There are people in the World who think they like drinking tea.
I don’t mean the British/Irish—who do like drinking tea ¹.
Or people who have lived in Britain/Éire sufficiently long to have developed a taste for it.
Or people with an expat family member/partner/friend who introduced them to it by way of real tea imported from the UK/Britain/Great Britain/British Isles/Éire ⁵.
No … these people are nearly always American, Dutch, French, Belgian, German, whatever … anything and everything except British/Irish.
When you visit them, you are invariably enjoined by your excitable host(s) to partake of a cup of tea … which they know you will be desperate for after all this time without one because their countrymen-and-women don’t appreciate tea and don’t know how to make it.
And … because you’re British/Irish and don’t know how to be assertive … which would be rude … you agree to do so, knowing full well, as you do so, that the experience will, if anything, be worse even than that of drinking ‘Yorkshire tea’ … because this isn’t Britain/Éire and they don’t get the best of it and, if anything, what they do get is the equivalent of being told about Yorkshire ‘tea’—not even homeopathic but what you get if you threaten someone with “homeopathy if you don’t stop your whining!”
It doesn’t help that the holes in the bags the dust comes in are so tiny that … how to put this?
It is, I imagine, akin to the difference between virginal and pre-pubescent—there’s tight … and then there’s simply not fit for purpose ⁶.
So, whatever flavour there might be … and I‘m not saying that there is any … never escapes the bag and what you end up with is hot water with (possibly milk and/or sugar and) a vague hint of whatever material the teabag itself was made from—which might be carcinogenic to boot ⁹.
In fact, not even all the British/Irish drink proper tea … some of them are perfumed ponses too.
They drink Earl Grey ‘tea’—which isn’t tea at all but potpourri ¹⁰ in hot water.
Or Lady Grey ‘tea’—which is what Earl Grey drank when he wasn’t pretending to be heterosexual.
But I think it best to draw a discreet veil over them and their pecadillos — a bit like the maiden aunt kept in the attic, where she won’t be a danger to herself or others.
I’m vaguely minded to cast aspersions upon the characters of well-meaning Guardian readers from Hampstead, the kind of media luvvie who thinks NW1 is a state of mind when anyone with the money (rather than merely the aspiration) to live there knows it to be more of an état d'esprit really ¹² but I’m reaching the end of this particular train of thought now … running out of steam as it were.
So, I’m going to leave it there for now.
I think, in fact, that I‘ll go and make a cup of tea.
¹ Except, possibly those in Yorkshire—as a lifelong tea addict, I can safely say that ‘Yorkshire tea’ doesn’t qualify as actual tea but is rather some sort of remedy for something indeterminate ² and is a quite simply disgusting “hot water flavoured with dust in a bag” like a homeopathic gruel ⁴.
² I can’t decide whether they drink dust-in-a-bag themselves or simply laugh at the rest of the nation for drinking the dust-in-a-bag it is sold as ‘Yorkshire tea’ whilst the denizens of Yorkshire secretly drink proper tea themselves but, either way, I’m not prepared to spend long enough in Yorkshire to find out ³.
³ It’s a dark, satanic part of the country.
⁴ It doesn’t even contain any of the gym-mat scrapings required to make gruel … it’s just been threatened with the gruel contained in another vessel on the other side of the room—or possibly in an unlit cellar … at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard.”
⁵ Because even the Indians/Chinese don’t get to drink the best of it—that’s shipped straight to the U.K./Éire.
⁶ Yes, I have just managed to <ahem> slip in </ahem> a reference to paedophilia in a piece about tea … but if you look back over my writing, you’ll see me make reference to Hitler whilst discussing butterflies and rainbows, necrophilia whilst talking about people’s mothers … incest, bestiality and all manner of inappropriate topics ⁷.
⁷ It’s not at all unusual and you’d almost be forgiven for wondering if I didn’t pen these pieces with the sole intent of doing precisely that … whether the making of such untoward and distasteful asides weren’t, in fact, my real purpose right from the start ⁸.
⁸ And, who knows … you might even be right.
⁹ The manufacturers don’t anticipate anyone actually drinking enough of their product for anyone to ever find out if that is the case—you have to ask if the whole enterprise isn’t some sort of exercise in tax evasion/money laundering really … because nobody in their right mind drinks this stuff.
¹⁰ Sadly, Poo Pourri wasn’t, as I ‘d fondly imagined, a vapouriser for spraying essence of excrement about (or even on) you—but, it’s probably just as well really¹¹.
¹¹ Can you imagine what your life would be like were I to get my hands on that particular product!?
¹² Trust me … I lived there at the height of its luvvie dahlink-ness