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Cross the Rubicon and Put the Kettle On

A complete guide to etiquette during a national crisis

By Ian VincePublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 5 min read
Cross the Rubicon and Put the Kettle On
Photo by laura adai on Unsplash

Does getting involved with the modern world feel like sticking your hand inside a revolving jar of unreasonably aggressive late summer wasps, utterly pissed on rotting fruit?

Does the sight of a “Keep Calm, Carry On” poster reduce you to seething indignation and catatonic fury?

Perhaps you should relax and have a cup of tea.

  • Hard day on the tube?
  • Bad afternoon at the office?
  • Tired of the Machiavellian scheming and mendacious, twisted dishonesty of the puppet state?

Hey! Don’t bust a blood vessel. You need to chill out. You don’t need a coup d’état, you need a cup of tea.*

Whether it’s a family crisis, a medical emergency, a government scandal or an international “situation” involving massive loss of life in pursuit of control of the oil industry, a cup of tea will soon sort everything out.

When the counter-reactionary backlash starts, the Blitz Spirit just wouldn’t be complete without gallons of hot tea and the ceremonial minutiae of warming the pot, scalding the milk and passing the biscuits. Anthrax on the overground? Ricin in the food chain? Unspecified toxic compounds in your water supply? No matter, just pop the kettle on and everything will be OK.

Remember: the French drink coffee and they had a revolution. There’s no need for that here.

The following page contains full details of how to respond to an emergency using a tea-based methodology.

* Please phone the MI5 Terrorism Helpline if you are planning a coup.

Notes on drinking tea

Please Read Carefully

By Brian Patrick Tagalog on Unsplash

These notes contain important information regarding the serving of beverages at higher than ambient room temperature for the purposes of, but not limited to:

  • Thirst satiation
  • Amelioration or partial satisfaction of cravings for mild, psychotropic alkaloids
  • Oral pleasure
  • The commission of a ritualistic act of social cohesion, such as a tea break or a scheduled mid-afternoon liaison with a Minister of the Church of England, otherwise known as a vicar.

This leaflet should not be considered a full and authoritative statement of etiquette, and applies only to mid-range teas between Earl Grey and English Breakfast.

Lapsang Souchong drinkers are advised to soak this leaflet in pine disinfectant, obtain an acetate copy and project it onto the side of an albino French poodle in order to mirror their hollow lifestyle of pointless sensation and effect.

Selection of crockery determines social position. A mug may be used either within 18ft of an open manhole or within a warehouse environment – namely within 3in of either a stepladder or a volume of cardboard greater than a quarter of a cubic yard. For all other purposes, a cup and saucer are the only option.

The host/ess is responsible for the distribution of tea, and indicates commencement of pouring with an assumptive phrase like “Shall I be mother?” after an awkward silence of greater than 0.78 seconds stemming from a lapse in conversation or an unforeseen rectal conversation-starter from an elderly relative.

Milk should be added before the tea is poured, for reasons of complex thermodynamics as well as strict government flood prevention guidelines.

You should leave a little tea in the cup for the purposes of fortune telling, or for warding off the lascivious attentions of members of the opposite sex aroused by the act of fingering sponge wrapped in lace doilies.

The DoSS Tea Gauge

Notes on cake and miscellaneous confectionery

Please Read Carefully

By Mink Mingle on Unsplash

Accompanying your tea with cake or miscellaneous confectionery is your patriotic, legal duty, unless you are the subject of a Crumb Restraint Order. In which case, you are entitled to disregard this advice, provided you maintain a distance of not less than 100yds between you and all items of confectionery.

These notes concern the serving, presentation and subsequent consumption of light sponge, cake, scones and/or other items defined as confectionery beyond reasonable doubt by a qualified Doctor of Patisserie, or a quorum of a competent academic panel overseeing a qualifying postgraduate study of biscuits.

Except where exclusions or exceptions by law apply, pudding is not allowed.

By Vyshnavi Bisani on Unsplash

Different rules apply to savoury snacks. If you are in receipt of savoury snacks, you must tell us at once, or your cup of tea may be delayed, suspended or withdrawn altogether. If you have already received your tea, you may be asked to return it to us in the envelope provided. If you are not sure whether your snack is savoury, tell us anyway and we will work it out for you.

The rules regarding whether to use fingers or a cake fork during confectionery consumption are very complex, and will depend on a case-by-case basis. Broadly speaking – though it is not an authoritative statement of the law – cakes require a fork and biscuits may be manoeuvred by hand, but the status of pastries depends on overall flakiness and the outcome of a case currently before the European Court of Human Rights.

Biscuits may be manipulated by the thumb and forefinger for the purposes of executing a brief immersion, otherwise known as“dunking”. It is important, however, during the immersion process, to hold the little finger aloft, as if you were handling a bag of turds. This works to foster an atmosphere of gentle dignity.

If you wish to receive further information about tea-time confectionery, you should seek advice from a chartered charlady or see the Department of Social Scrutiny’s leaflet, “What is a Biscuit?”, available at all DoSS offices, taped to the arse of a hungry, barking Alsatian.


About the Creator

Ian Vince

Erstwhile non-fiction author, ghost & freelance writer for others, finally submitting work that floats my own boat, does my own thing. I'll deal with it if you can.

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