Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A nice cup of tea - an appreciation


Binnie Hale's 'A Nice Cup of Tea' dates from a 1937 West End show. For all the Starbucks coffee shops on every corner the song is as quintessentially British now as it was more than 70 years ago.
Whether it's limbs lopped off in a train wreck or just the start of a new day, life looks better with a nice cup of tea. The fireman is unlikely to throw a blanket around your shoulders and say, "Here y'are mate a nice skinny latte."
I used to be a bit of a tea snob. Warmed teapots and loose tea; Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey - you name it and I had an opinion. I'm happy enough still drinking green or jasmine and even chamomile.
But these days edging nearer the abyss, I'm content with a PG Tips teabag and a dash of milk. On special days I might wash the mug first and take the teabag out before drinking.
I've found that even stripping away what were once essentials - first sugar and then caffeine - I can still find pleasure in the beverage.
Binnie Hale's song includes the extraordinary couplet "Anyone can have me vote and chuck it in the sea/But by golly there'd be trouble if they tried to touch me tea."
A thought on which to ponder as the country faces a month of electioneering. We'll be reaching for a nice cup of tea to take away the bitter taste of the half-truths and false promises we'll be asked to swallow in the party manifestos.

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