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Elphinstone Kist   Doric Prose, Family and Home

Tea     by: Millar, Robert McColl

Ma grannie loved tea – fair addictit, she wes. She hed her ain special wey o maskin it as weill. It wes aye the same kinna tea – Typhoo leaf. The pot hed tae hiv bilin watter slappit intil’t twa-three meinits afore the tea wes pit in – aye the tea afore the bilin watter. Whan the tea wes maskit, there wes nae talk o the milk bein poured in first. Naa – this wes anathema tae ma grannie. The tea hed tae gang in first, than the milk – fae a jug. Nae spuin, fur the tea shuid still be spinnin fae the pourin. Jist richt.

Ma grannie wes aafie fond o ma grampa forbye. He wes a kind, haard-warkin sowl – neer kent tae drink, sweir, cause a stramash – naethin. Bit he wes lik a knotless threid i the kitchenette. Nae use at aa. A yased tae think that ma grampa didna ken whaar the kitchenette wes.

Bit – an here’s the tale. Whan ma grannie an grampa wes fell aald gettin, ma grannie cidna ayewyes mask the tea. Whan ma mither wes there – nae bother. Whan she wisna, weill.

Wanst, ma grannie wes seik. No aafie seik, bit seik eneuch she cidna mask the tea. Ma grampa cid see she wes gaspin fur a wee cup.
‘Dae ye wannt a cup o tea, Lizzie love?’ says he.
‘Och Robyn’, says she, ‘A cidna expeck ye tae dae that.’
‘Och hen’, says he, ‘It’s nae bother – dinna you fash yersel.’

Sae ma grampa gings intae the kitchenette. He’s no a fule. He kens whit a kettle is; kens hoo tae pit on the stove. Nae bother. He fins the teapot. Whit a boy. He fins the tea.

Whan the watter’s biled, he pours it intae the teapot. Than the tea. The hale packet o tea – 3/6 fae the Co-operative. Than he minds ye hiv tae mask it.

Sae, nine or ten meinits later, he comes out o the kitchen wi the teapot, twa cups, an the milk – in a bottle.

‘Here ye er, Lizzie love: a nice cup o tea.’
He pours oot the milk intae the cup. Ma grannie shudders, bit disna say a word. He picks up the teapot an pours. Oot comes a taary, glaary, sludge. Ma grannie’s een is the size o ashets. Bit she says naethin. She hes a wee taste at the tea.

‘Hoo’s yer tea, Lizzie darlin?’ asks ma grampa.
‘Och Robyn,’ says ma grannie, ‘Whit a braa maskin.’

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