Brainwashing by Cats

Dr. Nikola, an intense-looking man, and his black cat. (From an 1896 book by Guy Boothby.)

Man with cat or cat with man?

Five Ways Your Cat is Controlling Your Behaviour

Cat owners have no free will. Your cat is influencing your behaviour much more than you know.

  1. The Directive Stare — They can always make you stare in the direction they want.
  2. Teaching You to See Your World — Yes, that ant is worth looking at.
  3. Cuddle Control — If you buy that expensive fish food, you can stroke my fur for ten minutes.
  4. This is my Spa Time — You can work when I’m finished warming myself under your reading lamp.
  5. You need to work on your abjection — earthworms, small wounded animals, and unidentifiable bits of flesh under your chair are therapeutic.

Image Credit*

From Flickr; Public Domain;; retrieved April 2016

*Added post-workshop due to time constraints during workshop!

My Fantastic Blog Post

Elephant's tea party with an elephant and three men from March 1939

Elephant’s tea party

Reasons why Christine dislikes this image

When I first showed Christine this image she recoiled in horror. These are some of the reasons why:

  • Christine is afraid of elephants
  • This elephant is very large
  • It is not clear how they persuaded the elephant to cooperate

In summary

It would be unwise to surprise Christine with an elephant. But she always likes a cup of tea!

Image Credit*

From Flickr; Elephant’s tea party, Robur Tea Room, 24 March 1939, by Sam Hood; No known copyright; retrieved April 2016

*Added post-workshop due to time constraints during workshop!

Top 5 Sunset Spots on Vancouver Island

Sunset over Abbotsford, BC, showing clouds highlighted in pink and blue with outlines of trees and buildings

As we draw to an end…

See it to believe it!

In many places on the west coast of Vancouver Island you can stare out westward over the Pacific Ocean.  If the weather allows you can experience some of the best sunsets Canada has to offer.

  1. Tofino, BC
  2. Bamfield, BC
  3. Cape Scott, BC
  4. China Beach, BC

Get out there and explore and plan your evening around the sunset!

Image Credits*

Image by M. Higgins and used with permission.

*Added post-workshop due to time constraints during workshop!

Why Pets Should Not Wear Clothes

A dwarf hamster, Minty, wearing a red and green kntted hat with a green bell on top

Minty dressed for Christmas

Pets in Clothes

The internet is full of pictures of pets dressed up in all sorts of clothes and costumes.  This is a disturbing trend.

Reasons why pets should not wear clothes:

  1. They already have fur.
  2. Do they look happy? No!
  3. It is just wrong!

The next time you are tempted to dress your pet, think again.  You will do your pet a favour by not dressing them up, and the rest of us on the internet a favour if you don’t post pictures.

Image Credits*

Photo taken by C. Nehring; used with permission; April 2016

*Added post-workshop due to time constraints during workshop!

Teacups and Tea: A Heavenly Match

Delicious Orange Pekoe with milk in a attractive cup and saucer

A great way to start AND end the day!

This media post is about tea and teacups. All the images were taken from Flickr and all the image credits are at the end.

Cup of clear tea on small red tiles

Inviting brew

Teacup shown on side on top of matching sauce and plate

Delicate china with an angular handle

Teacup and saucer with leaf-shaped edges that make drinking elegantly difficult

Unusual leaf design: Probably hard to drink from with any elegance!

The Teacups ride at a fairground

Some mornings this still wouldn’t be enough tea!

Image Credits

Image 1: From Flickr; image by; some rights reserved; retrieved May 2016

Image 2: From Flickr; image by; Some rights reserved; retrieved May 2016

Image 3: From Flickr; image by; some rights reserved; retrieved May 2016

Image 4: From Flickr; image by; some rights reserved; retrieved May 2016

Image 5: From Flickr; image by; some rights reserved; retrieved May 2016

Perfect Tea in 6 Steps!

Teapot with picture of the sun on it, awaiting some tea.

A Sunny Outlook for a Fine Drink

Looking for the perfect cuppa? Follow our guide for the perfect brew…

1. Fill your kettle with freshly-drawn water

Only freshly-drawn water can bring out the full range of notes and flavours in your tea. It goes without saying that the water should be cold when you decant it into the kettle.

2. Pre-warm your teapot

A cold teapot is a terrible thing; use the first set of boiling water to scald your teapot and bring it back to life. Chipped mugs and handle-less crockery have no place at a refined table. Ensure your china is clean and in keeping with the season.

3. Add tea and boiling water to teapot

Select your finest tea leaves and allow one teaspoon per person, plus one for the pot. As soon as the kettle comes to the boil (not a moment before, not a moment after), carefully pour the water into the teapot. Ensure you do not allow any tea leaves to swill too far up the inside of the teapot, or, heaven forfend, out of the teapot.

4. Leave to steep to perfection

How long to allow your tea to brew has been debated for centuries. but science has supplied us with a definitive answer. Ignore the boffins at your peril! Add a modest amount of milk to the teacups. Not enough milk and your china may suffer from tea taint. Too much milk and you may as well be drinking dishwater. Be prudent with your portions.

5. Pour the tea (without spilling)

The moment has almost arrived, but steady your hand so you can pour bold and true; aim for a steady, steaming stream and direct it around the lower inside of the teacup. Do not overfill the cup or spill even a drop into the saucer.

6. Enjoy!

Perfection awaits! Now you may reward yourself with the finest of brews, the pinnacle of taste, the tincture of the gods. You deserve this, so take a moment to relish your achievements.

Elephant's tea party with an elephant and two men from March 1939

Elephant’s tea party

Image Credits

Image 1: Teapot photo taken by M. Higgins, used with permission; April 2016

Image 2: From Flickr;; Elephant’s tea party, Robur Tea Room, 24 March 1939, by Sam Hood and posted by; No known copyright; retrieved April 2016

Top 5 Tea Brands

Blue pottery teapot decorated with stylized brown flowers on a brown wooden table

A gift from Grandma

Exhaustive Research Conducted

After extensive research—and based on 70+ years of combined expertise—UFV’s ABT faculty have determined the top five tea brands available in Canada. An estimated one million cups of tea were consumed to bring this important information to light. (Two faculty, 70+ years, approximately 4 cups/day—highly valid data!)

  1. Tetley
  2. Dilmah
  3. Twinings
  4. Bigelow
  5. Red Rose

Health Benefits Revealed

While the two faculty members are experts in all tea types (e.g., black, white, green, oolong), only black tea was considered for this top tea brands list. Black tea has been shown to have excellent health benefits, as evidenced by numerous studies. Reduced rates of various forms of cancer, as well as increased feelings of well-being, were observed. In his Brain Bulletin #32, international speaker and brain expert Terry Small notes that “drinking tea soaks your brain in antioxidants, potentially slowing down brain decline.” These health benefits are excellent reasons for people to increase their tea consumption.

Plus it tastes good.

Image Credits

Teapot: Taken by C. Nehring, used with permission; April 2016