20 of the worst things when making tea

worst tea thingsThere are a lot of things that can go wrong when you’re making a couple of tea. These are some of the worst things that I’ve encountered in my years of tea drinking. This list should go some way to teaching others to avoid making some of the same mistakes I have.  Some of these merely waste your time, others waste valuable resources, such as teabags or milk. All of them, however, have the potential to inspire that most soul crushing feeling: dashing your hopes of having a cup of tea.

Please note these points mostly assume a traditional mug of tea making process, involving a teabag and water in a mug and a splash of milk. There would be additional points typical to those who use a teapot or sugar.

The worst things when making tea

  1. Leaving the tea brewing, going away to do other tasks and returning only when the water is at its stagnant cold worst.
  2. Waiting for the tea to brew, performing other tasks, only to come back and find that you never put the water in the cup.
  3. Attempting to tear two joined teabags apart, only to rip one or both bags and spill the leaves.
  4. Preparing your cup, kettle and milk and discovering there are no teabags left.
  5. Brewing your tea and then discovering there is no milk left.
  6. Pouring water into the cup only to realise you forgot to boil the kettle.
  7. Pouring water into the cup only to discover the teabag has split.
  8. Pouring the kettle too soon, and having the steam rise back over your hand.
  9. Looking away for a moment and turning back to see you’ve added too much milk.
  10. Looking away for a moment and turning back to see you weren’t pouring the water, or milk, into the cup at all. But onto the work surface.
  11. Realising too late that the milk is off. Either as you see the freshly brewed tea populated by unnatural solid white lumps, or, worse, as you take your first sip with the one-two punch of the stench of rot and the taste of festering wounds.
  12. Leaving a spoon in the cup while the tea brews, and attempting to take it out only to discover it has become extremely hot.
  13. Stirring the tea too quickly and causing it to spill.
  14. Picking up your tea but catching your arm or finger on an unseen obstacle, spilling everything.
  15. Removing your hand from the cup handle, but not realising one finger is still partially hooked around the handle, pulling it sideways and creating a spill.
  16. Pouring milk into a herbal tea.
  17. Having the cup or mug split at any point in the process. Worst of all if it comes at the very end, as you pick up the complete tea and empty its contents in a rain of shattered porcelain. Bonus misery points if the tea lands on an electrical appliance.
  18. Stirring the tea and discovering too late that the spoon was dirty.
  19. Drinking the tea and discovering too late, on seeing the bottom of the cup, that the cup was dirty.

Perhaps the worst of all, though, for me, has to be this problem – in part because it happens so terribly often:

Making a complete cup of tea perfectly, then turning your attention to a task and forgetting to drink the tea until it is too late.


Disclaimer: this list was made in the interests of providing a realistic and representative sample of the worst things when making tea. There could, in theory be far worse things, like spilling the scolding tea on a newborn child, or somehow using the tea making process to cause a situation whereby all life in the universe becomes eternally damned to perpetual pain and suffering.

Apocalyptic prophesies in history: the madness of the crowd

apocalyptic prophesies

Every wonder what it was like when people started raving about the end of the world before the age of the internet? Well you’re in luck. On behalf of my post-apocalyptic books website, I’ve been doing some research into apocalypse fears through history, and happened upon a rather interesting book called Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions: The Madness of the Crowd. This tome was written by in 1841, by a Scottish journalist named Charles Mackay, and chronicles a massive number of events driven by the popular delusions of the crowd. Haunted houses, witch-hunts and economic bubbles especially feature – but the prophesies are especially interesting. Here’s a summary of a few from the chapter:

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How not to write movie dialogue

how to write movie dialogueHere’s a great scene from Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring that I think says a huge amount about how not to write movie dialogue. It’s the sort of forced, totally unnatural piece of dialogue that only makes sense in a script, where the writer wants to tell us something but doesn’t know how to succinctly show it. Looking at it on paper, it might not seem that bad. It apparently worked for everyone involved in making the film. But if you read a little between the lines, it’s a textbook example of how not to write dialogue.

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Brighton’s Victorian sewers: what lies beneath the city

brighton victorian sewers

It’s a commonly known fact that the most interesting places in the world are underground. In some cases, this is because nature sneakily creates vast, weird and wonderful formations of rock and water and whatnot beneath us, unseen. In other cases it’s because man has built impressively intricate subterranean structures that most people don’t even know are there. The latter is the case for Brighton’s Victorian sewers, spanning some 44 miles of tunnels, leaving the hapless souls above clueless as to their existence. Southern Water are noble enough to trudge through with members of the public from time to time, however – so I got a look at what’s down there. Continue reading

Enter the gyrocopter: a post-apocalyptic steampunk novel extract

gyrocopter novel extractAnother writing extract from my post-apocalyptic steampunk novel, Wixon’s Day, this passage sees the introduction of the iconic wasteland machine, the gyrocopter. Marquos and his group are resting in the Hypnagogia canal boat when the military catch up to them. This is the tipping point of the novel; from the introduction of the gyropcopter captain onwards, their ambling journey turns into a fast-paced adventure: Continue reading

What makes Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” so brilliantly bleak

post-apocalyptic novels, the road, book cover, by cormac mccarthyRevisiting my older dabbles in post-apocalyptic fiction, I’m writing reviews and profiles for my new website dedicated to the genre, Post-Apocalyptic Books. The following is my review of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, produced for that site, but an effective example to place here as well:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is especially well known now, thanks to the star-studded movie of the same name, but it was doing well long before the film’s release. Its won multiple awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2007), receiving serious attention from the literary critics, not normally shown to entries of the post-apocalypse genre. Unlike many of the books in my listsThe Road isn’t exactly sci-fi or horror. It’s a harrowing emotional journey; primarily a story of the relationship between a father and his son, despite its apocalyptic setting. Continue reading

Roadwork by Stephen King: book review

roadwork by stephen king book reviewRoadwork is another of the “Bachman Books“, written by Stephen King under a pseudonym (supposedly because he wanted to see if he could reproduce his success), and the next in the series I’ve been reading following The Long Walk. Like The Long Walk, it’s one of very few Stephen King stories I wasn’t already aware of without having read it. It’s also unlike anything of King’s I’m familiar with. To look at the novel’s synopsis, its blurb or its early front covers, you’d be led to believe it’s a novel about a man’s tense, violent stand-off against the progress of a new road. A siege, perhaps. This is really not the case. Continue reading

Sentence fragments in screenwriting: bending the rules of grammar

screenplay sentence fragmentsAny student of English language is, at some point, taught that sentence fragments should be avoided. A sentence needs a verb, or a verb needs a subject, and the lack of one or the other means the sentence makes no sense. But take a look at any half-competent screenplay and you’ll find it full of clipped sentences, which still make sense. This is because screenwriting is about communicating a plan of action, a blueprint, not a full-bodied description or a fortress of flawless grammar. Grammar does matter, but the English language is flexible - the question you have to ask is when is it okay to bend the rules? Continue reading

Wixon’s day: alternative cover

post-apocalypse novel dystopia coverA Wixon’s Day reader just contacted me to offer an alternative cover design for my post-apocalyptic adventure novel. And I like it.

Pretty much the inverse of the original cover, it’s certainly got the dreary brood of the novel down. And another fine representation of the protagonist’s boat, The Hypnagogia. Continue reading

$70 million budget, couldn’t afford a proofreader?

olympus has fallen proofread

Aside from the general mind-numbing amble into cliché and the colour-by-numbers approach to plot and character development, Olympus Has Fallen appears to have suffered from basic grammar errors that apparently no one in the hundreds strong production team noticed. Or cared about. With an estimated $70 million spent on this tripe, was there really no room in the bloated production for someone to step back and say, hold on, are the news reports saying (badly) that a single terrorist has attacked the White House? Or should there be some form punctuation separating (presumably) a story title from its location? Who was responsible for letting this sentence through production?

And on another note, did no one in the scriptwriting, reading, rehearsal, filming or editing stage step back and think the line “We’ll get back with you later.” (spoken by the Secret Service Director) might be improved? How does $70 million not buy a professional standard of English?