups. You are brilliant Tilly


  9. granny1947 July 12, 2012 at 15:07 #

    No you aren’t weird…I think that is so clever.


  10. sanstorm July 12, 2012 at 15:33 #

    Earl grey? Beurgh. It’s a sign of poshness up here. Tastes like washing up liquid to me, but I can choke it back in polite company.

    But I like my tea. Yes I do.


  11. Three Well Beings July 12, 2012 at 16:16 #

    I feel the need to stand up at a meeting and announce, “Hello, my name is Debra, and I’m a wasteful American who doesn’t do justice to a cup of tea.” I don’t think you’re weird…I think I should be more mindful! I’ve never done the math before. Just think what I can do with the money I’ll save…maybe I can afford to import Maltesers? I’ve never had one of those either! 🙂 D


  12. Pseu July 12, 2012 at 17:14 #

    I suggest loose leaf tea and one of these….


  13. Elaine July 12, 2012 at 17:18 #

    I, too, am a tea bag re-user. I like Twining’s Peppermint Tea, and since I keep the teabag in the cup for far less than the recommended time, I manage to get 2 or sometimes 3 cups out of it. I don’t think you are weird at all – I’d say you are normal! 🙂


  14. Hattie July 12, 2012 at 17:31 #

    I applaud you! Let’s hear it for frugality.


  15. heylookawriterfellow July 12, 2012 at 17:38 #

    I expect that kind of behavior from Americans such as myself — though I would never dare reuse a teabag as it infringes on my God-given right to be a wasteful pig.

    When an English person does such a thing, however, it seems scandalous.


  16. gigihawaii July 12, 2012 at 18:00 #

    I have never gotten used to tea, but do love to drink coffee. However, I wouldn’t dream of reusing the coffee grinds. Lol.


  17. kiwidutch July 12, 2012 at 18:43 #

    Like adinparadise I was tempted after reading the title of your post to just jump straight to the comments and write “yes!”.
    After reading all of the post though I’m impressed (even though I only drink Rooibos tea and find EG and all other regular tea beyond disgusting.. more power to ya for being able to drink the stuff in the first place LOL)
    Conservation and thrift like this is a very Dutch trait… (Dutch are tight on many levels but reusing coffee grounds or diluting the strength of their coffee isn’t one of them, that would be sacrilege) … for any tea drinkers amongst them I *could* see this… are you sure you don’t have any Dutch relatives?


  18. judithatwood July 12, 2012 at 21:00 #

    You are perfectly normal to me, but then, I’m crazy, so how should I know? 😎


  19. idiosyncratic eye July 12, 2012 at 23:03 #

    Reusing your teabags makes perfect sense to me, economically and notwithstanding the fact that we’re always being encouraged to be ‘green’. Although I’m not sure whether it’s recycling or upcycling! My mother drinks ridiculously weak Earl Grey Tea, my father called it Gnat’s Pee. 😉


  20. Gabrielle Bryden July 13, 2012 at 00:17 #

    I would say that your use, use again, and use again of the tea back shows a remarkable degree of lateral thinking and creativity – you need to be the next Prime Minister 🙂


  21. grannymar July 13, 2012 at 11:42 #

    I am not a tea drinker, but my mother drank tea for Ireland! It was loose tea in a large cup with saucer. With time she gave way to using a mug…. but it had to be fine porcelain. Tea bags slowly took over and once removed from the cup, she cooled them and later used them damp to rest her eyes.


  22. bluebee July 13, 2012 at 12:28 #

    I’ll bring my stash of Earl Grey when I pop in (can’t stand the stuff) for a mug of 5-minute brewed Ceylon back tea with lots of milk, no sugar



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I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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