one for the Empire ...

Alternative Anthem

Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
It is the British answer
to Armageddon.

Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that's the kettle, mate.

It's not whether you lose
It's not whether you win
It's whether or not
you've plugged the kettle in.

May the kettle hiss
May the kettle ever steam
It is the engine
that drives our nation's dream.

Long lives the kettle
that rules over us
May it be limescale free
and may it never rust.

Sing it on the beaches
Sing it from the housetops
The sun may set on empire
but the kettle never stops.

~ John Agard

ohhh one more for the To Do List: scrub the limescale out of the kettle before my beloved arrives!! oh and bottled water ..... must purchase large container of chlorine free water for a proper cuppa tea...



gz said...

I put a spoon of citric acid in the kettle, fill, boil, repeat with plain water...usually does the trick! (you could probably use plain white vinegar instead of the citric acid, or lemon juice)

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I don't think you have to think of England nowadays. Liberated times, you know.

Adullamite said...

Ah limescale in the south of Englandshire is a pain. Of course proper nations have 'soft water,' and such a pest does not exist. Oh look at the time, tea time!

soubriquet said...

Limescale we does not have, i my part of Yorkshire. It just does not happen, because our water is drawn from the peat and heather-filled moor-tops. However, if I lived just a few miles, say ten or so, to the north of my current location, my kettle would fossilise itself, because the water there is drawn from more northerly river basins, fed by springs running out of the high limestone karst.

Taylors of Harrogate blend a 'Yorkshire Tea', to suit our water, there's a different blend for the hard water areas.

I remember, when I was a child, that we had a little ball of stainless steel wire that lived in the kettle to soak up all the calcium, every so often, my mother would fish it out as a stony lump, and boil it in acrid stinky vinegar, until it shone again, stone gone, and was ready again for its heroic defence of the kettle.

goatman said...

I've never liked tea much, always tastes bitter to me and needs a lot of sugar. I do go for some ice cold Tetley Sun tea in the summer though.

Perhaps I have not tried a good tea hot though.

bulletholes said...

down here in Texas they put so much stuff in the water that we actually call it "Hard Water".
You can float an iron wedge in it.

Ann Eponymous Bear of Positive Polarity said...

Here in Greenland we make our water much harder than they do in Texas.

Greenland Hard Water- 1, Titanic- 0.

red dirt girl said...

gz ~ thanks for the tip! It will probably be one of the last things I get around to completing...!

Cosmo ~ well yes. This was a sort of tongue in cheek post for my beloved who is British and will be arriving stateside in a mere two weeks! So truthfully, I think of England ALOT!

Adullamite ~ would Scotland be one of those 'proper' nations that you are referring to ??

Soubry ~ sounds like an interesting 'gadget' for the kettle. What is it called ??

Goatman ~ I, too, was not a fan of hot tea until I tasted a proper English tea. Or should I say English/Indian tea. I love Assam tea hot with cream and lots of sugar because I'm a sugar addict! I also plowed through a tin of Australian Billy tea at Soub's and now regret it because neither he nor I can find it to purchase in our respective countries! I also love me some sweet southern iced tea. My mom uses 4 large tea bags of Luzianne and 1 bag of Constant Comment in a largish saucepan. Boils and cools. Stirs in about 1 and a half cups of sugar then dilutes with cold water to fill a gallon glass jar. YUM! I still can't replicate her tea ....

cowboy ~ you said it best .... until that polarity bear stepped in... I think he took your bet and upped it by 10 ...

Mr. Eponymous Bear - BWAHAAAHAAA!


bulletholes said...

Well, who wants to go to Greenland and pour hot tea on an Iceburg?

goatman said...

How to make 'Billy Tea'

This is the traditional way of making tea in the Australian Outback. The drover with his herd of sheep or the itinerant shearer with his swag would have to drink water wherever he could find it. Tea is a good way to drink the water and the billycan reduces tea making to absolute simplicity.

The billy itself is simply a kind of metal cooking pot with a lid and a bucket handle that goes on the fire. The water is boiled and tea made all in the same pot. For a family choose one of 1 to 2 litres, but for a larger gathering you need a billy of perhaps 10 litres or more. It will soon be blackened and sooty on the outside but clean and shiny inside, which adds to the authenticity.

When you travel with your swag in the Outback you don’t carry fresh milk. It is traditional to flavour billy tea with tinned sweetened condensed milk, but the flavour is not one everyone likes. You will need:

Strong black tea (any kind, fresh if possible)
Billycan of suitable size
Water (clean and fresh if possible)
Campfire, and somewhere to put the billy
Tin mugs (250 ml or larger)
Gum leaf (optional)
Milk, sugar or condensed milk, as available.

How to go about it:

Fill the billycan with water: at least 250 ml per person.
Cover with lid and put on the fire to boil.
When the water boils, take off the fire by lifting the handle with a stick and remove lid. Be careful – everything is very hot.
Sprinkle tea on top of water: a handful for a family billy, several handfuls for a big one.
Drop in the gum leaf for its distinctive flavour (optional).
Wait. After about 5 minutes the tea leaves will suddenly drop to the bottom. Tapping the side of the billy with a stick may help (at least many people do it!).
Pour carefully into tin mugs leaving tea leaves in the bottom of the billy.
Flavour with milk, sugar or condensed milk if liked.

The tea is strong, invigorating and a surprisingly good flavour. An Australian bush barbeque would definitely not be the same without billy tea. It goes particularly well with damper and jam or golden syrup, but that is another story!

A gum leaf means a young, green leaf of a eucalypt tree. These are available in a surprisingly large number of places outside Australia, but it is very much an acquired taste.

Tradition is that the dregs of the tea from cups and billy are poured into the fire to help put it out before leaving the camp.


Looks like more of a process rather than a particular type of tea. Interesting though, but one , or two, must camp.