Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Tea

I dreamed I was answering an exam question about tea and its role in the cultural history of Britain and the British Empire. It was a subject for which I felt some enthusiasm- kicking off my essay with Pope's lines about Hampton Court where "great Anna whom three realms obey/ Does sometimes counsel take and sometimes tea," pointing out how- if the rhyme is true- Pope and his contemporaries seem to have pronounced "tea" in what we would consider an affected manner- then leaping the centuries to the scene in The Rutles where Eric Idle confesses in a pained and defiant manner that Yes, he and the other band members "have taken tea."

There were difficulties, of course. The paper they'd given us to write on was already covered with scribblings- besides the scene kept shifting so that at one point- still thinking about the cultural history of tea- I found myself running through the City of London trying to shake off a smiley young man who was running alongside, trying to interest me in financial services.
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