Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Miscellany, a collection of odds, ends and personals . . .

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From Kieran in respect of the vintage Celestial Tea advertisement:

I think the Celestial Seasonings 4 year old may have had a cup of NesCafe or 2 before her cuppa

My own take is that she is a child from that creepy 1960 Brit movie Village of the Damned . . .

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From David in respect of the Tea Trivia:

A marvellous post about my favourite beverage. But, as an Englishman born into the working classes just after WWII, I have to put you right about 'high tea'. It is much more than a reinforced snack and you wouldn't take it before dinner since it is an alternative to dinner generally consisting of pie, cold meats, salad and potatoes.

There was a serious class distinction back then. The middle class would go to their office job at 9 o'clock, take a lightish lunch at 1 o'clock, perhaps afternoon tea at 4 and have a substantial, multicourse, dinner at 8.

The lower class would start their factory work often as early as 6 o'clock, have a substantial dinner at noon and have high tea immediately they returned home at 5 or 6 o'clock. They might take a bite of supper, cocoa and biscuits before going to bed.

The way you used the word dinner showed your class and I remember being mocked at University for the way I used it. Some things have improved in the last 60 years! 

Thanks amigo.

Another comment on high tea, from Wikipedia:

High tea (also known as meat tea) is the evening meal or dinner of the working class, typically eaten between 5 pm and 7 pm. High tea typically consists of a hot dish, followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam. Occasionally there would be cold cuts of meat, such as ham salad. Traditionally, high tea was eaten by middle- to upper-class children (whose parents would have a more formal dinner later) or by workers when they came home from work. The term was first used around 1825, and high is used in the sense of well-advanced (like high noon, for example) to signify that it was taken later in the day. The term "high tea" was used as a way to distinguish it from afternoon tea, and was used predominantly by the working class and in certain British dialects of the North of England

And some notes on he origin and history of high tea, from:

Prior to the introduction of tea into Britain, the English had two main meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was ale, bread, and beef. During the middle of the eighteenth century, dinner for the upper and middle classes had shifted from noontime to an evening meal that was served at a fashionable late hour. Dinner was a long, massive meal at the end of the day.

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) is credited as the creator of teatime. Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from "a sinking feeling" at about four o'clock in the afternoon. At first the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs. Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o'clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea. This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for "tea and a walking the fields." The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

During the second half of the Victorian Period, known as the Industrial Revolution, working families would return home tired and exhausted. The table would be set with any manner of meats, bread, butter, pickles, cheese and of course tea. None of the dainty finger sandwiches, scones and pastries of afternoon tea would have been on the menu. Because it was eaten at a high, dining table rather than the low tea tables, it was termed "high" tea.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Some tea trivia and some non PC tea ads

Tea was discovered by the Chinese 5,000 years ago, originally for use as a medicine, and was introduced to Britain as an expensive herbal medicine in the 17th century. The drink was so unfamiliar that many threw away the water and chewed the leaves.

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In 1773, Bostonians threw a ship's cargo of tea overboard to protest at high taxes, an act which became known as the Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Tea Party (initially referred to by John Adams as "the Destruction of the Tea in Boston") was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty against British taxation without representation. Disguised as American Indians, the demonstrators destroyed an entire shipment of tea, which had been sent by the East India Company, in defiance of the Tea Act of 1773. They boarded the ships and threw the chests of tea into Boston Harbour, ruining the tea. The British government responded harshly and the episode escalated into the American Revolution of 1776.

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The modern day Tea Party, which calls for less state intervention in key areas such as the economy and healthcare, harks back to the Tea Party of 1773. Some commentators have referred to the Tea in "Tea Party" as the backronym (amplified wording for the letters of an existing word) "Taxed Enough Already".

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Some politically incorrect tea ads from the past:

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There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. `Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; `only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.'

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. `There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

`Have some wine,' the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don't see any wine,' she remarked.

`There isn't any,' said the March Hare.

`Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it,' said Alice angrily.

`It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited,' said the March Hare.

- Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Ch 7, A Mad Tea Party 

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Cecil Beaton photograph of a British soldier drinking tea next to a Red Cross mobile tea wagon at Calcutta airport in 1944.

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In 1937, seeing war with Germany as inevitable, the tea industry devised plans to make sure supplies were maintained.

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With the outbreak of war, Churchill insisted that the Royal Navy had an unrestricted supply and reserves of tea were shipped to 500 secret locations.

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On the beaches of Dunkirk, there were 24 vehicles used to deliver tea to the besieged troops.

Dunkirk Troops being given food and drink enroute by train out of Dover 

Troops evacuated from Dunkirk enjoying tea and other refreshments at Addison Road station in London, 31 May 1940.

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The word tea is pronounced “cha” in Cantonese, the name used in Japan and Korea. It has given rise to the British slang term of “char” for tea.

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At 11 o’clock in the morning, to stay alert, in England it’s common to take a break with a cup of tea and some cakes: Elevenses. Before dinner, however, you can take ‘high tea’: a kind of reinforced snack.

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Some more non-PC ads for tea:

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The tea bag was developed by Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant based in new York. In 1908, wanting to cut costs, he stopped sending samples of tea leaves in boxes and instead sent tea sewn into small silk pouches. The confused clients were expected to remove the leaves and brew them in hot water, then strain the resulting tea brew, but mistakenly thought that the silk sachets were meant to be brewed as sent. Sullivan later replaced the silk with gauze and, over later years, further developments took place: the heat sealed paper fibre tea bag (1930) and mass production by Joseph Tetley and Co (1953).

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“Women are like tea bags. They do not know how strong they are until they get into hot water.”

- Eleanor Roosevelt.

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The teaspoon developed from using such a sized spoon to measure the preferred amount of tea for a pot.

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Earl Grey, the PM

Earl Grey, the tea

Expensive Chinese tea flavoured with various additives, including citrus blends, has been highly prized in England from the early 1800’s. Tea flavoured with bergamot oil is today known as Earl Grey blend and there are various competing explanations as to its origin. 

It is commonly believed that the earl Grey referred to is Charles Grey, the second Earl Grey, British prime Minister in the 1830’s, and one claim holds that he received the blend as a gift from a Chinese mandarin whose son was saved from drowning by one of Earl Grey’s men. Another claim is that it was developed by Jacksons of Piccadilly. According to the Grey family, the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey, to suit the water at Howick Hall, the family seat in Northumberland, using bergamot in particular to offset the preponderance of lime in the local water. Lady Grey used it to entertain in London as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it as a brand. 

"She feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China"
- Leonard Cohen, lyric from Suzanne 

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Final non-PC tea ads:

Is this her second cup or first? 

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Saturday, June 28, 2014


Beginning an occasional series about The White Album and its songs.

I confess that I like The White Album more than Sgt Pepper , it is a personal favourite.

Officially called The Beatles, this 9th studio album by The Fab Four (as they were sometimes called at the time) is commonly known as The White Album because its plain white cover bears only the embossed band’s name. On the early LP and CD releases there is also a serial number

Here is a pic of the album cover:

I'm just kidding with you, here is a pic showing the embossing and the serial number (in this case, the number 5, making it a valuable cover that went to auction)  . . . 

Album facts:
  • It was released on 222 November 1968 during a period of turmoil within the group after returning from spending time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India. The album followed Sgt Pepper, their 8th studio album, which had been released on 1 June 1967.
  • On release there was a mixed reception. Critics were cool on the satirical songs and critical of its mixed bag of content. Today it is regarded as one of the world’s best ever albums, having come in at No 4 on a median of 14 published lists.
  • Much of the album was written whilst the group were in India with the Maharishi. Ringo left first because he couldn’t take the food any longer, then Paul. John and George remained because of their interest in Indian religion but ultimately they also left, John having been upset by rumours of the Maharishi putting the moves on Mia Farrow. It is now pretty much accepted that the rumours were falsely created by Alexis “Magic Alex” Mardas, a sculptor and designer who had become in with the Beatles. His aim was to reduce the influence of the Maharishi in the lives of the Beatles.

  • The Beatles formed their own company, Apple Corp, at this time to deal with their business interests but it was drained by backing other artists.
  • Recording of the White Album also marked the time that Yoko Ono started coming into the studio, contributing to the rift between Paul and John.
  • Relations between the members of the group became so strained during the studio recording that some of the tracks are solo, on others there is not a full Beatles band backing.  For a while Paul recorded in one studio and John separately in another. Of the 30 tracks, only 16 have the full Beatles. When John, working on “Yer Blues” in studio 3, paid Paul (who was working on Mother Nature’s Son”) a visit in Studio 2, engineer Ken Scott later claimed "You could cut the atmosphere with a knife".
  • ingo, fed up with the tension and being left waiting repeatedly, up and left. Paul played drums on “Dear Prudence” in his absence and Paul, John and/or George looked after bass and drums on “Back in the USSR”. He was prevailed upon to return but it wasn’t long after that the final split happened.
  • Eric Clapton played lead guitar on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
  • Charles Manson believed that the Beatles were speaking to him in code through the lyrics of the White Album, especially in “Helter Skelter” and “Piggies”, telling him there was going to be an apocalyptic race war, “Helter Skelter”, and the piggies, the blacks, were going to rise up against the Establishment, giving it a damn good whacking.

Track listing:

Side one 
"Back in the U.S.S.R." – 2:43 
"Dear Prudence" – 3:56 
"Glass Onion" – 2:17 
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" – 3:08 
"Wild Honey Pie" – 0:52 
"The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" – 3:13 
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (George Harrison) – 4:45 
"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" – 2:43 

Side two 
"Martha My Dear" – 2:28 
"I'm So Tired" – 2:03 
"Blackbird" – 2:18 
"Piggies" (Harrison) – 2:04 
"Rocky Raccoon" – 3:32 
"Don't Pass Me By" (Ringo Starr) – 3:50 
"Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" – 1:40 
"I Will" – 1:45 
"Julia" – 2:54 

Side three 
"Birthday" – 2:42 
"Yer Blues" – 4:00 
"Mother Nature's Son" – 2:47 
"Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" – 2:24 
"Sexy Sadie" – 3:15 
"Helter Skelter" – 4:29 
"Long, Long, Long" (Harrison) – 3:03 

Side four 
"Revolution 1" – 4:15 
"Honey Pie" – 2:40 
"Savoy Truffle" (Harrison) – 2:54 
"Cry Baby Cry" – 3:02 
"Revolution 9" – 8:13 
"Good Night" – 3:11

Next week:
What do the Beach Boys have to do with "Back in the USSR"?
Who is the Prudence of "Dear Prudence" and why wasn't she playing?

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Funny Friday: Neighbours, Part 1

Caution: risque content and language.

Byter Vince sent me a couple of cartoons that had me chuckling. One of them was about neighbours and that is the theme for this Friday.  Some more neighbours humour next week.

I couldn't find a copy of Vince's cartoon on the net so here is a photo of it instead . . .

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Our neighbour's dog shat in our garden, so my mum told me to get a shovel and throw it over the fence.

I don't see what that solved, now we've got dog shit in our garden and the neighbours have our shovel.

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My attractive female neighbour is completely paranoid. 

She thinks I'm following or even stalking her, she is worried that I may be obsessed with her and any time she hears a noise in her house she is.....purified? Oh, wait: petrified. Sorry, it's not easy reading a diary through binoculars from a tree.

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A little girl was in her garden filling in a hole when her neighbour looked over the fence. 
He politely asked, "Hi! What are you up to there?"
"My goldfish died," replied the girl tearfully, "and I've just buried him."
The neighbour was amazed. "Isn't that an awfully big hole for a goldfish?"
The little girl tamped down the soil and replied, "That's because he's inside your stupid cat."

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Corn Corner:

My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30 this morning. Can you believe that?! 2:30am! 

Luckily for him I was still up playing my drums…

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Iron Throne and Swords

Her Maj and hubby Philip visited Westeros Northern Ireland yesterday and toured the set of Game of Thrones. For those who aren’t into this wonderful and riveting TV series, it is an American fantasy drama that is filmed in Belfast. It concerns political manoeuvres, treachery and civil war as various noble families seek to gain, and hold, the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.

The Iron Throne is constructed from the 1,000 swords that had been surrendered to Aegon in the War of Conquest by the lords who had offered their fealty.  It is symbol of the King's rule, being the throne upon which the King of the Seven Kingdoms sits in the city of King’s Landing. Only the King and his chief adviser, the most powerful appointment in the Seven Kingdoms and known as The Hand of the King, may sit upon the Iron Throne. 

And perhaps Queen Elizabeth 11, although she declined to sit on it when she did her inspection. That hasn’t stopped photoshoppers showing her on the throne:

An image of Queen Elizabeth photoshopped onto the iron throne (left) and on her actual throne (right). 

Some pics:

Her Maj with some of the other props.

What is also of interest about the Iron Throne is that some eagle eyed observers and bloggers have noticed some famous swords incorporated in it. It is unknown if this is a bit of humour, a homage to other films or simply a raid on the props store room.

Gandalf’s sword shown here in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey . . .

. . . appears to be part of the Iron Throne . . .

Robin Hood's sword:

And Orlando Bloom’s sword from Kingdom of Heaven.

Here’s one that was missed:

And yes, that is Sir Patrick Steward, aka Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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