I AM a representative of the former British Empire and the current Commonwealth of Nations; I am the descendant of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and the son of an RAF pilot. I did
not graduate with First Class honours from Cambridge University and since then have not entered the Foreign Office’s prestigious diplomatic corps.
‘The Northern Plights’ documents my assessment of Sweden for the possibility of any future conquests which the British Government’s War Cabinet is
DISPATCH 2: Tea.
On Saturday eve I met with a former university chum who has recently travelled through The Netherlands. As we supped our cocktails in the Malmö Hilton International – a ghastly looking building, but towering enough to keep one just out of reach from the natives – our musings meandered onto the topic of tea, always the next port of call after commenting upon the weather (cold, incidentally, always cold).
During our jovial banter he proposed a most quirksome fact. “Were you aware that one of the first words that The Average Brit learns in Dutch is the word for ‘whipped cream’?”, he asked.
The mind does boggles upon hearing this notion, why would a dairy product, used in both the kitchen and the boudoir, be the first addition to the Brit’s Dutch parlance? Is it because they are considering the somewhat liberal nature of the Dutch. How could this possibly be?
He explained: “The first thing The Average Brit does when he arrives at any destination, be it Birmingham or Bangkok, is to source a cup of tea. He/she will always head to the nearest cafe in a desperate bid to find something warm and wet.
“Sit down at any cafe in The Netherlands and one word will jump off the menu screaming..”
What is one seriously expected to think when confronted with such a word in a country which has morals so lapse you can rent a girl from a shop window? It quickly gets the better of anyone’s curiosity and before you know it you are diving into your Berlitz Phrase Book. You may at first head for the ‘nightlife’ section of your guide, but no matter how often you thumb through that chapter, you will find the true definition in the ‘eating and drinking out’ pages.
And here you have it: Click Me.
This is all somewhat of a convoluted way of saying, the Brits need their tea. And this fact, combined with our collective grubby sense of humour, leads us to the true definition of ‘slagroom’. Unfortunately, both The Netherlands and Sweden share a similar trait – they cannot make a pot of tea; as Empire Building goes, Sweden ain’t no India.
The Swedes (and the Dutch) you see, are nations of coffee drinkers:
Rank Country Coffee Consumption
Top 10 Coffee Consumers by Nation.
So, it is not as if they do not know HOW to make a cup of tea, but rather they do not CARE about how to make a cup of tea. Come the potential invasion, this of course will all be ironed out, but meanwhile, here is the list of a few gripes I’d like to be dealt with as a matter of urgency:
- If the name of your only ‘teas’ contain a fruit, then it is not tea, it is cordial (saft). It is a children’s drink served hot to make you feel like an adult.
- Tea is served in a tea cup, or, if you are of a lower class, a ‘mug’; it is by NO means ever to be served in a glass with no handle – it may look elegant, but it makes my hands hurty.
- If I request milk with my tea, please do not look at me like I have murdered one of the ABBA women, it is common practice to add lactose to many hot beverages in the Civilised World.
And when I request tea, do this:
ATTENTION BOTH FELLOW COUNTRYMEN & NATIVES: If you would like to receive my dispatches at precisely the same moment as the Foreign Office do
n’t, then tick the box requesting email notification on the right of this VERY page – please don’t forget to confirm the electronic mail you will be sent. It’ll be like Wikileaks, but not quite as savage….’Weakileaks’©