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Monthly Meetings

We meet at 2 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Congregational Church, Kilwardby St, Ashby.
There is normally a guest speaker or, in December, musical entertainment.
This is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to meet and talk with other members.

As numbers allowed into the church may be limited for the time being we have asked members to let us know if they wish to attend.
Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Future programme
DateSpecial EventsSpeakerSubject

Tue 21st DecChristmas concertConcordia Choir
Tue 25th JanKath Reynolds"Goose grease and Brown paper (old cures and remedies)"
Tue 22nd FebFools GoldAcoustic music and story telling.
Tue 22nd MarDavid SkillenBattle of Britain heroes and heroines.

Tea Rota, Meeters & Greeters, Reporting Groups

MonthTea GroupMeet & GreetReporting Groups
Tue 21st DecAnne Donegan, Isobel Salt, Sheila Dean
Tue 25th JanMike & Ann Bennett, David & Lilian Spiers
Tue 22nd FebSandra Fox, Brenda Dummer
Tue 22nd MarSid & Ann Clark
Tue 26th AprLynda & Kurt Kovach

October 26th - Guest speaker Sandy Leong - "A nice cup of tea"

Sandy gave us a very interesting talk on the history and customs of tea and tea-drinking from the earliest known mention of tea through to the present day.

Tea was first discovered in China in about 2700 BCE when some camellia leaves fell from a tree into the emperor's bowl of hot water, apparently! The Chinese and then the Japanese refined this, taking it to a high art form. In the late 8thC a Chinese writer Lu Yu wrote the definitive book on tea called the Ch'a Ching. Tea didn't reach the western world until the early 17thC when the Dutch imported the first tea to Holland. It reached England in 1658 when it was being sold in a London coffee house. Yes, we were a nation of coffee drinkers before we became tea drinkers. I say nation, but of course it was only the very rich who could afford to buy it.

As the Chinese had little need of anything we could sell them, they were reluctant to trade until we sold them opium from India! Bu this was still not considered by the British to be a secure way to obtain tea so tea plants were smuggled out of China to set up plantations in British India so that we could guarantee supplies. This brought about the age of the tea clippers such as Cutty Sark who raced back from India at harvest time to be the first ship home and hence able to sell their tea at the highest price.

As tea became more popular the government first tried to tax it at 25p in the £ rising to an incredible 119p/£ but tea was so popular that smuggling it became rife. At one point more tea was smuggled than imported legally. Tax was later reduced to 5p/£ which stopped smuggling but the tax remained until 1964.

Tea was of course partly responsible for the start of the American War of Independence. The Boston Tea Party saw 342 chests of tea thrown in the harbour in a protest about taxation without representation as the colonies had no say in the ways in which they were taxed and often received none of the revenue raised.

Tea has been variously declared by doctors to be healthy or unhealthy for us, often based merely on the opinions of individuals. John Wesley, the evangelist, denounced it but later the temperance movement encouraged its consumption to get working people off of alcohol.

By 1901, the British were drinking over 6lb per person. Most tea today, of course, comes in tea bags. These were invented in the very early 20thC but didn't become popular until the 1970s. Nowadays we drink 100 million cups a day. Although coffee is catching up we still drink more tea than coffee.

A very entertaining talk was of course followed by "a nice cup of tea" (or coffee!) in the back room of the church.