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| Chris Arnold
I work as a hospital chaplain here in Oakland California, a city which has its problems. I am also a British ex-pat, although I've been living here since I was 8 so I've lost the accent, unfortunately. I'll have you know that very early this morning I was robbed of my wallet by two gun-wielding men. Physically I'm fine. Emotionally I'm a bit wobbly. I'm currently following my mum's advice, which is that I have a nice cup of tea and a sit down. This, naturally, made me think of you.
Now, she said that the rules are that when tea is administered for a crisis, it is properly to be sweetened, even when not normally consumed this way. Is this a protocol with which you are familiar? (I take milk, and PG Tips is my bog-standard brand)
Wishing you a gun-free day,
|Nicey replies: Chris,
Yes indeed people in shock get given sweet tea whether they want it or not, that is the British way. Either it will fortify and comfort you, or if you find yourself struggling to drink the unaccustomedly sweetened brew at least its taking your mind off the matter at hand.
Chin up. At least that San Andreas fault thingy across the bay has gone off recently, that could really ruin your day.
My Gram was born in Hastings in the 1880’s, moved to London as a young wife, then brought her two young daughters to California after losing her husband in WWI. We always had proper English tea at holiday dinners, but I didn’t much care for it. To entice me, Gram used to call to my attention the bubbles in my cup. “Ooooo-o-o-o—loook, you’re going to have lots of money coming your way….” I still didn’t like tea, much to Gram’s chagrin. But I do have Gram’s biscuit tin. I use it every Christmas when I load it up with homemade cookies—err, biscuits.
|Nicey replies: Hello Sue,
We have a special icon for tea bubbles and their associated wealth, and one for biscuit tins too. I think it's lovely that your Gram's old biscuit tin gets an outing at Christmas time.
As for Hastings I seem to remember from my trip there as a child that it has very tall wooden sheds covered in tar, which were something to do with fishing.
How’s tricks? Hope you, Wifey and YMOS are all well. I thought it was about time I contributed a mail to the site again…..it’s been too long.
I’ve just come back from a work trip to the USA and as per usual getting any sort of cup of tea over there is tough, let alone a decent one. Anyway, it was a two and a half week trip and frankly something had to be done to satisfy my tea craving. In my hotel room was a coffee maker, 4 Lipton Yellow Label tea bags and 3 sachets of Coffeemate. How wrong could it go? I loaded the tea bags into the coffee jug and filled the machine with water. A flick of the switch and I was only 5 minutes away from a delicious brew. The slightly hot water landed onto the bags and the level rose until I was satisfied there was enough for a couple of cups. I poured and added a sachet of Coffeemate. I’m sure you can imagine how it tasted……so I nipped over to McDonalds and got a tea from them, which to my surprise didn’t taste too bad….or maybe anything would have tasted good after my effort.
|Nicey replies: It takes one or two truly woeful and tragic cups of tea to knock that plucky British optimism out you. I also think Ray Mears has a lot to answer for here as he seems to be able to conjure up most of life's necessity's using just some sticks and a bonfire, it seems reasonable that we should be able to comfortably come up with a cuppa using the resources of a hotel room, even an American one.
If there is a next trip perhaps you should camp out in shrubbry next to the car park and brew up billy can tea.
I'm sure those innovations style catalogues full of executive toys and gadgets have something that could be used to make tea in such a hostile environment.
I have just discovered your website.I can't believe it ! I am the world's biggest fan of tea,cakes and biscuits.
My partener recently had his 50th. birthday.We decided to have a garden party. We had an urn, supplying endless hot water for mugs of tea. On top of that we had mountains of scones, clotted cream and home made jam, as well as platters of cupcakes.
Everyone was blissfully happy.
(P.S. Yorkshire tea rules.) Joan.
|Nicey replies: Joan,
Thank you for that lovely picture of the cup cakes. It sounds like a charming event.
And talking of small cakes and tea urns. Wifey and I manned the tea and cake stall at the school fair last Friday and that little lot would have traded at 20p each which at rough first count comes to £22.80. Unfortunately due to some bad planning and people neglecting to write SOLD on some of the cakes we did manage to sell a few twice, although both Wifey and I were prepared to fight our corner if Sir Alan dragged us into the board room.
||Dear Nicey, |
I was forced to stop drinking tea for a few months and switch to instant coffee, not through choice, but because of a drop in tea quality. I am able to drink any kind of vile coffee but I am very particular about my tea. It has to be strong, with a dash of milk, no sugar. Builder's brew if you like.
I have noticed that bog standard teabags such as Tetley, PG tips and Red Label have got weaker, so weak that I have not been able to brew a satisfactory cuppa. I suspect they are mixing the tea in the bags with dark coloured sawdust. Either that or I have become more impatient.
Fortunately I have found a solution to my problem. I have switched to Assam tea which always seems to come out strong enough and satisfies my craving for tea. I wonder if anyone else has noticed tea becoming weaker? If so may I suggest a switch to assam or kenyan.
PS the milk chocolate Hob Nob is the King of Biscuits IMO. Chocolate digestive a close second.
|Nicey replies: I wonder if it's your water? We noticed that our trick of using one tea bag for two mugs which works well enough here for Wifey and I failed when on holiday in Ireland with softer water. This could also explain why the local blends over there were very much stronger.
Have you moved house to one with a water softening system, new kettle or something?