I am fascinated with the way that Tea and Absinthe seem to have become the tipples of choice for the Steampunk Community. I’m even more fascinated how tea and teapots are the inspiration for such Steampunk sports as Tea Duelling and Teapot Racing.
Tea Duelling is when two parties sit down with exactly the same type of cup and biscuits (in Australia we might use use Arnott’s milk arrowroot or Nice biscuits), and a pot of hot tea. The person presiding over the event if the Tiffin Mistress (or Tiffen Master), and she will direct the duellists to submerge their biscuits for a set period of time, generally five seconds. The goal is now to get the soggy biscuit from cup to mouth is the most genteel manner. If the biscuit drops back into the cup, the holder of the cup is disqualified. If the cup leaves the table, or an individual duellist leans too far over the table, they are disqualified. The winner is the person who manages to consume the greatest portion of their biscuit neatly, in the fastest manner, without ‘cramming’ an entire biscuit into their mouth. Any biscuit crumbling or droppages between cup and lip are just part of the thrills and spills of this sport. This is a lot harder to achieve than it might sound. Heats are played off between dueling couples, until the ultimate winner is declared.
Teapot Racing – as far as I can discover – was invented in New Zealand, where they race robotic teapots.
This year, at the Steampunk Ghostbuster’s Steampunk Charity Ball, to held in Brisbane, Queensland in June, one of the charity events will be non-mechanised teapot racing. In this case, the teapots will have twin ramps to race down, and there will also be a ‘fashion’ parade of the teapots. The Steampunk Ghostbusters hope to make this an annual event.
So, I’m still hunting down other Tea-related Steampunk sports. Any suggestions will be most welcome.