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A Whole New Ballgame!

Right now, in the United States, the American football season is building to a crescendo. The days get shorter, the nights get colder, and fans have a decent idea of how their team’s season is going to pan out. Months of off-season anticipation and excitement (the first week of February all the way to September) have led to this; soon we’ll know who is going to make the playoffs and have a chance of playing their way into the most watched sporting event on the planet: the Superbowl. A place where history, dreams and legends are made. Last season’s Superbowl was a perfect example of the wonderful stories that this incredible game can create: on one side, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady—considered by many to be the ‘GOAT’ (greatest of all time) and winner of five Superbowl titles—versus the Philadelphia Eagles, led by a substitute quarterback called Nick Foles, who was only playing because the star quarterback Carson Wentz was injured. After a momentous, back-and-forth tussle, Foles and the Eagles came out victorious, confirming to many that football is the most unpredictably dramatic sport on earth, and writing Foles’s name into the pantheon of NFL history.

For many English people, the world of pads, helmets and cheerleaders represent a confusing amalgamation of rugby and wrestling; a three-hour circus full of strange movements, endless stoppages and eccentric terminology. And these people aren’t wrong! To the uninitiated, gridiron can appear clunky, overblown and immeasurably tedious. But once you start to pick up the basics of the rules and tactics, a new picture emerges: an unbelievably well-choreographed combination of balletic athleticism, brute strength, chess-like strategy and graceful execution of physics-defying agility.

In the simplest terms, the eleven-man teams are split into Offense and Defence, so that at any given time, one team’s Offense will play the opposition’s Defence—and vice versa. The Offense has four attempts—called downs—to move the ball ten yards by either running with the ball rugby-style, or throwing it down the field to one of the receivers, who will attempt to run in cleverly-devised patterns in order to create space and receive the pass. These attempts are called plays. Once a player is tackled, the play is over and the game stops. The next play starts from where the player was tackled. The ultimate aim is to move the ball into the opposition’s Endzone (similar to the area which you score a try in rugby) thus scoring a touchdown. If the Offense succeeds in getting ten (or more) yards, they receive another four downs. If they fail, they will try and kick (punt) the ball as far away from their Endzone as possible, in order to make it harder for the opposition team’s Offense to score when they take to the pitch. At any time, the Defence can try and strip the ball from the Offense or intercept one of their throws and advance it towards the opposite Endzone.

Still confused? I don’t blame you. It takes a whole heap of time and patience to absorb all the multitude of fine details the game has to offer, to decode what on Earth is meant by Tight End Waggle, bubble-screen, Hail-Mary and quick-slant. But as you slowly start to pick it up, you realise that this sport offers so much more drama, tactical prowess and nail-biting tension than so many others. In a large percentage of matches, the result will go down to the last pass in the last second of the game, with thousands of camera lenses flashing, the pigskin ball arcing through the floodlit heavens, and four or five 200lb men jumping like gazelles to try and grab the prize in the Endzone. And because there are only 32 teams in a country the size of America, competition for places is fierce. A bigtime mistake might be a player’s last. It’s commonplace for players to be cut from a team the morning after a big loss: there’s always someone else waiting in line for their chance. Hard to reconcile that with a sport like cricket or soccer, where some players can have an underwhelming season and still find themselves signed up to the squad.

But this is football. Brutal, relentless, elite. Filled with stories like Brady and Foles, heroes and villains, underdogs and Hall-of-Famers, pride and glory, misery and defeat. If you like sport, my advice is to sit back, grab a hotdog and give the game a real good go. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

And in the spirit of trying something different, don’t forget to flip on the kettle and discover our delicious range of Hoogly Teas! Our blends are as exotic and thrilling as anything American Football can conjure, combining tantalising tastes with the cosy comfort of Danish-inspired Hygge!

After safely removing your helmet and gumshield, try a mug of Baked Apple Chai! Mellow Sri Lankan tea is the quarterback here, carefully coordinating a combination of Apple, Ginger, Cinnamon and cloves to bring you an alluring and harmonious brew that is sure to score a touchdown! 

For those who yearn for the fire and energy found in football, why not try Lemon and Ginger herbal infusion? This satisfying brew will warm your cockles and pads, and give you a zesty edge over the competition. So good you’ll keep coming back for more!

And if you’re after the magic of the Superbowl, bring the special occasion home with Sparkling White tea. This beautiful Chinese brew is elegantly blended with flowers and fruit pieces to give you the refreshing taste of victory with every sip!

That’s it for this week, folks. Bring on game night. Go Vikes!!!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Space for More Tea!

Space for More Tea!

With the arrival of the film ‘First Man,’ starring Ryan Gosling, our minds turn back to the heroic journey four astronauts took nearly fifty years ago on July 21st 1969, creating history as the first humans to visit the moon. The enormity of the achievement cannot be overstated: the technological and mathematical wizardry to launch human beings on such an audacious and precise mission, and to bring them back safely again; the skill, courage and determination of the astronauts on board; the pressure that the country was under politically—battling against Cold War rivals Russia to win the ‘space race’ and the sheer scale of the risks involved in plunging into the howling darkness and exploring new frontiers.

It’s one small step for man…one giant leap for mankind. These were Neil Armstrong’s famous words as he stepped foot on the moon’s surface—but what must have been going through his mind at the time? He was already an experienced pilot, having flown nearly two hundred types of aircraft, and completing seven gruelling years of training and missions since becoming an astronaut in 1962. But even for a hardened veteran, there is no precedent for placing your boot where no man has gone before. He must have experienced fear, anticipation, exhilaration, curiosity—not to mention all practical information and knowledge he needed in order to complete his mission. His training would have given him vital preparation, but as a human being, stray thoughts of his family and of home must have crept in—doubts as to whether he would ever see them again, and reflections on the phenomenal distance between himself and the planet on which he was born and raised, and the tremendous isolation that must create.

But in the end, Armstrong and the team completed the mission, and came home to a hero’s welcome (and 21 days in quarantine in case they’d come back with an unknown space disease!)

These days the frontiers have moved further outwards. The Mars One non-profit foundation aims to put one hundred human colonists on Mars by 2031. Candidates are currently being assessed under a wide range of criteria, including health, psychological stability, motivation, ability to work in a team, and resilience. The wellbeing and compatibility of the colonists are so important because the mission is a one-way trip. Mars will become these pioneers’ home; the first colony of its kind created to stretch the bounds of the possible, inspire future generations and bring the world closer together—just like the Armstrong and the Apollo 11 team in 1969. What an amazing achievement it would be—and what an extraordinary privilege and responsibility for those that make the journey. How do you come to terms with the fact that you will never see Earth again?  Leaving behind friends, family, loved ones. For some of us, this burden may seem insurmountable. But for the select few, the challenge, the thrill, the sheer audacity of the mission is too much to resist. Their names and achievements etched into the history books for all time—forever linked with courage, adventure and hope. As President John F Kennedy said in 1962: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

  At Hoogly, we have a slightly different perspective. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We do things not because they are hard, but because they are easy. The inspiration behind our teas, Hygge, is all about enjoying the simple pleasures of life and incorporating them into your daily routines. Hygge is about relaxation and comfort. It’s about indulgence and treats. It’s about putting yourself first for once. It’s about being around the people that bring you joy. Going into space is a phenomenal, awe-inspiring achievement—but going around to your friend’s place for a cuppa is just as wonderful. The universe is full of mysteries, wonders and the unknown—but we love things that are familiar, cosy and safe.  And through our delicious range of brews, we want you to experience all these things too.

So, flip on your kettle, pull out a mug and embrace tantalising flavours such as Chocolate Brownie, Danish Pastry, Spiced Orange, Rhubarb & Vanilla, Marzipan Rooibos and Raspberry, Liquorice & Lavender. It’s one small sip of tea—one giant leap for tea-kind!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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