for quite some time now i've been observing the weird and not-so-fascinating eating and drinking habits of the indigenous populations of this island i found myself stranded on.
i've finally decided to report them for the benefit and the amusement of the populations of the civilised world.
it seems very appropriate to begin with tea.
the relationship between the natives and tea is fascinating indeed. whatever the circumstances you can be assured that you can tame any member of the indigenous population by pronouncing these simple words:
"would you like a cup of tea?"
whatever the occasion, the day, the hour, the season the native will answer in the following fashion:
1.his/hers eyes will brighten up
2.he/she will say the words "mmmhhh... i would *love*one"
3.he/she will look at you with loving anticipation as if they are puppets and you the master.
(you must be then ready to serve the cup of tea. the consequences of not fulfilling your promise are too horrible to be mentioned here).
the first time you are confronted with such behaviour you will think that for some obscure reason the poor creature had been left starving for tea for weeks.
it is quite possible - or better, it is very likely - though, that the native in question had its latest cup less than a couple of hours earlier. (studies have shown that two hours is apparently the longest the british can be left without tea of any denomination without developing serious withdrawal symptoms of which the most severe are a ridiculous love of monarchy and the unexplicable appreciation for a radio soap about farming).
what are the rules for the preparation of the holy beverage, you might want to know?
the natives have refined the art of drinking tea to its lowest possible level.
to prepare the perfect "cuppa" you will drive to the supermarket, buy teabags filled with something-that-resembles-and-once-might-even-have-been tea. once back home you will toss one of the aforementioned bags into a cup and cover with scalding water. you will remove the bag after ten seconds and throw away, even if there's enough almost-tea left to feed a family of four for a week.
drink as soon as you can avoid branding your lips with the side of the cup, or better, watch a native drinking from its cup as it was the fountain of youth.
you will know the native has finished the drink when you hear the words:
"oh, that was a *lovely* cup of tea".
mind you, the phrase has no relation to your tea making skills: you will never know if your tea tastes like recycled mouthwash, the natives are too polite to tell you.
if you are bored, wait a couple of hours and start all over again.