just enough for three or four cups a day (about a third of my daily intake). I think Adolf Hitler made a bad misjudgement when he attacked the ships bringing
us our tea supplies - in fact, he couldn't have picked a better way of getting our British backs up and inducing the bitterest anger in our bulldog breed. Without any prejudice intended towards tea drinkers from other lands, I hold an
unshakeable belief that you have to be from these Isles to fully appreciate the significance of Great Aunt Mary's remark about 'a nice cup of tea'. I mean to
say, ever heard anyone describe a cup of coffee as nice? Come off it! I seriously don't think so. And don't get me wrong, I enjoy drinking this too. You often hear superlatives used to describe a particularly good cup of coffee, like 'best' 'excellent' 'wonderful' - it can even be described as 'mean' (suggesting it has really hit the required spot). However, the adjective 'nice', and I don't care how prejudicial this may sound, is only ever applicable to just one
beverage, and that's tea!
Perhaps the unpredictable British weather is to a large degree responsible for our devotion to the drink. On those dismal days when the sky is grey, and the damp seems to have crept into your bones and you feel like hurling yourself at the ground and sobbing, a cup of tea is sometimes the last defence, the only thing capable of reviving the spirits enough to carry on. I am certainly not alone in my appreciation of tea. The great writer George Orwell wrote an essay on the subject; strangely enough, his was entitled A Nice Cup of Tea too. He set down eleven points that in his opinion had to be strictly adhered to in order to produce the perfect cup. Some people might describe this attention to detail as fanatical, and I might well agree - but this happens to be tea we're talking about!
I am not alone either:
"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea."
- Sydney Smith, A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
"We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week ...
The bottom is out of the Universe."
- Rudyard Kipling, The Collected Poems of Rudyard Kipling
"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
- C S Lewis
Tea hee hee!