There was a dinner party yesterday evening at THQ, to which one of the guests brought the most thoughtful present I can remember. Instead of the usual combination of service station flowers, hand-me-down chocolates or wine from the shop at the end of the road (are we alone here?) she brought…. a small tupperware container of a gloopy, beige-coloured, boozy concoction which she introduced as “Hermann”.

Hermann the German friendship cake on day 1

Introducing Hermann. At this point we still had NO IDEA what it was…

If – as we were – you’re still in the dark then allow me to bring you up to speed with the trend which is apparently sweeping the nation:

Hermann is a live yeast culture which you can start yourself or inherit from friends. The ingredients are basically flour, sugar and yeast and it bubbles away quite happily on you kitchen worktop over the course of 9 days and all you have to do it top it up occasionally with more nutrients and watch it grow. By the 10th day you should have accumulated enough of the mixture to split 4 ways:  3 you are meant to pot up and give to friends of your own, whilst to the fourth you add more sugar and flour, eggs, apples, raisins and cinnamon and bake into a delicious cake.

This is the theory anyway…

Advertisements

#1 Prepare for public transport: Choose a bus which is 80-90% occupied and position yourself near the back. Arrange for about 60 friends (or preferably strangers) to rush on and join you at the last minute.

Men travelling by open topped truck through the streets of india

#2 Prepare for the frustration: Write a list of about 10 important jobs which you might hope to achieve in the average day. Include things like posting letters, buying everyday household items, arranging trains/taxis, meeting friends, paying bills &c. Pick one from the list at random. With a lot of pushing and shouting and queuing and hassle this will be the one job you get done today. Now cross off half the remaining list. However important they may seem, and no matter how hard you try,  accept they will never get done. The remaining ones will get done eventually but establish a time frame of between 5-10 times longer and more stressful than you would anticipate.

#3 Preparing for the head-bobble: This is one to try with people in trains/buses/supermarkets/at work &c. Whenever anyone asks a question give NO indication whether you have heard, understood, or know the answer. Instead wobble your head from side to side as if trying to touch your ears to your shoulders. Observe their reaction. The more frustrated they get, and the more they repeat the question, the more insouciant you should attempt to make the gesture.

#4 Prepare for the stray dogs: Run naked through a rubbish tip covered in Pedigree Chum.

Old Indian ambulance crashed and burned out by the side of the road

#5 Prepare for the laundry: Substitute your regular washing powder for a handful of dirt and one or two small rocks. Lay your clothes out on the ground to dry, preferable in a spot where cats/dogs/humans are known to defecate.

#1 Prepare for sleeping: Get into your car (a friend’s car will do) and turn the heating up to max. Now bend your knees up to your chin so that they’re wedged firmly against the horn. Try and sleep.

#2 Prepare for public transport: Choose a bus which is 80-90% occupied and position yourself near the back. Arrange for about 60 friends (or preferably strangers) to rush on and join you at the last minute.

Cramped journey on indian public transport

Rush hour was actually way worse, but I couldn't move my arms enough to get my camera out...

#3 Prepare for Skype: Choose a friend or loved one you want to talk to. Position yourselves at either end of a long corridor, just out of earshot. As you start walking towards each other, begin your conversation, aiming to get to the interesting bit just after you have passed each other. Continue walking until you are in a mirror image of how you started. If you’ve done it right you should have caught between 40-60% of what they said. Repeat until you are too frustrated to continue.

#4 Prepare for the stomach upset: Aim to spend about 1-2 hours sat on the toiled every day for 2 weeks.  Divide this time up into 5-10 minute episodes. To get the full effect these episodes should be randomly dispersed throughout your day, preferable when you have important things to attend to, or when the nearest toilet is a 5 minute limp away.

#5 Prepare for the party (this mostly applies to the stricter, Southern States): Go out with your friends every night for a week. When ever anyone offers you booze, meat or a fag politely decline on religious grounds.

Let’s see shall we?

As usual we’ve left packing pretty last minute. Now was NOT a good time to find out that my rucksack (last used for Duke of Edinburgh, aged 14) has been destroyed by moths and I have LITERALLY only odd socks.

We are setting off on our tea pilgrimage to Sri Lanka, India and China and our flight leaves for Sri Lanka in a few hours.

Bon Voyage Noveltea!

Noveltea are jetted away to Sri Lanka, India and China on a tea pilgrimage

"...Now is not a good time to realize that my rucksack (last used for Duke of Edinburgh, aged 14) has been destroyed by moths and I have LITERALLY only odd socks..."

Noveltea travels far and wide in search of the finest tea on the planet

Join our 3 month adventure through the plantations of India, Sri Lanka and China

 

We have some fantastic news we’d like to share with you! Inspired by tea over many years we are just about to set off on an adventure of a lifetime. Next week we will fly to Colombo for a tour of the tea plantations of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), India and China. We will then return home by train, over 7000 miles via one of the so-called “Silk Routes” through Kazakhstan and Russia, which is the way tea was originally brought to these shores.

We’ll be sorry to leave, as spring bursts through the doors and windows of Tea HQ, but we can’t wait to share with you tales and photos from our trip…