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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Green Tea

We had recently watched an episode of  Global Village in which it mentioned the health benefits of Green Tea.

We keep a couple of Green Tea options in the pantry. My preferred option is Japanese Green tea leaves mixed with roasted rice. This cuts some of the bitter flavours that I find unpleasant in Green Tea.

Jean prefers her Japanese Green Tea straight. I say prefers but in fact she hates Green Tea and finds it unpleasant but in the interests of health forces herself to consume some on our fast days. The only stipulation is that it be loose tea not teabags.

We were running low on stocks and the Asian shop where we purchased the original quantity no longer stocked anything other than Chinese Green Tea. The best Green Tea is from the Japanese southern island of Kyushu. The first step was to search the web for online stores of which there were a few. But in the process we discovered that there was a bricks and mortar shop in Newcastle. So armed with a number of other tasks to complete we took off for a drive with Nikki in the back seat.

Nikki is our 11 year old Kelpie and has recently recovered from a neck injury which almost cost him his young life. So now he is strapped into the backseat rather than on the back of the ute. Because he doesn't get to go to the work farm as do the other two it seemed appropriate to give him a treat day.

Having completed the other chores and inspected the Tea Centre where we purchased a few small samples (at great cost), we decided to stop at a small coffee shop we had spotted a few months ago. This shop is just beside the Fernleigh Track at Adamstown. The building has significance to me as a teenager growing up in Adamstown. I would sometimes catch or get off the school bus at this building which was back then a traditional corner store run by a widow. Her son and I would often chat as we waited for the bus.

We had coffee in the backyard where surprisingly dogs are allowed. There was already a well behaved Brown Kelpie (Biscuit) lying in the shade. Nikki of course always has a lot to say and strained at the lead wanting to meet everyone in the backyard. Not being sure that they in fact wanted to meet him we kept him restrained. He did receive a positive compliment from one customer who was surprised to find he was 11 years old. She thought he was much younger. Jean said he suffers from ADHD.

This excursion is the second in two weeks into my past in Newcastle. Previously, on our shopping expedition we stopped at a coffee shop in Glebe Road. This was also an organic grocer and coincidently occupied the building which had been a corner store close to where I lived in Glebe Road in the 50's and 60's. It was owned by the Small's and was the recipient of my Thursday pocket money as they had a terrific range of lollies sold by the piece.

It is interesting to see this suburb change yet again. When I lived there it was full of working class families occupying older homes that had once been middle class homes well before the 40's. They had lots of kids and that section of Glebe Road was still a gravel surface. There were stores on most corners and every imaginable type of retail outlet within a few blocks including a produce store, petrol station, dry cleaner, shoe repairer etc. We would erect trestles outside the electrical goods store to watch the TV  in the window at night. Most of the neighbourhood was too poor to afford their own. The main shopping precinct was Brunker Road some five blocks away. Because transport was by public bus most suburbs were self contained.

As the years went by the kids grew up and moved on, the remaining, now retired residents grew older as did their houses. Now all but one ancient terrace house are gone as are the horse stables in the lane behind what was our house. Some of the retail buildings and older houses turned into flats. The concrete drain that runs through the suburb is still there but kept very neat now. This was the playground for kids growing up and a thoroughfare into other suburbs.

The suburb is revitalised with younger families moving in and renovating, sometimes tearing down and rebuilding. The big backyards filling with extensions.

The coffee shop was full of young mothers and their very young children. Almost like it was back in the middle of the 20th century but they no longer play in the street. They are fully protected from the busy main road by an iron fence.

It's wonderful to test the memory, remember your childhood and observe the evolution of a suburb.

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