scribbles tagged ‘taking tea’

swee’ tea

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Teapots, glitterball, white sheets & thatchwendy: in the 70’s I used to take 2 teaspoons of sugar in my tea

4 people under 40: *WINCE and scowl*

wendy: actually my whole family used to drink tea with at least one teaspoon of sugar in it

4 people under 40: *chorus of: YUCK with liberal nosewrinkles*

wendy: come to think of it, everyone I knew drank tea with at least one suger in it

4 people under 40: *leave the room shaking their heads and tutting*

Times have changed…

swee’ tea
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adult shop

Sunday, July 15th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

It’s hot work

A woman with close-cropped hair and pixie-like features winks at me while she twists round to see her bum in tight fitting black leather trousers. I can hear the gentle creak of leather on her and the other customers as they squeeze past each other down the thin display isles. The store oozes intimacy.

Free Tea and Coffee

Prices start at around £100 for leather trousers, through £350 for a half-decent jacket with built-in body armour then up to £700 for a fully featured, brand name, helmet. Half a day passes as I systematically look at everything, finding out how one item differs from another. Assistants helped; pointing me to good brands, explaining how things worked and finding other sizes for me to try on. Some black, Goretext lined, Alpinestars ladies leather boots with ankle armour accompanied me out of the shop.

Like the shop I used to work in, this one provides its customers with tea and biscuits. Unlike the shop I worked in there’s no teapot or china involved. The polystyrene self-service with custard cremes seems strangely at odds with the price and style of the gear being sold.


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bouncers required

Sunday, April 10th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Break in (or out) through garden gatThe Wendy House housewaring anniversary is always accompanied by much excitement and clucking around in chicken like chaos. This year has not been an exception. Even the local wildlife wants to get involved.

Something, or someone, has improvised a cat-door in the garden gate to prepare for the frenzied comings and goings. There will be bouncers at the gate, providing instructions on how to bounce safely, a first-aid cat will be offering first-class purring and warm poltices. A log fire will be available on demand for any freak cold-snaps and extra kettle-boiling duties incase the lashings of tea fail to keep up with guests enthusiasm, god forbid!

There’s a high risk of a break in my blogging resulting from over-excitement due to the fun and games, parking chaos in a permit-only zone and excessive bounce-related falling-over
Garden colour and texutre

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Thursday, March 18th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

The new stovetop kettle on the verge of a  full blown  boil while the two mechanical clocks tick-tock and two organic kitties stretch-snore

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cover up

Sunday, August 30th, 2009 | tags:  |

Now this is a decent tea cosy selection and display at a local craft fair
Teapot Covers

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Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 | tags:  |

No prizes for guessing the countryof residence that produced this preference list posted above the kettle in a shared kitchen.   It does include the preferences of some non-natives.   I wonder what a US equivalent would be like,   slightly more options?

How do you like yours?

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Jah people

Monday, June 1st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

I used to think that Exodus was about char people until I met a Rastafari  in Handsworth, Birmingham, and he explained how the local riots stemmed from a lack of understanding and tolerance for the role played by ganga in their religion.

in 1977 Bob Marley sang Exodus

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below par

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Tea Coseys for saleThere is a branding, marketing, styling opportunity in the tea-cosey market which is woefully or wonderfully underdeveloped depending on your perspective.   This collection didn’t prompt me to part with £5.37

My main tea-cosey was hand-made by my talented sister-in-law.    My name is sewn on the inside incase a moment of scattiness leads to my  losing  it (the tea cosey).   It fits on my head as snug as a custom-made hat.   That kind of personal tailoring does take some beating and these shop displayed tea coseys just aren’t up to par.

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friendly society

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Wedding CertificateQuaker weddings.   Highly recommended.

The couple marry each other.  No third party symbolic proxy as a represenative  of a god.   No-one gives the bride away.   The couple make a public commitment to each other in a way that suits their own personal relationship with their god.   Everyone shares meditative silence, interspersed with thoughts, poems  and music as the spirit provides,  followed by tea and cake.      Then  all the guests sign a wedding certificate for the couple to keep.

There is a fabulous peacefulness, equality and equanimity about the occassion.


Reception venue  The couple used a classic VW camper van to take them from the ceremony to the field that hosted the reception.   The same camper van  provided the bride and groom with a place to spend their wedding  night.

Wedding Car

In the reception field,   a marquee tent hosted a blue grass band,   bands with brass sections, inflatable chairs,   and oodles of wedding guests.   The field also hosted the guests tents,   fireworks, fire and pathways of candles carved through the grass.  During the fireworks I snuck off to keep warm by a fire where I was leant a  much needed  pair of long,   black, thermal leg warmers.   All around excellentness.


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David Byrne | Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno

Saturday, April 11th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Air can hurt you tooOutstanding. Highly recommended.

My 4 day holiday weekend kick-started with  a magical evening of slick, creative, quality performances in  glowing cricketish whites over a glass of wine in the circle of the Oxford New Theatre.

Choreography  variously  included  synchronised office-chair twirling and dancers leap-frogging David while he played.  A packed audience of  silver-haired and teenage people  bounced in the good natured holdiay-ready atmosphere.

David’s vocal control and pitch has matured beautifully adding more depth to classic tracks, those played  included: Air, I Zimbra, Once in a lifetime, Take me to the river.

David was his usual unassuming, audience focused, personable-self.   When he noticed venue staff asked audience members to sit-down he stopped the band mid song and gave people explicit permission to stand-up and dance,  then  picked-up the song again where they had left-off.

Alien t-setA David-designed  alien themed  t-set was a featured part of the mechandising.

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wendy (open) house warming

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

One recent Sunday afternoon the neighbours, local Reading celebrities,   and a gal from West Sussex dropped by to warm the wendy house over lashings of tea and cake.   A jolly civilised affiar with a little bit of dribbling.   During the goings-on I discovered many useful facts including:

–   a local granny can climb the walls to escape from a locked cemetry after dusk.

–   the Wendy House was converted from a  garage in 1968 partly explaining the dangerous staircase.

–   my nieghbours have lived all over the world – Kenya, Italy, India, Edinburgh before settling in Reading.   Excellent company.

–   the Readibus preferred gift to welcome a newcomer is a bottle of wine.

– the bath works best for a person under 5ft 2  (as do the  stairs).

– house numbers evolve.   One person’s home had evolved from without number to  number 4 then number 2…

I suspect I missed some real news treats while in the Kitchen  warming the pots,   I  wonder what other goodies these people are going to share with us in the upcoming years….

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International tea day (not today)

Thursday, September 6th, 2007 | tags:  |

forty-eighth,  and last, in the  weekly series of posts collating all sorts of frivolous information about  taking  tea.

Thursday Tiffin #48:  International tea day (not today)

Since 2005 December 15th  is  international tea day:

International Tea Day to draw attention of governments and citizens on the impacts of tea trade on workers, small growers consumers and the industry. In India, stakeholders including tea related trade unions and small producers recognise international tea day as the event to declare their rights pertaining to wages, livelihood and living conditions.  

Mark your calendars now, because if you’re like me you’ll forget….    

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practical session

Thursday, August 30th, 2007 | tags:  |

forty-seventh in a series of posts describing the experience of taking  tea  English style.

Thursday Tiffin #47:  practical session

Use the knowledge  you’ve  gained from the last 46 posts to make yourself a nice relaxing cup of tea.   You know it makes sense.

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Tea is an attitude

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 | tags:  |

forty-sixth in a series of posts describing the experience of taking  tea  English style.

Thursday Tiffin #46:  Tea is an attitude

The mission statement on the Blog “Nice cup of Tea and a sit down” captures the attitude exquisitly.   I was particularly taken with their fruitcake serving suggestion developed during their Suffolk cycling tour,   especially since I haven’t

  • had any fruitcake for at least a year.  
  • been to Suffolk for 7 years.

Oh deary me, that needs fixing.

Nice cup of Tea and a sit down blog Mission statement:

Our Mission Statement

Well I think we should all sit down and have a nice cup of tea, and some biscuits, nice ones mind you. Oh and some cake would be nice as well. Lovely.

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Tea is a meal

Thursday, August 16th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

forty-fifth in a series of posts describing the experience of taking  tea  English style.

Thursday Tiffin #45:  Tea is a meal

At my parents home my family had 3 meals a day:

  • Breakfast:   Toast and cereal with milk around 8am before school
  • Dinner: meat and two vegetables between 12 and 1pm
  • Tea: a selection of cheese and cold-meats Smorgesbord style to make Danish style  sandwiches with several  pots of tea shared after the BBC 6 o’clock news had finished.   This is not necessarily an English way of taking tea,   it’s a mix of  my  Yorkshire Mum and Finnish Dads food preferences.    On Thursdays the timing could seriously interfere with watching ‘Top of the Pops’.  
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into the harbour

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 | tags:  |

forty-fourth in a series of posts describing the experience of taking  tea  English style.

Thursday Tiffin #44:  into the harbour

BBC America recommends that local US natives use subtitles (US = cc, closed captioning) to get the full benefit of programs such as Murphy’s Law because of their lack of familiarity with the British  accents stemming from wrecklessly having dumped some tea in the Boston harbour.

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Thursday, August 2nd, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

forty-third in a series of posts describing the experience of taking tea,   or not taking it in this case,  English style.

Thursday Tiffin #43:  withdrawal

It is highly likely that I haven’t had a cup of tea for days by now because I’m on HOLIDAY in SPAIN where its probably too HOT for proper tea.  

When I know for sure where I am and what I’m doing and whether it involves tea or not I’ll write a comment on this post about withdrawal symptons.     I can’t really be sure what’s happening because I wrote this blog entry before I left for SPAIN and used that automatic post-it  widget doobry  to post it now.  

Gosh,   I hope I’m alright

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Thursday, July 26th, 2007 | tags:  |

forty-second in a series of posts describing the experience of  taking  tea English style, and beyond….

Thursday Tiffin #42:   Tasseography

Reading futures from the patterns made by tea-leaves swirled around the edge of a drunken cup of Tea.   There are even websites that provide a step-by-step guides on how to read tea leaves   this one suggests a step process then provides many details of each step:

  1. Make the tea correctly.
  2. Have the subject drink the tea properly.
  3. Learn the symbols
  4. Predict when something’s going to happen
  5. Determine each symbol’s importance

The advice is strikingly similar to  that given by  my crazy  aunt Mazie.  

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dead bovine crockery

Thursday, July 19th, 2007 | tags:  |

forty-first  in a series of posts explaining the gruesome truth behind the bone china recipe  for taking  tea English style.

Thursday Tiffin #41: dead bovine crockery


The use of bone ash had been known from the middle ages, when it was first used in cupels for the assaying of metals. Interest in it as a tableware ingredient emerged about 1750 and in the succeeding fifty years several experimental formulations were tried. However, these were ‘soft-paste’ porcelains with the inclusion of bone ash. Whereas what we now know as bone china is a true porcelain of china clay and Cornish stone with 45%-50% calcined bone.

Who would have guessed that those cunningly clever rock rocking Cornish were supplying the stone to make bone china,   I wonder who supplied the bone.   Ethical vegetarians should probably give bone china a wide berth*.

How do you know if your china is bone china?   It’s partially translucent you should be able to hold it up to the light and see the shadow of anything placed between it and the light.   It makes a very distinctive sound when tapped,   you can learn to identify it by gently tapping it and listening to the  ring.  

*  Convenient sea room; sufficient room to maneuver under way or to swing at anchor

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73% Post-Consumer Novelty

Thursday, July 12th, 2007 | tags:  |

fortieth  in a series of posts explaining taking  tea English style then before flying the concept to  new places.

Thursday Tiffin #40: 73% Post-Consumer Novelty

Exploring the songs on this website kept me giggling and jiggling for literally minutes.   Excellent stuff,   try the increadibly earnest “baby its time to vote“.   Here’s what the website says about the “Mad Tea Party”‘s CD “73% Post-Consumer Novelty”:

“73% Post-Consumer Novelty” captures the Mad Tea Party’s post-modern parlor music era. Recorded during the band’s duo phase, it features members Ami Worthen (ukulele, vocals) and Jason Krekel (guitar, fiddle, tenor banjo, kazoo, slide whistle, horns, drums). Guests on the album are Joe Edel (sousaphone), Sean Foley (accordion) and Reese Gray (saw, piano). Produced by Mad Tea Party. Recorded and mixed by Chris Rosser at Hollow Reed Studio in Asheville. Mastered by Seva.

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room for more tea rooms

Thursday, July 5th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

thirty-ninth in a series of posts explaining the complexities of tea taken English style.

Thursday Tiffin #39: room for more tea rooms

As we’ve seen, the US is beginning to pick-up tea as a fad.   The clues are the burgeoning brands and boxes,   the  promises of healthy outcomes,   and  new team rooms.   “Taste the moment” in Redmond is a new tea room.    The excellent service and food is not  cheap,  but I would go again for a special occasion with friends who like well presented food to try out the more substantive items on the menu.     Even though it should carry a warning about the rose infested  decor.

I dropped in on a Friday afternoon at 3.30pm for afternoon tea wearing jeans with my hair scrapped back and a sloppy jumper hanging off my shoulder.  Given my aversion to decoration that includes roses and pink,  I had to force myself into this place.  It definitely looks like it’s touting for the custom of the Red Hat Society or rich Redmond Wives and Girlfriends.  I am not a part of either group.

I was the only customer and clearly not dressed for the venue.  The well-dressed lady with a foreign accent that greated me and made me feel at home was wonderful.  She found a magazine for me to read and explained that the Chef had just popped out so she would be preparing my order herself.  She did a fabulous job.  I had the signature tea for $15.95 – Tea pot, fresh fruit,  pancakes, scone,  croissant,  sponge-cake craime-fresh and jam.  Yummy.     It was presented as if it was being entered in a beauty competition,   in stark contrast to my self-presentation.

As you can imagine, I was very impressed by the lack of roses on the teacups,  teapot and table-clothes.  An outstanding achievement.  I was baffled by the lack of Darjeeling,  Assam or Ceylon on the tea menu.  But with the other USA standard mixes like ‘English Breakfast’ and “Earl Grey’ providing comforting safe options for an unadventurous moody,  grumpy grouch such as myself,  I left the place a happy bunny

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drink yourself slimmer

Thursday, June 28th, 2007 | tags:  |

thirty-eighth in a series of  posts about the elixia properTTTTTT’s of   tea.

Thursday Tiffin #38:  drink yourself slimmer

Web MD cites research reported in the American journal of clinical nutrition (2005) of 35 Japanese males with similar weights drinking tea with controlled (to be equivalent) diets.   They  suggest this research  as demonstrates that drinking Oolong tea with extract of green tea,   rather than just drinking Oolong tea,  resulted in faster burning of calories and lower LDL cholesterol.   The participants drank themselves slimmer!  

The researchers theorise that in green tea the higher level “catechins may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat”.   It is unclear whether there was a significant difference in the participants diets before the study or if this research on males’ can be generalised to females.  

Green tea cannot account for my relative lack of eating disorderliness or bulk because I’ve only ever had 2 cups of green tea.   I better avoid it lest I waiste away…..

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sleepy sunny sunday dawn, 1990

Sunday, June 24th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

The sunrise thrust an orange glow through the undressed window onto the freshly painted brilliant white bedroom walls.    A small, sparsely decorated, warm,  dry  first new  home.   The bedroom empty,  save a matress upon which  is scattered a  duvet, pillows, sleepy him and I.   After unpublishable morning exercise two large mugs of tea joined us in the bedroom.

wendy:   this could be the most exquisite, happiest, moment of our whole lives.     it’s all downhill from here

him:   it’s not far down from a matress on the floor

wendy:   lets remember this morning for the rest of our lives…    

 him:   a little more exercise and another cuppa will help secure the memory

wendy: …mmmmmm….. (unpublishable)

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most prolific form of flavouring water

Thursday, June 21st, 2007 | tags:  |

thirty-seven in a series of  posts about the prolific world wide  practice of taking tea.

Thursday Tiffin #37:   most prolific form of flavouring water

According the the United States Department  of Agriculture research:  “Tea is the most-consumed beverage worldwide next to water“.   This is not news in the wendy house.    Here all  water is diluted with a liberal dose of tea and no  ice.

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fermentation based tea taxonomy

Thursday, June 14th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

thirty-six in a series of  posts explaining the taxing complexities of taking tea.

Thursday Tiffin #36:    tea taxonomy revisited

According to the USDA  there are “three major classes of teas known as green, black, and oolong“.     This classification matches manufacturers labeling and  is easier to follow than one based on  colour.   The USDA  classification  system is based on the  relative time that  harvested leaves are fermented in the air rather than being attributable to plant genus,  brew colour,    geography, or the maturity of the leaves when picked.  

manufacturers carefully control whether, and for how long, tea leaves are exposed to air, a process called fermentation. When fermentation is completely arrested, the tea stays “green” or yellowish brown. When fermentation time is long, the leaves darken and become “black” tea. Somewhere in between these two extremes, “oolong” tea is created

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Sun Tea

Thursday, June 7th, 2007 | tags:  |

thirty-five in a series of  posts about taking tiffin with  tea on a sunny day  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #35: Sun Tea

An English girl,   in England,  raised before  global warming,   has not normally heard of sun tea.    Friends from sunnier-climes bought this cunningly economic  practice to my attention.   The Wendy House is currently  suffering from a surfeit of sunshine making sun tea a distinct possibility.

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dropping by for tea

Monday, June 4th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

yesterday several people dropped by :: the Wendy House  ::  for tea on the way to, or from, cycle rides,   wedding anniversaries, de-salinated dudes,  and other more unmentionable doings.

People bought things as conversation pieces and talked about them and talked about sailing,   fables. cuckoo clocks  and the French.  Urgghhhh, I realised 30 seconds before  people other than   LaCroix arrived,    maybe the Bonzo  Dog Doodah band  wasn’t right musical accompanyment for an afternoon of tea and conversation with North Americans.    LaCroix saved the afternoon…

Tea was consumed by the pot-load,   green, white and a  red (Rooibos, not really tea).   Subtle (white) through to strong (Assam),   with and without biscuits,  dunkakable.      I had a fabulous time.    I  must remember to ensure that my  guest have a fabulous time too.   Ooops.   When the tea flows I’m accustomed to leaving enjoyment to fate…

Thankyou guestipoos,   you know who you are, you were wonderful and frighteningly well turned-out too   🙂

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Tea with extract of Tea

Thursday, May 31st, 2007 | tags:  |

thirty-four in a series of  posts about trade-marked tiffin with extract of   tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #34: Tea with extract of Tea

Performance tea?  Perform what?   Not perform regularly because it states ‘No laxatives’.   Perfrom weight loss.   Super skinny?   Anorexic.   Anorexic but not laxative.     Laxative isn’t trademarked.    It’s all very confusing,   for example,   is Ultra Chai  the same as performance tea?

I suspect this tea is being marketed to wealthy anorexics with the squits.

Not me.

I didn’t buy it.

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Not tea (rhymes with naughty)

Thursday, May 24th, 2007 | tags:  |

thirty-third in a series of  posts about not accidentally miss-identifying  tiffin with  (black) tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #33: not tea

This is not,   I repeat,   NOT a cup of Tea.  

It is quite nice nonetheless.    

Not to be recklessly sniffed-at.  

Breath deeply and enjoy the view.

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dunking the biscuit

Thursday, May 17th, 2007 | tags:  |

thirty-second in a series of  posts about all the essential accessories for taking tiffin with  (black) tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #32: dunking the biscuit

Normally tea is accompanied by a biscuit or two.   In England there are  4 very popular types manufactured by multiple different companies:

  • Digestives.   Named after the erroneous belief that the bicarbonate of soda they contained would aid digestion.
  • custard creams. Which do not have custard in them.
  • Rich Tea biscuits.   Which are not particularly rich and do not have any tea in them
  • HobNobs.   Might be made on a hob,   I don’t think they include nobs.

There are cookie secitions in US shops that include some biscuits that look a bit like the generic biscuit types listed above.   The biscuits are not categorised by this typology which makes them a tad more difficult to find in the US.

There are other distinctive  well known biscuits  (Garibaldi,   Gingernut, Shortcake) that I’m not covering here.   Most English homes will have at least 2 of the  4  biscuit types.   The quality of the biscuit will vary depending on the manufacturer,   brand.   As a student I found very cheap custard creams and would even make my Hobnobs.

These digestives are the most tricky to dunk,   almost as soon as they touch the tea they start to disintegrate.    Only very experienced dunkers can work with these.   Mumzie keeps a stock of these in the house.   They  were ‘invented’ in Scotland.   These biscuits were originally a McVities brand.

Digestive Dunking Skill level:   Expert

Wonderful for dunking in your tea when your mum isn’t looking.   This is an excellent starter biscuit if you are planning to take-up dunking as part of your tea drinking ceremony.

The custard cream has similar liquid soaking properties to the  American brand  Nabisco Oreo.   The texture is similar,   I consider the Oreo as a subset of the custard-cream category.

Custard Cream Dunking skill level:   Novice

The Rich tea is large and often simply does not fit in the tea-cup,   its difficult to dunk.   Not as difficult to dunk as the digestive,   but difficult none-the-less.   If you loose focus for a few seconds it can absorb more liquid than it’s structure can support.   If you are me, a large part of the biscuit falls off into your cup of tea.   This  is a bit icky.   You should   practice dunking rich tea biscuits in private before doing it in public,   you need a technique that is biscuit specific.

Rich Tea  Dunking skill level:   Advanced

The Hobnob is an excellent dunker.   You have to be particularly inept for this biscuit to collapse into your cuppa.   The addictive effect of the Hobnob,   especially chocolate hobnobs,   along with a cup of tea cannot be underestimated.     Wikipedia cites the origin of the name as “The name comes from an earlier phrase, to hob or nob, meaning “to drink together, taking turns toasting one another,” probably from Middle English habbe “to have” and nabbe, a contraction of ne + habbe, “to have not,” hence, “to have and have not, to give and take”   McVities Hobnobs are considered exceptional,   thier advertising campaigns in the late 1980s and market domination  are impressive.   The name is almost becoming synonymous with the McVities product.

Hobnob Dunking skill level:   Beginner

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