Perched on a stool, in a restaurant in the further reaches of Notting Hill, I exhaled a quiet sigh of relief as the weight upon my shoulders evaporated in fragments as multitudinous as the Chinese characters that adorned the ceiling. It was a busy night and I was glad for the abundance of unknown characters; thankful for the absence of familiar faces.
Upon the stool, with an interrupted view of the world, I created a temporary abyss of calm, an impermanent temple of respite from troubled thoughts fuelled by the incessant demands of life - that entity with which I have a love-hate relationship. From upon that stool, I accepted offerings of little bamboo steamers, which I hoped were (carefully) filled with the answers to the little problems of my life. How delighted I was when, within, I found not only what I sought, but also ecstasy for my palate and prozac for my soul.
Ah, yes. Dim sum.
There is a certain je ne sais quoi about dim sums, those small, flavourful packets, which, if well-made and eaten in the correct environment - lights not too bright; an opus of voices resonating in the background - envelope you in an aura of calm contentment. Even on those days that are determined to have you uprooted and thrown completely off balance.
Tea is not the solution to life's little problems as the English (and Irish) are wont to believe. Dim sum is.