“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.
In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea. I liked the Irish way better.”
― C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman
Tea is such an integral part of life – certainly British life, possibly more so for the older generation. When a visitor arrives at our houses we immediately offer them a cup of tea. Making tea is suggested as a suitable response to receiving bad news. It gives the recipient of the news something practical to do, somewhere to put their grief, or shock – for the moment anyway.
“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
-William Ewart Gladstone
Tea has invaded our language too – we talk about someone or something being just “my cup of tea”, something we feel comfortable with and we enjoy. Jack Buchanan explains our love of tea so well in his song EVERYTHING STOPS FOR TEA, which was featured in Buchanan’s 1935 comedy film, “Come Out Of The Pantry” (Goodhart / Hoffman / Sigler) Jack Buchanan
I couldn’t give quotations about tea without a mention of Billy Connolly’s “Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn’t try it on. ”