I’ve loved tea for as long as I can remember – my Grandad’s always tasted the best. But I’ve never really looked at a cup of tea as anything other than a hot drink, or miracle worker, depending on my morning mood.
So when the offer came to have my tea leaves read by the mysterious-sounding Madame Zara, I thought it might be fun.
Thankfully, she did too and was at pains to point out that she doesn’t think she has psychic powers or any of that stuff.
She just thinks she is tuned into the natural intuition that we all have within us, and can read people rather well.
When trying to get a date in the diary for the reading, fate played a part. I was already booked to do an interview at Quilliam Brothers Tea House in Newcastle for this month’s New Music pages (see interview with Matt Stalker on page 20).
Now, although I’d never been before, I felt confident in assuming that they would be an ideal place to have one’s tea leaves read. And so it proved.
We chose to share a pot of English tea – it has the requisite smaller leaves for reading purposes – and settled down for a chat.
Madame Zara, as she likes to be known when in reading mode, is currently in the middle of developing her long-time hobby – reading tea, dinner plates, orange peel – into more of a chunky sideline.
She’ll be setting up camp at the Tea & Cake Planet event at The Boiler Shop on the weekend of June 28 and 29, offering to read people’s tea cup remnants for their entertainment and interest, as well as heading up a few workshops for anyone who fancies having a go at interpreting the leftover leaves once a cuppa has been downed.
“Everybody likes to talk about themselves and think about their future and their concerns. We all like to do that. This is just a fun way to doing it, really – it helps people to focus and find their own answers.
“Dinner plates are my speciality. I recently did it at a friend’s birthday party and that went down really well.
“It’s not a science, it’s something that everyone does in their own way and generally people say it has been interesting, helpful and fun at the very least. The readings go better if the people have a sense of trust in me. But even if they’ve come with a sense of caution, it doesn’t matter, because it’s just for fun.”
So what would she find in my cup?
After swilling around the last few drops of my tea and upending my teacup on its saucer, Madame Zara encouraged me to place a hand on top of the cup’s bottom to focus on what was to come. I was then asked to ask her a question about something personal, which didn't have a yes or no answer.
Now, clearly I’m not going to be opening my dirty laundry drawer to you people, but safe to say it didn’t take Madame Zara long to see shapes in the leaves which she thought might represent the situation I asked about.
And while I didn’t come away feeling like any big strides had been made, I enjoyed the chat and came away with something else ticked off my life to-do list. What’s not to like?