At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
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Saturday, May 21, 2016


This evening I shall drink naught but tea. Specifically, Iron Guanyin (鐵觀音 'tit kun yam') brewed in a squatty globe I-Hsing stoneware pot (宜興茶壺 'yi heng chaa wu') with a lovely bamboo motif (竹形 'juk ying'). No whisky at all. I have stopped dropping by the Oxxy regularly on a Saturday night, because smoking two or three more pipes than one should with people screaming at the telly is not, strictly speaking, conducive to mental health, and leaves the mouth feeling like something died violently in there when one wakes up.
Instead, I will have lots of tea, and be wired to the tits.
I shall probably have interesting dreams.

[One really cannot have a conversation with people who are enjoying a sports game; their minds are affected by the flickering lights on screen and energetic behaviour of the athletes, they quiver and spasm in sync with events, twitching and drooling, and are given to startlingly inane statements like "did you see that play", "I parked my car", "oop ack", and "I'm voting for Trump". There is no logic to it. Then they scratch their privates, and giggle sickeningly.
It's like dealing with room full of teenagers coming off a Ritalin jag.]

There are nearly three dozen tea pots in this apartment.
Most of them purple sand (紫砂 'ji saa') I-Hsing.
Yes, I am a bit obsessive; it's good for you.

The Oxxy is still one of my favourite haunts, but given a choice between no conversation at all surrounded by very loud junior executives, OR no conversation at all while the sound of gentle snoring emanates from my apartment mate's bedroom, barely audible, you can easily understand why the latter appeals.

Occasionally I hear thumps as she attempts to fight a mosquito.

If I light snow pear incense (雪梨香 'suet-lei heung') or agar wood (aquilaria sinensis: 沈香 'jam heung'), the thumps will continue, and be augmented be swearing, because that will drive any mosquito out of my quarters into hers. She tastes far sweeter to the beasties than I do, and has not yet realized that I have a wickedness which lets me keenly enjoy her frustration.
Thump, thump, thump, gerdammittall!

If you want to avoid mosquitoes, you should strive to become a middle-aged white pipe-smoker, and have a Chinese American non-smoking female apartment mate.

She has a mosquito net in there, but they still attempt their assaults.

I have not put up my mosquito net in years.

In addition to a multiplicity of tea pots, I also have numerous tea bowls.
Some porcelain ones made by master potter Hsin-chuen Lin (林新春), both rabbits' fur glaze (兔毫 'tou hou') and oil-spot (油點 'yau tim'; 天目 'tin muk'), as well as favourite items by other potters.

[On second thought, maybe I will head down to the Oxxy, after whatever sporting event has been well and done for an hour or so. The septic overflow may have ebbed by then.]

If I am still up by two A.M., there is a good likelihood that I will smoke a bowlfull of Orlik's Golden Sliced, a flake with a soft enough smell that she will not notice it while she sleeps, but which is extremely satisfying.
Whether it drives mosquitoes away I do not yet know.
But I will probably find out.


Years ago one of my favourite green teas (清茶 'jing chaa'; 綠茶 'lok chaa') was Pi Lo Chun (碧螺春 'pik lok chun'; "jade snail springtime"), along with Lung Ching (龍井 'long jeng'; "dragon wells") and MaoFeng (毛峰 'mou fung'; "hairy peak"). Nowadays I tend toward somewhat darker brews, often hydrating during the day with several cups of Pu Er (普洱 'pou nei'), and having Assam (阿薩姆 'aa saat mou') and Ceylon (錫蘭紅 'sek laan hong') in the evening. But among my favourites since the beginning are semi-ferments (半發酵的 'pun faat gaau de') like Wu Yi (武夷 'mou yi'; "warlike tribals") or Oolong (烏龍 'wu long'), as well as fun oddities like the Hairy Crab King (毛蟹王 'mou haai wong') and White Fuzz (白毫 'paak hou').

As a youngster, I would often drink Earl Grey (格雷伯爵茶 'gaak leui baak juk chaa'), but that no longer suits me much.

On days off, I will often have a cup of Hong Kong Style Milktea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai chaa'). Before lighting up my pipe.

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