• Britain 07.06.2012 No Comments

    This is another of those things which seems peculiarly British, queuing. I don’t like queuing but I do it all the time. So do most other people I know. We are, of course, very good about it; we let people who arrived before us go in front, but we are very unhappy when anyone pushes in! It’s just not the British way of doing things, we take our turn, we wait more or less patiently and we expect others to do the same. That’s how our world works and it’s fair. I queue in shops, at the airport, to buy tickets and to get into places and I don’t have a problem with it. If anyone pushes in the crowd lets them know but often there is just muttering and black looks, no one actually asks them to move!

    It’s not the same everywhere of course and queuing up on holiday often means you just get ignored and everyone pushes in front of you! I’ve had to learn to sharpen my elbows and push but it still doesn’t seem right.

    Is it politeness? Is it habit? Is it a sense of fairness? I’m not sure but I do know that I am actually happier to queue knowing that my turn will come, I will get to the front eventually and I will not have offended anyone, trod on any toes or elbowed any ribs. I am happy that way. How about you?

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  • Well, in honour of the Queen’s jubilee I decided to write a series of posts about what being British means to me. Of course being British is different for everyone, depending on background, culture and whereabouts in the British Isles you live or come from but for me there are some things which go towards ‘Britishness’ and without which I feel our nation wouldn’t be quite the same.

    The first of these, without which I don’t think I could survive a day, is tea. Now don’t get me wrong I quite like coffee but it just isn’t the same is it? Even in the hot days of summer, few and far between as they are, a cup of tea is the perfect drink. It refreshes and hydrates you much more than coffee, it contains only half as much caffeine and it tastes so much better! Of course, in winter it warms you up and much comfort is to be found with your hands wrapped round a steaming mug of tea.

    I am not a great connoisseur of tea, I enjoy just a plain old tea with a drop of milk but I do think it’s quite healthy, with its antioxidants, flavanols, flavonoids, and polyphenols which will apparently help to protect me from heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. The benefits being even greater if you drink green tea! It even contains fluoride, so it’s good for your teeth!

    This isn’t the reason why tea is so popular though, and it has been drunk on an everyday basis in Britain since the 19th Century, it is associated with many rituals and most of us have grown up drinking tea. A cup of sweet tea is a traditional remedy for shock and putting the kettle on when you get up in the morning, get in from work or a visitor calls is still as normal a part of everyday life as it has been for many years.

    I love the tradition of afternoon tea and have a collection of well-loved china cups, saucers, plates and cake plates, some of which belonged to my grandmothers. Whether you prefer dainty sandwiches, cupcakes or scones with jam and cream they are all so much better accompanied by a cup of tea.

    I seriously think the great British cuppa is one tradition we really couldn’t do without.

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