Secret Scribbles

Christina here. I hope you’ll forgive me revisiting a topic Anne blogged about back in 2012 (here) because this is an exciting time of year for me – IT’S NEW DIARY TIME!!! That means I get to choose a brand new diary for next year and let me tell you, this is serious business.

Diary 1I’ve kept a diary on and off since I was eight years old. When I was given my first one, the appeal lay in having somewhere secret to write down my thoughts because of course it had a lock and tiny key. (I didn’t know that anyone with a decent hairpin could probably have picked it). I relished the opportunity to keep my opinions away from prying eyes, especially those of my little brother once he learned to read. And anything secret seemed exciting then – my friends and I formed several secret clubs but that’s another story.

These days I don’t have many secrets to write about and there’s no lock on my diaries, but I still love to jot down what I’ve done each day and where I’ve been. Whenever possible I add things like ticket stubs and other tiny mementos, and there’s the occasional picture too. It’s not the end of the world if I miss a day occasionally, but on the whole, I’m pretty good about keeping up with it.

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The Luxury of Tea

Tea kanji

Kanji meaning tea

Christina here. Despite being half British, I’ve never been much of a tea drinker. I don’t mind it, but it’s not my favourite beverage. It doesn’t work on me as a panacea or cure-all either, the way most British people seem to see it. If I have a cold or the weather is chilly and damp as now, however, I do occasionally enjoy a cup of Twinings English Breakfast with lots of milk and sugar. It’s cosy and yes, quite comforting. And we all take for granted how cheap and easy it is to buy it – but that wasn’t always the case!

Wooden_tea_caddy _Museum_of_Liverpool Reptonix free Creative Commons licensed photos  CC BY 3.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby3.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Wooden_tea_caddy,_Museum_of_Liverpool

Although nowadays we can buy tea bags of every variety in the supermarket, or loose weight tea in specialist shops without any problems, in the 18th century it was a luxury commodity. Housewives kept the tea in lockable tea caddies so that only they could dispense it. And there was a reason for that – importing it was quite an undertaking. While doing the research for my first historical novel, Trade Winds, I read about the journey an East India merchant ship had to make in 1731/32 order to go to Canton in China to buy tea and other goods to bring back to Europe. I couldn’t believe how complicated and hazardous it all was!

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