Friends: My fans wanted TEA, and I wanted cricket so I did a mix. Let’s see what the response is on Saturday. In the meantime, do your tea like Moses. Hebrews it.
By Tony Deyal
With the West Indies out of the picture completely, and the two top teams, England and New Zealand starting the World Cup 2023 on Thursday, I thought of what to write for today, especially since Sunday is the big game between India and Australia.
However, one thing none of us should ever forget is that it was the English who started cricket. In fact, the British Playwright, Harold Pinter, told the Observer Newspaper, “I tend to believe that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth…certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either.” However, having written a column about coffee last week, many of my friends were insistent that today’s column must be about tea. This is why I am going to start where Pinter left off and introduce you all to Cynthia Payne, a British housewife and brothel keeper. When she was acquitted of running a house-of-ill-repute in South London (called the “sex-for-luncheon-vouchers” case) she explained, “I know it does make people happy, but to me it is just like having a cup of tea.”
I decided to stick with the English for a while since this is their proper tea, “The pleasures of afternoon tea run like a trickle of honey through English literature from Rupert Brooke’s wistful lines on the Old Vicarage at Grantchester to Miss Marple, calmly dissecting a case over tea cakes at a seaside hotel.” Poor Miss Marple does not know what she’s missing in today’s tea and company (especially with England playing its favourite game).
Not cricket but the “cricket thing”. Brits were asked to suggest things that can be said both during cricket and sex (apart from “How much?”) and from “nice shot” to “great timing” there were, “Very intelligent. Very Deep. Fine leg.”; “It’s getting pretty wet. Might need covers.”; “Bringing out the helmet”; “Covers are already on, no chance of any action today”; “Grab the ball”; “Which end do you want?”; and “The third man is too deep.” No wonder, as Alice Walker in “The Color Purple” said, “Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.”
It was no picnic for me. What happened was that my doctor found out that my cholesterol was higher than it should be and made it clear that I had to stop if I wanted to see my children graduate from nursery school. I told him I was very particular about what I drank – it had to be liquid not muck. However, I gave the matter considerable thought. Unable to rest in my coffee comfort I spent the night wrestling with my conscience. Even now, the tea versus coffee debate is one that will never end for me and other coffee lovers.
We are certain (from long and short experience) that coffee is the only known aphrodisiac for middle-aged men. The tea drinkers will retort that aphrodisiacs are no use to dead people or people with a hardening of the artilleries. We come up with names like “Folger’s” and “Nescafe” and they go for “Earl Grey” and “Darjeeling”- one-upmanship and snobbery as an art form. What my wife threw at me was that when Prince Charles went to dinner at the White House, the President, knowing the British love of tea instead of coffee, gave him hot water with a teabag. When asked after dinner why he didn’t touch his tea, the Prince replied, “I didn’t know what to do with the little bag.”
What I threw back at her was my “Waiter” joke. The customer asked, “Waiter, is this supposed to be coffee or tea?” The Waiter replied, “What does it taste like?”. The customer replied, “It tastes like gasoline!” The waiter then explained, “Well, sir, that would be the coffee. The tea tastes like turpentine.” I then asked her, “If the tea and coffee were married and the tea leaves, does that give the coffee grounds for divorce?”
Actually, I’m just joking. Many years ago when I was a schoolboy and was being tutored by an Irish “Brother”, I learnt that in hot weather, like the ones we are experiencing in the Caribbean now, hot tea is the best option. This is why, once there is heat in the place like now, I take heat in the face and down the throat. While I grew up laughing at my family drinking “green” tea, I eventually found one that I really liked. I had gone to Mauritius to a SIDS (Small Island Developing States) Conference and tried a vanilla “infused” black tea from Sri Lanka. Until it was no longer available in Trinidad, it was my tea of choice.
Now I’m back to coffee in the morning and black tea for most of the rest of the day. Actually, one of my PAHO colleagues met me at the Conference and knowing me from my days in Barbados where all I had was coffee, asked, “Hey Tony! You’re drinking tea and not coffee? How long have you stopped?” It was something I had wanted to say from the day I switched to tea, “Oolong, my friend, oolong.”
I then told him my favourite story about what tea can do to you. An elderly lady went to the doctor for a check-up. Everything was fine. The old lady pulled the doctor to the side and said, “Doctor, I haven’t had sex for years now and I was wondering how I can increase my husband’s sex drive.” The doctor smiled and said, “Have you tried to give him Viagra?” The lady frowned. “Doctor, I can’t even get him to take aspirin when he has a headache.” The doctor advised, “Try this. Crush the Viagra into a powder. When you are giving him tea, stir it into the tea and serve it. He won’t notice a thing.”
The old lady was delighted. She left the doctor’s office quickly. Weeks later the old lady returned. She was frowning and the doctor asked her what was wrong. She shook her head. “How did it go?” the doctor asked. “Terrible, doctor, terrible.” “Did it not work?” “Yes,” the old lady said, “It worked. I did as you said and he got up and ripped his clothes off right then and there and we made mad love on the table. It was the best sex that I’d had in 25 years.” “Then what is the problem, ma’am?” “Well,” she said. “The managers at Lord’s and all the other cricket clubs in England have banned us for life.”
*Tony Deyal was last seen saying that you should never accept tea from the Russian President. You never know what Vladimir Putin. Worse, his favourite is cruel tea.