Caroline Verdon: Nothing quenches your soul like the taste of a great cuppa

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This week Yorkshire Tea has announced an abomination.

Now before I go into the whys and the wheres and the whats I need to clarify my position on Yorkshire Tea. It’s the best tea around.

I’ve lived all over and their versions for hard and soft water are pure genius, I get up at 3am in the morning so try not to have caffeine after lunch and their decaf tea is the best tasting on the market according to my rather picky tastebuds.

It’s all proper tea. It’s tea tea. It’s not fancy. It’s not pretentious. Put simply it’s grounded tea for grounded people.

Now let’s look at their new stuff. I say look at because I haven’t tasted it. I have sniffed some of it though and I reckon that counts.

They say that when people come into money or fame they can get a bit lahdeedah. They stop having beans on toast for their dinner and start having quinoa and bulghar wheat. Their once acceptable George at Asda jeans are replaced with Armani and that Ford Fiesta that served them well for the last 17 years gets replaced with a brand new Mercedes complete with private plates. This is exactly what seems to be happening with Yorkshire Tea. It’s gone all lahdeedah. It’s gone flavoured.

Last year I came into work to find a parcel on my desk containing two Yorkshire Tea posters and a packet each of their breakfast brew, breaktime brew and bedtime brew tea.

The posters I put in frames and they adorn my kitchen wall (yeah, I am that cheap) but the tea I sniffed, remarked at how the breaktime brew smells of orange flavoured custard cremes and promptly gave them away. There is no place in my life for flavours or herbs when it comes to tea. I don’t want smatterings of hibiscous or dollops of avocado when it comes to my brews. I don’t want to worry about whether the etiquette is to add milk of not or even weirder add honey. I want to chug some milk in and be gulp its refreshing comforting normalness down.

This week I can only presume the tea big wigs have taken complete leave of their senses as they’ve announced the most utterly ludicrous tea I’ve ever heard of. They’ve billed it as “the greatest beverage in the history of the universe”. They couldn’t be more wrong. They’ve launched ‘the biscuit brew’. Tea that tastes like you’ve dunked a bikkie in it.

Now let’s just think about this for a minute. Surely no one has ever dunked a biscuit in a cuppa for the joy of the taste of the tea?

We do it for the suspense and the danger and the chance to live our lives precariously on a knife edge. We strive to be brave enough to dunk the digestive for long enough that it becomes joyfully squishy without getting so cocky that it breaks off. No one likes that stab to the heart that you feel as you watch that once solid McVities plop in slow motion into the abyss of the cup – our punishment not only being the misery of not tasting its delectable goodness but also the fact that we now run the risk of choking to death on the sludgy crumbs left lurking somewhere at the bottom of the mug.If that isn’t living then what is? Take away that high risk game that promises an outcome nothing short of euphoria and what have you actually got? Tea that’s a bit sweet? I’ve no idea because I’ve not even sniffed this one, I’ve taken a stand and I’m having nothing to do with it. I’m well and truly sticking to tea tea. I just feel that they’re missing the mark. Drinking a good brew is like receiving a warm hug. It’s comforting, it’s reassuring. Whatever the challenge you are facing in life actual tea, real proper tea makes you feel that you can tackle it and you can win. When my dear old Nana passed away, a cuppa and a chat about all of her fantastic ways got me through. When I was stressed to high heaven with packing up our house a few years back and moving back here to God’s Country it was a digestive and a cup of Yorkshire that calmed me down

So forget about your oil of jojoba or your infusion of fennel dust or whatever else it is you may be thinking about putting in a tea cup. Nothing will quench your soul like the taste of a bog standard brew.

When your brain wobbles

Every morning just after 8am we play the 1k minute – we put 60 seconds on the clock, arm ourselves with 10 questions and if someone answers them all correctly they win £1000.

On Wednesday morning we played with Steven in Beeston. He got off to a strong start knowing that it was Acacia Road that Eric aka Bananaman lived on, that Julia Roberts was the star of Pretty Woman and that it was true that ketchup was originally sold as a medicine. And then it all went wrong. His brain had a wobble and so when we asked him “what is the name of the coloured part of your eye” instead of ‘iris’ he quickly answered uterus. If my uterus is anywhere near my eye either the yoga is going incredibly well or (more likely) I need to book an urgent appointment with a gynaecologist! His answer really made us laugh.

We’ve all been there, when your brain just disowns you and stitches you right up and you’re left asking yourself what on earth possessed you to say that. For me the one that sticks in my mind is the time I was doing biology and aged 13 our teacher Mr Farrant set a pop quiz. One of the questions was “what is another word for an individual animal plant or single-celled life form”. I knew that answer. I was terrible at biology and I took this as my moment to shine so at the top of my lungs I belted out “an orgasm sir”. I instantly knew my mistake and was mortified. Mr Farrant laughed so hard I was convinced he was about to have a heart attack. About 90 per cent of the comments in my school leavers book written three years later all contain the word organism.

Don’t yawn at a hippo...

Yawning at a hippo is not a good idea.

On honeymoon I noticed that if you yawned, they yawned back and their huge wide open gobs made a much better photo opportunity. Turns out they took it as a sign of aggression and the next thing I knew four of them were hurtling towards me and I was running for my life to get away.

Katie in Holbeck called to say she watched from an upstairs bedroom window one Easter morning as a child as a naughty squirrel stole the eggs left for her by the Easter bunny and Jackie in Seacroft once got chased by a camel when the circus came to Armley. Greg managed to have the last laugh though when a cheeky seagull stole his entire freshly cooked sausage. It tried to swallow it whole but it was so scalding hot that it then swooped down to the sea in a bid to gulp down a load of water. If you can’t enjoy your own sausage and chips then there’s no way a seagull can right?

Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show on Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.