Put the Kettle On

After all our frustration with coffee-flavoured tea, we were apprehensive to discover today’s tea was meant to taste of coffee cake. It turns out that this was needless; it’s only a well-spiced black tea with lots of cinnamon, which is an institution we can endorse. Especially because great swathes of today were spent on an imperfectly heated 23 Bus Service to Stirling.

Happily too, this means we can reinstate the ritual of having leaf tea at breakfast. In the absence of a good black tea, we’ve defaulted to Twinings teabags, because it doesn’t matter how big the leaves or high the grade, green tea is insufficient to wake us up in the morning. And yes, we freely acknowledge that we’re a bit snobbish about our tea. We like to think of it as ritual though, because after all, what could be more ritualistic than tea? Here’s a poem from Ten Poems about Tea that recognises this all too well.

Alternative Anthem

John Agard

Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
Is the British answer
to Armageddon

Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that’s the kettle, mate.

It’s not whether you lose
It’s not whether you win
It’s whether or not
you’ve plugged the kettle in.

May the kettle ever hiss
May the kettle ever steam
It is the engine
that drives our nation’s dream.

Long live the kettle
that rules over us
May it be limescale free
and may it never rust.

Sing it on the beaches
Sing it from the housetops
The sun may set on empire
but the kettle never stops.

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