I wonder if I will miss London once I leave. I will certainly miss bumping into friends, and sometimes friends I haven’t seen for years as happened the other day when I saw Paul on my way to Joel, my wonderful hairdresser who I like to describe as a hair sculptor. Paul and I met on a press trip to Sao Paolo where I had played truant, missing almost all that was on the program. To be fair I had been before. It was a nice surprise to see him again and we stopped to chat before Paul suggested I go with him to the rare tea lady where he was heading. Joel had called to say he was running late as he often does, so, I went. And I am glad I did. Not only did I bump into more friends there but I also discovered a new passion, dried almond blossom. Henrietta, who I knew virtually, showed us the incredibly beautiful dried blossom saying she was getting them from a new Spanish supplier and then offered to infuse some for us to taste. Flower teas are not new. We have z’hurat (a mixture of dried flowers) in Lebanon and Syria where we also infuse individual flowers, the Chinese have chrysanthemum and other flower teas and the Japanese have sakura but I had never seen dried almond blossom. My plan now is to grow my own almond trees in Sicily (hoping I can on my mountain!) to have my own supply, and to supply Henrietta, making a little money from the land. They are expensive but totally worth it and you will be able to order the dried blossom as of September (I think) from the Rare Tea Company.
As you know, my friend Charles Perry guest posts here on a regular basis. When I recently asked him what he would like to write about, he suggested a post by a friend he had just met who’d sent him pictures from Azerbaijan together with a story about rose petals.
Now, I have a weakness for Azerbaijan because my nephew is married to a young woman from there and he invited the whole family to Baku for the wedding. It was a great trip, on a private plane chartered by my brother-in-law, which I expected to be luxurious but it turned out to be more like a charter flight on one of those cheap airlines. Still, the arrival into the VIP lounge, and the special treatment on the ground were fun.