Who knows what’s actually bad luck? If my bamboo had come early, the new culms would now be exposed to the high gales that are whipping the region. A tall, tender pole that is mostly water doesn’t handle winds very well. It usually survives – unless it clashes against a tree-branch – but wind on new moso is a worry.
Sometimes new culms fall but survive and thereafter live a horizontal existence. (A similar thing happens if you give a five-year contract to a Rugby League winger.)
Nonetheless, we need more rain for growth, and the way to make that happen, as we now know, is to drink some oolong.
Notice the drab, yellow-green colour? This is a Tikuanyin, or TKY, the most famous oolong of the Anxi region. Quite unlike the previously mentioned Dancong oolong of Guangdong, its leaves are green and balled when dry, and expand greatly when brewed. A TKY (of this type) doesn’t mimic particular fruits and flowers, rather it has a non-specific flowery aroma and vegetal, green character on the palate. Devotees also talk of “sugar-cane” and “egginess” to describe desired qualities in a TKY. I’m not quite a devotee, but I must say that this Li Ping Tikuanyin works for me. It came from these guys, who are always a hoot to deal with. When Seb and Jing send the wrong tea, they’ll invite you to keep it then offer to send the right one. If they get it wrong again, they’ll invite you to keep that tea also, then try again. And so on. They’re generous with advice and samples, and their great love is the tea of Anxi. As I write, they’re probably off an expedition to Anxi to search out some autumn greens and oolongs for the shop.
Check out these luscious spent leaves, and the ruddy bruisings from the partial ferment. Couldn’t you just go rolling around in all that?
Later I’ll sample an oolong which represents the third major mainland type… something high-end and quite grand.
Some time back I wrote about the War on Browserism. That war has begun. Here is a new culm I found in an inaccessible part of my property. Less than a couple of weeks old, it’s twelve feet high already, and has survived without protection because it was inaccessible to wallabies as well as to me. However, as I struggled back through dense lantana after taking the photo, I found a shoot that hadn’t been so lucky.
I’m feeling a certain righteous aggression as I prepare for The Surge. It would probably do me good to remember one of history’s nice, useful people: a man who came to prominence only through marriage, was initially hated and suspected because of his rank and race…and was sincerely mourned by much of the world on his untimely death. Can you guess? I’ll post soon.