The Diary of a Commuter

Friday, 29 June 2007

An Englishman's Tea is his Castle

I have always believed that there are ways to do things, and ways to very much not do things. One shouldn't for example arrive at a party or dinner without a gift for the hostess, one should not rush lighting a cigar, as badly lit it will prove a source of constant irritation. In Poker one should always be a courteous loser, and a gracious winner, and one should never wear a bluetooth headset - they make you look like an idiot.

Finally and perhaps most importantly of all - one should absolutley never ever make tea with the teabag in the cup.

An Englishman should know how to make tea. It is an intrinsic part of our make up, and we should not settle for namby pamby, shortcut, imitation, fast food, U.S imported alternatives.

There is a way to make perfect tea. And this is it.

Go to Marks and Spencer and buy a packet of your favourite tea - I suggest Earl Grey, or a good quality breakfast tea. Go back home and boil a kettle of water. When the kettle has boiled, pour a little of it into a tea pot, swirl it around and tip it out again. Put a couple (or three, depending on the size of the pot) of tea bags into the pot. Bring the kettle back up to the boil, and then pour the boiling water as quickly as you can into the pot. Let it stand for two or three minutes, and then pour it into a cup. Some people will tell you that you shouldn't have milk with Earl Grey, just a slice of lemon. Screw them. I like it with milk. If you think you will like it with milk then it's probably best to put some milk into the bottom of the cup before you pour in the tea.1

If you pour milk into a cup of hot tea you will scald the milk. If you think you will prefer it with a slice of lemon then, well, add a slice of lemon.
Drink it.

1 This is socially incorrect. The socially correct way of pouring tea is to put the milk in after the tea. Social correctness has traditionally had nothing whatever to do with reason, logic or physics. In fact, in England it is generally considered socially incorrect to know stuff or think about things.

(Tea recipe courtesy of the late great Douglas Adams)

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Dawn Chorus

Act One
Scene 1

The master bedroom of a quiet, surburban house in East Dulwich. It's 6.15am and all is quiet, save for the sound of Garry the milkman tinkling peacefully along the serene empty street. Sunlight is just beginning to break over the rooftops, quietly drying the thin layer of dew covering the Audi A4’s. Harry (3 and a half) enter’s the bedroom, where his exhausted, hard working, loving parents are lying deeply asleep in their kingsize bed, dead to the world. The room smells faintly of Ralph Lauren Polo Sport and second hand Chablis. The child walks around to his fathers side of the bed, holding a slightly bedraggled fluffy dog in one hand and the thumb of his other hand firmly planted in his mouth. He stops at his fathers side, pauses and yawns, and rubbing his eyes he removes the thumb from his mouth.

Harry: Daddy?
Harry: Daddy?….Daddy?, Daddy, Daddy?, Daddy?, Daddy?, Daddy?, DADDY!
Daddy: (groans from underneath the continental duvet) What time is it honey?
Mummy: (groans from underneath the continental duvet) Quarter past six
Daddy: (still groaning) Harry, it’s still snooze time
Harry: But Daddy…..
Daddy: Back to bed mate, still snooze time….(Daddy instantly falls back into a deep coma-like sleep)
Harry: (sighs and takes a deep breath) Daddy?….Daddy?, Daddy, Daddy?, Daddy?, Daddy?, Daddy?, DADDY!
Daddy: (groans and surfaces from underneath the continental duvet) Dude, it’s quarter past six, you’ve got to be kidding me.
Harry: But DADDY!
Daddy: OK OK, what is it?
Harry: What would happen if a polar bear came into my room?
Daddy stares at Harry in disbelief
Daddy: I think that’s highly unlikely mate.
Harry: Why?
Daddy: It just is
Harry: But why?
Mummy: Harry, BED!
Harry: But what would happen Daddy
Daddy: (back under the continental duvet) I imagine it would probably rip you to shreds and eat you for breakfast.
Harry: (pauses and appears to digest this information) OK.

Holding a slightly bedraggled fluffy dog in one hand and the thumb of his other hand firmly planted back in his mouth, Harry turns and leaves the room.

Fade to black.