Silver Tea and Senior Moments

My grandmother (Dad’s mother) was a poised and gracious woman. I never heard her raise her voice; never saw her make any movement that was rushed or awkward. She was unfailingly kind and polite, with a gentle sense of humour. When she finally had to enter a care home after a devastating stroke, the staff affectionately nicknamed her “Queen Bea”. It suited her perfectly.

One of her little quirks has stayed with me all my life: Her preference for ‘silver tea’.

You won’t find silver tea in any internet search, because there’s no such thing. Maybe Grandma developed her taste for it during the war(s) or the Depression years when everything was either rationed or beyond their budget, or maybe it was just her preference; but its recipe was simple: A cup of hot water.

When offered coffee or tea, she’d smile and respond with her usual humorous twinkle: “I’ll just have silver tea, thank you.” And she’d pour herself a cup of hot water from the kettle. It became one of our family quips, and to this day I often drink silver tea when I don’t feel like brewing actual tea.

But the other day I inadvertently made ‘real’ silver tea. I didn’t think that was possible, since it doesn’t actually exist; but I managed it. I always have several tea infusers on the go, and I usually get two steepings from each. I’d brewed a cup of pumpkin pie rooibos in the morning, and decided to go for Round Two in the afternoon. I grabbed the infuser, dropped it into my mug, and poured boiling water over it. A few minutes later I checked on it, only to find no pleasant spicy aroma at all.

Yep, I’d accidentally grabbed an empty infuser. I wonder if I can market that as “Steeped Silver Tea”?

Normally I’d worry that I was showing early signs of ‘senior moments’ (and yes, I’m flattering myself by pretending I’m much too young for that). But since I was in the final throes of finishing Book 16, I wasn’t too concerned. After a decade of writing novels, I’ve come to accept that I simply don’t have enough brainpower to immerse myself in writing the final chapters of a book and stay on top of all the details of daily life.

Which leads me to my big announcement for this week: The draft of Book 16 is DONE, woohoo! It’s already been passed by my first speedy beta reader, and we have a title: Spy In The Sky. I’m hard at work on a blurb and cover art, and hopefully pre-orders will be available in a couple of weeks.

And soon (with any luck) my wrung-out brain will return to normal and I’ll drink silver tea by choice instead of by accident.

What’s your favourite cup of tea?

Book 16 update: The draft is done, and beta reading and final edits are speeding along. Then it’ll be into proofreading and production. Stay tuned for a cover reveal and release date!

(Want to get an email when Spy In The Sky is available? Click here to join my New Book Notification list.)

It’s The Cat’s Ass!

Last year I mentioned that my home is a repository for creepy and disturbing items. But I also have a number of things that aren’t exactly creepy, but nevertheless indicate to the world that the inhabitants of this house are just not quite… normal.

For instance, there’s this:

Yes, that is a cat’s-ass fridge magnet.

Yes, that is a cat’s-ass fridge magnet.

There is, of course, a story behind (pun intended) this.

Our family has always loved cats. I had cats for a couple of decades; my step-mom has a cat; and after being feline-free for quite a while, my sister got an adorable little orange tabby christened Phoebe several years ago.

Phoebe is lovely, but, like all cats, she’s fond of mooning. Especially as a kitten she loved to get her butt right up in my brother-in-law’s face, much to his vociferous disapproval. So when I discovered a package of fridge magnets shaped like cats’ asses, I had to buy them for him as a gag gift for Christmas that year. He duly gagged when he opened them, there was much hilarity, and then I got distracted by cooking and visiting and thought no more about it.

Until everybody left and I discovered the Siamese ass, the rudest one of the bunch, stuck to my fridge.

I laughed (yes, I have to say it) my ass off.

The cat’s-ass magnet subsequently became a family joke, and at one point my then-teenage niece got creative with my one of my other fridge magnets:

 Is that modesty or lasciviousness?

Is that modesty or lasciviousness?

Anyway, years passed and I had pretty much stopped noticing the cat’s ass, until my nephew and his wife visited with their kids last Christmas. Aged seven and four, the kids investigated the house and then joined us in the kitchen. I was yakking with the adults and didn’t notice what was going on until a little voice spoke up.

“Excuse me.” (These kids are polite.) “What’s that?” A little finger points up at the fateful magnet. Two wide-eyed stares fix on my face.

“What do you think it is?”

Nothing but silence and round eyes. They know damn well what it is, but there’s no way they’re going to say it to a strange adult (and I’m as strange as they come).

I can’t help cracking (sorry) a smile. “It’s a cat bum.”

Squeals of delight. “A bum! It’s a cat bum!” Giggle-giggle-giggle!

But after they left I stopped paying attention to the magnet again, except to glance at it occasionally and grin at the memories.

Until last night.

Phone rings. It’s my sister. Laughing her ass off.

Her: “Guess what I just got! 3D cat butts!”

Me: “Wha…?”

Her:3D cat butts!

And she sent me a picture:

cat butts 3

Yes. Yes, those are 3D cat butts.


Apparently a co-worker had found this package of fridge magnets and bought them for her, without even knowing the family folklore.

And so another round of tradition begins. Some families treasure special china or heirloom jewellery. We bond over cat asses.

Any oddball heirlooms or traditions in your family?