It is almost 70 years to the day of the start of the Blitz
It is the Autumn of 1940, and Adolf Hitler has changed his plans. Instead of targeting RAF bases, the Luftwaffe have turned their attention to bombing British cities. It was a terrifying change of strategy after the Battle of Britain that raged during the summer. Churchill’s iconic quote ” Never was so much owed by so many to so few” still evokes the bravery and sacrifice of that time.
Ironically, the response the Blitz prompted still defines the psyche of the British Nation.
The distinctive wail of the sirens warning of the imminent bombing must have become a terrifying nightly reminder of the horrors to come. The noise of the anti aircraft that some found reassuring quite frankly injured more civilians than it brought down enemy planes. Yes, there was fear and large scale destruction, with many lives lost, but the campaign that had intended to push Britain into surrender was ironically having quite the opposite effect to than that it had intended to achieve. The nation was united by a common enemy.
Neighbours that never spoke were brought together in air raid shelters. Communities formed nightly in the tube stations to emerge to a different landscape in the morning, trudging through glass and rubble to work. At almost the hardest of times, Britain had discovered a stoicism and resilience in the face of absolute adversity that would define the nation. There were those who called for surrender, and of course, there were those that took advantage of the terrible situation, but in a move that probably defined a turning point in the second world war, Churchill seized the moment of those terrible losses to negotiate the US into the war. The response to the Blitz still endures, continuing to define the psyche of the British nation. Britain never surrendered.
Royal Air Force Tea is a Tea created for Heroes
Fashioned specifically for Terry Clark, a veteran of the Battle of Britain, I could not resist the Rare Tea company’s striking packaging with the distinctive RAF logo. Henrietta Lovell’s Royal Air force Tea is a Tea created for heroes that commemorates the Battle of Britain. Henrietta is also generously donating a percentage of the sales to the RAF Wings charity appeal that provides much needed welfare for veterans.
Royal Air Force tea is a gorgeous, distinctive, uniquely British blend of Indian Darjeeling and Malawi tea.
Even better, tea from these 2 boutique estates is created using sustainable practices, and is hand crafted and not industrially processed. The tea even smells distinctively old fashioned in a wonderfully nostalgic way that instantly transported me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. I remember this as the very first time I ever saw leaf tea, and this has that same proper tea smell. I am smiling now at the recollection of my grandmother still storing sugar in the upstairs cupboard, a habit learnt during rationing but long held despite the fact that it was available in the local supermarket! The taste is full bodied, with depth and just the right amount of tannin, I adore it.
Northern Tea Merchants offer another wonderful insight of Tea during the Second World War
James Pogson, owner of the Northern Tea Merchants, delights in sharing a reply from one of these long standing customers:
…..He [James Grandfather] never left us without tea during the rationing period of the war years, and always came in for a chat with my parents – even though sometimes it was quite late when he finished his deliveries (and no doubt he would want to get home before the sirens went!)…..but I still enjoy my favourite “cuppa”.
It’s a wonderful testament to Northern Tea merchants that 50 years on, their customers still write so fondly about them. It is also a fascinating insight into rationing in World War II, tea was precious then.
How any China Tea cups survived from the 1940s I will never know
Thank goodness they do though! Tea is warming, a shared comfort, sustaining and connecting. I will be drinking my Tea for Heroes from this beautiful vintage china tea cup, remembering a historic time, and appreciating the moment for a peaceful cup of tea.