Thursday, March 31, 2005

More tea, vicar?

The fine art of making tea outside the British Isles

You are somewhere to the south and east of Dover and you fancy a nice cup of something hot. Tea. Well, tough titties, you're doomed, for a stupidly expensive scientific study has come to the following conclusions of the chance of getting a cup of tea outside the British Isles:

1. Cannot be done. Drink coffee.

Or, if you insist, and I must stress you are now taking your life in your hands here, the following procedure must be strictly adhered to.


* Water: Oh God, we're off to a bad start here. They just don't do water in foreign. If I were you, I'd bottle up your own before you leave and take your chances with customs. Remember - water smuggling can get you up to five years in Turkey, and a ring like a wizard's sleeve. No cup of tea is worth that kind of battering.

* Milk: You are having a laugh here, aren't you? British milk tastes like milk. Any other country's milk tastes like a wrestler's armpit and should only be used as paint stripper. If you're the kind of smug bastard that likes lemon in their tea, then you will be the first against the wall come the revolution (Shot at dawn, then home for a nice cup of tea. Lovely.) Powdered milk is likely to have you sectioned, not to mention the possibility of a nasty latex gloved experience in the customs hall. They can spot people like you a mile off.

* Tea: Bring your own, but beware that it spoils the second it crosses the border. And in combination with local water, tea and second hand air breathed in by Johnny Foreigner, it could be the last thing that passes your lips. If the stuff they put into British tea bags is reputedly the sweepings of the floor in the tea factory, God alone knows what's left for the miniscule and easily fobbed-off foreign market, where the only customers are ex-pat Brits pining for a decent cuppa.

Method: "Hmm", you say, waking up in your hotel room in darkest Babylon, "I fancy a nice cup of tea. But how?"

* Call room service. The bellboy will eventually arrive and take your bags to the lobby, where you take a taxi to the airport, board a plane, and several connections later, you arrive back in the UK.
* Take a 100 mile taxi journey home from Heathrow, dash into your kitchen, make a lovely cup of tea in the accepted manner, drink it, before returning to your foreign hotel room.

No problem, and well worth the effort.

In conclusion: stay at home. White, no sugar, and PUT THE MILK IN FIRST, you bloody heathen.

The Thursday Vote-o

Thursday swoops down on us once again, like the big swoopy Swan of Death come to break a man's arm with a single flap of it's wing. "Swaaaaan!" it screams, "Vote for a Scary Story or I'll break your arm with a single flap of my wing!"

Best do as he says, then. All stories are certified almost entirely swan free.

* Cubs' Camp - In which small boys are attacked by swans for not bringing enough bread - with hilarious results!
* Party - Swans gatecrash a quiet family gathering - with hilarious results!
* Top Trumps - "There was a muffled explosion and we were knocked flying by a large white bird moving at enormous speed"
* The Age of Steam - "At last!" cried Dr Scourge, "Meka-Swan is complete. The world will cower before my invention!"

I don't make this stuff up, you know.

Next week: Bees.

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