T is for Tea, of course, also referred to as Irish penicillin. I love it, but the rels take it to another level and another strength.
They like it strong, and will think nothing of putting the teapot on the stove with a bit of heat for a few minutes to let it stew, then add a splash of milk to give it a bit of colour.
I, on the other hand, don’t. I always made sure I was the first one to get a cup from a fresh pot, as it would be too strong for my taste. I prefer it milkier- it’s quicker to drink.
My extended family have been schooled largely by my granda. When he worked at Harland and Wolff, the tea would be ready-made in huge teapots which would be warmed on a stove constantly. Drinking stewed tea became a normal occurrence in the house.
Of course you can’t just have a cup of tea by itself. Toast often comes into play, with some of the yummiest bread imaginable- the Irish fully embrace carbs. And of course there’s my favourite Club Orange :).
My favourite souvenir to myself is to go shopping for lovely lingerie. Marks and Spencer are probably my favourite department store for this and are definitely less of the granny-style nowadays. La Senza is also really great, but it was harder to get in there with littlies in tow.
Back home, ‘it’s nice to open the (overstuffed) undie drawer and pick them out, thinking “Ooh that was from Edinburgh/Berlin/Paris/Belfast”. There are also some pieces which carry fun memories…
There was one interesting aspect I encountered in a couple of bathrooms, which was lack of ventilation fans. It was insane, particularly in a couple of bathrooms, where there were no windows to open, just the door. It was a particular problem in London where the location of the bathroom was adjacent to the front door which was all glass.
This probably explained the lack of power points in the bathroom for hairdryers- it was too steamy and humid for them to operate.