After I posted the piece entitled Denktash Fugue Syndrome, in which mention is made of Mrs Gubbins and her knitted tea cosies, I was deluged with mail from younger readers who complained that they had no idea what I was talking about. The general tone of these missives was along the lines of â€œOi, Mr Key, what in the name of heaven is a tea cosy, for crying out loud, innit?â€
It would appear that todayâ€™s youth have been seduced by something called â€œtea in a bagâ€, and no longer make use of teapots and, thus, of tea cosies. This is a sorry state of affairs. However, here at Hooting Yard we occasionally make attempts to be â€œwith itâ€ and â€œgroovyâ€, so we decided to track down some of these so-called â€œtea bagsâ€ and see what all the fuss is about.
Our delegated rapporteur, decked out in trendy East European clothing, strode manfully into an indoor retail-and-leisure consumer park and, selecting a boutique at random, went up to a counter and said, politely yet forcefully, â€œI would like a bag with tea in it, pleaseâ€. He had chosen an inappropriate boutique to make such a request, however, for the only bags for sale at this counter were empty ones, with handles, made of leather or plastic or cotton or the pelts of various endangered animals. Surmising, not unreasonably, that bag and tea had to be purchased separately, our doughty rapporteur picked from the display a small dimity pippy bag and, having paid the criminally expensive asking price with his Hooting Yard Cardâ„¢, made off along the rattling pneumatic pedestrian express walkarama in search of somewhere to buy tea.
Locating an emporium packed to the gills with grocery items, our chap hunted the aisles until he found a cardboard box of shredded tea leaves. After paying for this at a bleeping self-service console, he wasted no time in ripping open the box with his gnarled fingers, until it looked as if it had been savaged by a squirrel. He then poured the contents of the box into the pippy bag.
The next step was to eke from the bag a lovely cup of piping hot tea, so our rapporteur repaired to a yard where he knew he would find an outside spigot. Holding the pippy bag open under the spigot, he filled it with brackish water, then zipped it shut. He then caught the bus back to
Giving the infusion a few minutes to brew, the rapporteur then borrowed the mittens from La Gubbins, fully unzipped the pippy bag, and upturned it, sloshing the tea inside into a couple of dainty tea cups. There was a little spillage, but that was soon mopped up by a passing factotum armed with a mop and a pail. A dash of milk added, and the duo sat on a threadbare ottoman to enjoy their well-earned cuppa.
All in all, and in spite of the sterling efforts of both the rapporteur and Mrs Gubbins, this seems to be a frankly foolish way of obtaining a cup of tea, and it is not an experiment we will be repeating.