Tea for you and me

Join me on my epic quest to find the best tea ever


Make tea for art

Ever wanted to be in an artwork? Ever wanted to make tea in an artwork? Yes? Then the forthcoming exhibition of Jeremy Deller’s work at the Hayward Gallery is for you.

There are three areas where they are looking for volunteers, one of which is a re-creation of a cafe in Manchester called ‘Valeries’. Volunteers will be in the cafe working in pairs serving tea. I wanted to volunteer but reading the small print I can see they want people to do a minimum of five shifts which I can’t do and still manage to get to work, so not for me. If anyone does decide to do it, let me know!

I’ll content myself with going to see it instead (did I mention the tea they serve is free?).

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BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA.

Millennium Bridge, with BALTIC on the right

Millennium Bridge, with BALTIC on the right

I’d never been to Newcastle before and this was a flying visit for a training course. I’d got there early so I could have an afternoon free to do some sightseeing before meeting up with colleagues for a meal. It’s an amazing city, so big and spacious and tall, London is so cramped compared to Newcastle. And the old and the new sit side by side and the view of the Tyne and the river is breathtaking.

The outside of BALTIC, the cafe is on the right

The outside of BALTIC, the cafe is on the right

And the bridges! Many bridges. I know that Newcastle folk are proud of the bridges but I’d always been a bit sceptical of them until I saw them in real life.

They are so big. The Millennium Bridge was sleek and elegant, I could have sat on it and looked at the river all day.

I was heading to the BALTIC as I’d seen a leaflet about it in the tourist information office (the best place to start when sightseeing) and it looked interesting. The building is huge and has lifts going through the middle of it. The cafe bar is on the ground floor and has a good view of the bridge and the river.

Tea and bricks masquerading as chips in BALTIC

Tea and bricks masquerading as chips in BALTIC

I was peckish so ordered chunky chips and a pot of tea. When the chips came they were huge, the biggest I’ve ever seen, more like bricks than chips. They did taste good. Tea was good too, with a range of tea bags, I picked Darjeeling.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Yes, but I had to ask for it.
Price? £1.30.
Cake? No, some danishes and muffins.
Go again? Yes.