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||Hello, Nicey and Wifey -- I thoroughly enjoy NCOTAASD....|
It seems as though you are convinced that all Americans are backward and uncivilised -- and most of them are.
BUT...I own a Bodum kettle that lives on top of my filing cabinet at work, just big enough to boil two mugs of water (the water out of the coffee machine downstairs isn't hot enough to *bathe* in, much less brew a nice cup of tea for a sit down). It has worked faithfully for nearly three years now. With it, I produce lovely mugs of Twinings Assam tea (dark and malty, according to the box) and my beloved PG Tips that I purchase in massive boxes whilst in England on business. I also have a tin of lovely (if poncey) jasmine tea and (equally poncey) fragrant lotus tea sent to me by a good friend after their holiday to Asia. (My home kettle is a large Sunbeam model -- the type with the stationary base, floating red ball, and automatic shutoff -- they DO sell proper kettles here, they're just hard to find.)
My biscuit supply is usually crammed into my suitcase upon my return -- HobNobs (plain and plain chocolate), Jaffa Cakes (small boxes because an open packet is an empty packet) and Crunchie bars (yes, I know, they're candy, but I'm allowed, aren't I?)
My local imported-foods emporium usually carries a small but well-formed assortment of biscuits, as well -- HobNobs, in all of their various varieties, digestives, and the occasional bonus packet of Penguins. (my husband doesn't know of my expensive habit -- the price is typically 400% higher than Sainsbury's...) I haven't managed to find any Jaffas, but I can usually find Pim's, which are not the same, but make an acceptable substitute.
I hope you see this as some sort of hope....
|Nicey replies: Sunshine,
Well that's very nice to hear that yet another of our American cousins has a big stash of PG tips and Hobnobs. If you really want to be a true Anglophile however you'll need to change your name to 'outbreaks of persistent drizzle'.
||Dear Nicey, Wifey, and Junior members of staff, |
I read your website and newsletter with great delight from my cubicle in the primitive reaches of the Northwestern United States, generally whilst enjoying my afternoon cup of tea (perhaps the sit down bit is redundant, as my job is very sit-downy, but the tea is a welcome distraction, even more so if accompanied by biscuits). (Please allow me to apologize in advance for my tendency to wax verbose. I chalk it up to too much Dickens in college.)
In any case, I nearly lost control of my sip of tea when I read Sam Bushnell's letter on the apparent correlation between a freshly brewed cup of tea and an exuberant exhibition of gymnastics by junior members of staff. I, too, have noticed this phenomenon, but feel it necessary at this point to add that it is not exclusive to children. A hot cup of tea also seems to inspire a fit of unwonted affection in housecats. It never fails; the moment I settle comfortably into the sofa with a fresh cuppa, my lazy and otherwise apathetic Siamese cat is inevitably stricken with a wave of affection which he must immediately express by leaping on to my lap and rubbing his great whiskery face on my cup, and butting his nose against the hand holding said cup. (It also appears that books, magazines, and newspapers all exude an odor of catnip; or at least, this is the only explanation I can imagine for my cat's propensity to spread his substantial girth over the pages of anything I'm trying to read, but this perhaps ought to be reserved for another e-mail to a website about the feline anti-human literacy campaign.) In any case, I love the website, and keep searching for yummy English biscuits (thus far to no avail).
Speaking of biscuits, I must say that in theory I agree whole heartedly with your estimation of the Oreo, but due to excessive exposure at a tender age, I still find myself salivating at the sight of the little buggers. They should not, however, be allowed anywhere near a decent cup of tea. Milk is the only proper accompaniment, or possibly coffee. (Yes, I drink coffee too . . . I AM American, and therefore can't help it.)
Finally, I must express my distress over the ubiquitousness of Lipton "tea". It is, unfortunately, the only actual "tea" offered by my employer, although they provide a great variety of herbal pseudo-teas from a would-be respectable local "tea" distributor. Needless to say, I pack in my own Twinings, hoarding the treasure in my desk and carrying individual bags with my mug in to the break room for hot water. On optimistic days I can at least tell myself that even Lipton is superior to the dreaded beverage vending machine. On dark days--for example, when I've run out of Twinings and am nearly desperate enough to actually partake of Lipton tea--I consider quitting.
Anyway, three cheers for NCOTAASD! Keep up the good work.
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
|Nicey replies: Yes my old black cat Brian used to head straight for an open newspaper then somehow expand his whole body to cover all the bits you wanted to read. So I just stopped reading the papers. He never spilt my tea though.|
I would like to reassure Mark Pennington about drinking tea in the USA. I have quite a lot of male English friends out here who drink tea, and none of them are 'special chaps'. It seems that this is acceptable to the American public because they are British. In fact it seems to be assumed that all British people, regardless of their sex, will drink tea - In an "Oh, your British, so you'll be having tea right?" sort of way. No need to think your masculinity will be slighted by your tea drinking. At least not in Chicago....
|Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
||Dear Nicey and Wifey.|
We’re in serious trouble. I’m working in Jamaica for six months, from Australia, and loose leaf standard issue tea can’t be bought for love nor money. There’s tea bags, good old Tetley’s (normal and British Blend), which is a relief, and we took the precaution of bringing a stock of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea bags, imagining these would tide us over till we got a packet of good small tipped leaf. Alas, there’s plenty of other kinds of leaf here, but NO TEA. Or not so as we’ve found, but we’ve scoured the malls and supermarkets of Kingston to no avail. Can any kind Jamaican soul out there please advise??
I must say though that a nice cup of Blue Mountain coffee and a slice of rum cake goes down very nicely at teatime as a substitute.
Looking forward to your book,
Yours, Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
Frustrated tea drinkers of Jamaica
Tunnocks Wafer Review
I recently rediscovered the Tunnocks Wafer. This opens up many a conversation. Is a Tunnocks Wafer a biscuit (in my opinion, yes) and have any other readers rediscovered biscuits that have been long forgotten?
On the packaging of the Tunnocks Wafer is the remarkable statistic that 4,000,000 are made weekly. I left school and moved from Elgin in the NE of Scotland in 1994 and via various countries have found myself in London. I have not had a Tunnocks Wafer since then. Who is getting my share?
By my calculations the population of the country is 60,000,000 and 2,080,000,000 made since I last had one. I have therefore missed out on almost 35 Tunnocks Wafers. Whilst this may not sound a lot, try laying them down end to end and munching through them in one sitting. I did.
P.S. Love the site. Keep up the good work.
|Nicey replies: Mark,
We have pondered this question several times in the past. We recently heard that you can get Tunnocks wafers in some parts of the Caribbean, which just shows that its not a simple issue about where they all go. I wonder if even Mr Tunnock himself knows. Perhaps they could fit some with satellite tracking, and get one of those big Bond villain maps of the world, with little lights on it. Obviously Scotland would be fairly bright.