The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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September 7, 2016

Tea in books

Once he had unpacked his books, Atticus removed a small electric kettle from his suitcase. It was a pain to take it everywhere, but it was worse to have to wait for room service to bring him hot water. He needed a cup of tea every forty minutes; he had it calculated down to the second.
      He always traveled with two or three boxes of Earl Grey, even though people assured him you could buy it in most countries, because he was truly terrified by the idea of ending up without his cure-all remedy. This wasn't a new habit. He'd arrived at Eton a frail thirteen-year-old boy, constantly struck down by flu, headaches, and poor digestion. He was lucky enough to fall into the hands of Dr. Hamans, who hailed from the Netherlands and was writing a thesis on the curative properties of herbal infusions. He adopted Atticus as a guinea pig and managed with Earl Grey what no one had with conventional medicine:  He transformed the fragile boy into a mighty oak. If Atticus had stomachache, he prescribed a cup of hot tea. If his head ached, the prescription was for cold tea. If he fell playing cricket and scraped his skin, a squirt of tea on some cotton wool was enough to clean the wound; if he got a fever, compresses soaked in Earl Grey would bring his temperature down. The treatment worked with astonishing efficiency. Atticus grew thirty centimeters during the five years of his secondary education, didn't fall ill once, was chosen as captain of the cricket team, and was top of the class in six subjects.
      Hamans wanted to study the case in-depth at a medical school in London with a grant from Twinings, but Marlow refused to let his son be used as a lab-rat. In the end, he allowed him to donate only a few blood and tissue samples, which, unfortunately, Hamans studied furiously for months without obtaining any conclusive results. Atticus, meanwhile, remained convinced that tea cured everything and developed an addiction to Earl Grey that was more psychological than physical. He decided to take his kettle everywhere, just as some women travel with their hair dryers.
      Alone in his room, he plugged in the appliance, filled it with water, waited until the light came on, and then cursed himself for having packed in such a rush, with four pints inside him and his head all over the place. He had forgotten the mug. His mug.

From The altogether unexpected disappearance of Atticus Craftsman
by Mamen Sanchez

{Mug on Etsy.}


JoAnn said...

LOL... love this!

Cosy Books said...

I second JoAnn's comment! Off to plug in the kettle....

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