For me anyway, and I suspect for thousands (millions?) of other English bods.
This morning, I was beyond dismayed to discover there was NO tea left. I knew this point had been approaching but was unaware of quite how soon . . .
You can buy tea in France; it mainly comes in yellow boxes, marked, not surprisingly 'Yellow Label' and you can order it cafés where it is generally served thus: tea bag placed next to a cup of almost hot water, with, if you have asked for milk, a small jug of boiling milk. Occasionally you may have the luck to be presented with the bag IN a teapot containing very hot water, in which case you're heading vaguely in the right direction of 'a nice cup of tea.'
A Nice Cup Of Tea.
Oh, those words . . . how many times have I heard them spoken in so many different situations.
A stressful day - kettle on, 'let's have a N. C. O. T'. Just about any police drama where someone is being conveyed bad news - 'would you like a cup of tea, dear?' Visiting friends, visiting strangers, someone's come to fix your sink, - would you like a . . . standing on a windswept, damp train platform, trapped in an endless meeting or weeping into a sandwich at a funeral wake; if tea is available everything somehow seems bearable.
Tea is an addiction; one that started for me at around the age of twelve. I can recall the sound of the kettle being put on the ancient green enamel stove we had in the flat; the weedy whistle and the occasional swearing if my mother had forgotten and had come back to a white hot, boiled dry vessel.
Tea has accompanied me through life in its various forms, from builder's creosote in London Cafés through to occasional indulgences in Fortnum and Mason's and other hallowed tea emporiums.
The apex cup must have been in a National Trust Tearoom in Corfe Castle, Dorset: white cup, accompanying scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, log fire and slanting rain outside.
So, back to our dog and onion-smelling kitchen; no tea, other than Lapsang - I like this but it doesn't fill the N.C.O.T desire. I might have to go and buy a box of yellow label . . .
Our tea canister (sadly empty) and Butlin's caddy spoon, circa 1948
A link to a great site all about a nice cup of tea and a sit down