Enforced idleness is a rare treat. Those brief moments in life where for one reason or another you are forced to just stop and think. In waiting rooms, queuing, for example, or even just sitting on a train. Waiting for the tea to brew is one of such moments. It doesn’t offer enough time to ‘do’ anything else so you just have to sit and wait, salivating at the prospect of your golden brew. If you do attempt to do anything in the time it takes tea to brew you always take too long or too short a time to do it, leaving the tea too strong or too weak. The teapot is fully aware of this fact. The only way to gauge the time perfectly is to sit, do nothing and watch. Only by handing over your full attention to the pot will you be able to truly relish the taste when it comes.
From The Book of Idle Pleasures, ed Dan Kieran and Tom Hodgkinson (Ebury Press). Illustration by Ged Wells