As I get older, tea is becoming an increasingly important part of my life. I never touched the stuff when I was younger, but it started to grab hold of me when I was in my late twenties. First it was an occasional companion to a slice of cake, then a way to warm up on cold winter mornings, these days it’s my drug of choice. Nothing much will be achieved until I’ve had that first cup. I sit gazing at the world through the swirling steam, trying to come to terms with the fact that I am not in bed any more. If a problem needs solving, I need a tea, if the problem is complex, I need several. When I sit down to write, I first put the kettle on and wait eagerly for the sound of the whistle. If food is the fuel that drives me, tea is the oil that keeps me moving. Sometimes though, I am disappointed by tea, or rather some peoples inability to make it. I was away with work last year when the client I was visiting made me a cup, I remember staring in to the pale milky monstrosity in front of me. Trying really hard not to throw up, I took a tiny sip of the anaemic brew, then tipped it in to the plant pot behind me at the earliest opportunity. Luckily, Walthamstow is hot bed of tea related action, so I never have to go far to find a good cuppa. On Saturday, I wandered to the market and tried a new brew, served to me from a small blue caravan.
Husvagn, joined the ranks of Walthamstow Market traders just before Christmas. The customised blue caravan is pitched at the St James Street end of the market, and furnishes passers by with tea, coffee and snacks. I’ve been intending to go and sample their wares for a while, and after a nice long walk with the dog, I finally made it this weekend. The little van, which is on the market Wednesday – Friday between 8-4 and Saturdays between 9-4, sells a variety of coffee for £2.50 a cup, and tea for £1.50. It also has a selection of food, which this weekend included sausage rolls for £2.50 and pistachio brownies for £2.00. We ordered a tea, coffee and a slice of sausage roll. I always think that if someone is offering you the chance to buy sausage roll, it’s your duty to purchase some (which explains why I have to run a lot).
First things first, the tea was fantastic. If I had to rate it on the Good Morning Britain scale, which ranges from Lorraine Kelly at the top end (She’s lovely), and Piers Morgan at the bottom, I’d give the tea from Husvagn a very strong Lorraine Kelly rating. It was just the right strength with the perfect amount of milk, no anaemic tea to be found in this caravan. My other half tells me the coffee was also really good, though he refuses to use my Good Morning Britain rating system. When ever I talk to him about it we always end up arguing about Ben Shepard, and which end of the good to terrible scale he represents. What also struck me about Husvagn, which I now know is Swedish for caravan (every day is a learning day), was the friendliness of the owner. Despite the fact she was freezing her bits off in a blue caravan on the market, she is chatty, friendly, and really welcoming.
It’s fair to say that the St James Street end of the market has had a chequered history in the past. Who remembers the Saturday at St James project? The council offered cheaper pitches to food and craft stalls, but for a number of reasons, it just didn’t work. New and exciting stalls have come and gone, the artisan bakery stall, the chimney cakes man and chips with dips to name a couple. Coffee and tea are all together different things though aren’t they? I know I’m not the only one that needs a hot drink to kick start the day, and then several more to keep it on track. Husvagn is perfectly placed to get train users, market meanders and bus passengers. What more could you want, good coffee, cracking tea, compulsory sausage rolls and a friendly welcome. This is a little blue caravan with a lot to offer, why not go and say hello.