Book – Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down

Author – Nicey and Wifey

Year – 2004

Pages – 179

Genre – Non-Fiction

It sometimes seems that the internet is made up of about twenty different websites. A few of them may differ from person to person, but the bulk of them are made up of your social medias, your shopping sites and maybe some news ones. I mean everyone has a website, but we don’t really use most of them. How many people are going to the Polo Mints website each day for instance? Or the Jean Claude Van Damme official website? When did you last log on to the website of mid nineties seminal Britpop band Shed Seven? I imagine none of you quite as recently as I have (including the webmaster in the case of JCVD World which has not been updated since March 2019…)

But it makes sense that they exist. Sometimes you need some official information about them and they have websites to make sure they are accessible. However, it feels a long time since the start of the internet where the vast majority of content was user made. Like a prototypical Wikipedia, if you wanted a website then you made one, and that is how things happened. Back then, there were many websites that catered to all types of people. As someone who runs a website (not very famous, but if you are reading this then I guess it has a reach of at least, well, you) I understand as it is tricky, time consuming and surprisingly expensive. But it is a little sad as there are some websites that I used to thoroughly enjoy back in the day that are no longer with us.

One such website was – still live, but sadly not updated in the past twelve years. Put simply, a man and his wife reviewed biscuits. It was a simple place where the most wonderful thing to be done was to sit down, put your feet up, have a cuppa and dunk your favourite baked good. Well it seems that some publishing executives decided that this was good enough to spin of to a book, and that is where our two little websites collide.

Nicey’s book takes us through each of the constituent parts of this incredibly British ritual. We start with the cup of tea, and a detailed description of all the ways that they could be created. We move on to biscuits and a review of some of the most important ones. A brief foray into the world of cake follows, before a – somewhat tacked on – attempt to cover the best places to sit for your little relaxing moment.

It is so twee as to be faintly ridiculous, but it is so incredibly charming that this doesn’t matter one little bit. Alternately self knowingly indignant over the temerity of lesser biscuits inability to be dunked properly, and seemingly genuinely bereft at the lack of etiquette behind some tea-makers’ practice, I honestly cannot think of a better example of displaying the elusive “British values” that teachers are supposed to instil into pupils than this book. I don’t agree with all of it – I am controversially a fan of pink wafers – and found moments a tad too self indulgent, but overall it gave me a hankering for the biscuits of my youth, and has directly correlated with an increase in my fruit shortcake intake.

Taking a moment to actually relax seems something rooted in the past in the way that self run websites, Abbey Crunch biscuits and Jean Claude Van Damme all are, but I had a very lovely time connecting with at least one of them in this past week or so.