A wonderful pleasure for me is to listen to a British classic music station. I am not a classical music lover, but somehow, I can’t explain it, the English do it better. They play the most incredible music I have ever heard. It’s also fun to listen to English commercials and the English DJ’s. This is a wonderful diversion if your brain is tired of writing and you need a break and want to convince yourself you’re doing this for research! Go to www.classic.fm.co.uk You will need Windows Media Player a computer system Windows 95 or better and for some reason they recommend you allow pop ups . On the top left of their home page is LISTEN NOW. That link should connect you to a live broadcast of their music. But if it won’t (mine didn’t they first few times I tried it—go figure) you can click on How To Listen (on the home page under LISTEN NOW) and follow the links to Listen Again.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
You might wonder how a person not born on British soil could be become so obsessed with all things English. Well, I blame my grandmother. Masie Julia. She was born in England in Hampshire which is on the very southern tip of England. Her father, my great grandfather, was a butcher and as a teen she worked in the shop. This was during World War I and with American soldiers in and out of the shop, romance was bound to blossom. She married my grandfather and travelled over to the United States on the Lusitania in 1919. And because my mother, Dottie, was very close to her mother, she fell in love with all things England and travelled with my grandmother back to England just after WWII the only time my grandmother ever returned to the land of her birth. And since I was close to my mother, well, the obsession continued. So I guess you could say, I wasn't born in England, but England was born into me.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
I WILL MAKE A TEA LOVER OUT OF YOU
In this article, I will endeavor to make a tea lover out of you. If you’ve wondered what is all the fuss over English people drinking tea. Maybe you’ve tried some semblence of tea in a restaurant, or some insipid herbal concoction that tries to pass it off for tea, this article is for you.
I will give you two versions. One, the basics of proper tea making, and the more refined British to-the-core tea experience. First, I must tell you American tea won’t work. Lipton is sort of ground up leaves from an oak tree as far as I’m concerned. You must buy British tea. Three that I highly recommend are Typhoo, PG Tips, or Lyons. This is what everyday English homemakers drink and is night and day to American brands. I buy mine at Amazon.com I feel they have the best prices, but I’ve heard some Wal-Marts have started selling Typhoo in their tea section.
You must keep your opened tea containers in a ziplock bag and don’t mix teas in one bag. Teas pick up other flavors very easily and must be kept fresh to be fully enjoyed.
If you’ve tried tea in a restaurant, even if you bring your own tea bag, it will taste terrible. Some brew the water in coffee pots and or they use mugs that have had coffee in them and the taste lingers, ruining the flavor of a good cut of tea. The best tea is made at home.
First, bring water to a boil in a kettle and not in the microwave. When the water begins to roll, it adds more oxygen and gives the tea more flavor. Once boiling, pour the water into a cup and allow it to soak for about a minute. You can stir it once or twice, but don’t mash the teabag or it will give the tea a bitter taste. Remove the teabag so the flavor won’t be too strong. Add sugar, milk, or nothing. When I lived in England, I knew many Brits who drank it black. But never, and I mean never add cream to tea, it is simply not done that way. The cream will overwhelm the delicate tea flavor. Once you’ve made a proper cuppa, sip and enjoy a wonderful taste.
Have I converted you yet? Hmm, perhaps you need to try the truly historical tea experience.
For this you will need:
A cloth napkin or tea towel
Proper teacup--indulge the part of you that truly wants to experience a feminine, English moment and buy a porcelain, pretty teacup and saucer. I’ve bought mine in antique shops, actually I have a collection, but I always make sure on the bottom it says, made in England. This will greatly enhance your tea moment.
A sugar bowl
Petite glass bowl with spout (for pouring milk.)
Assemble items on the tray, boil more water than you think you will need, then pour enough hot water into the tea pot, about half way to “warm up the pot” swishing it around for about 30 second and pour it out. Then add the teabag (one for one person, two for two etc) and add the hot water.
Stir a couple of times until the color looks like how strong you like your tea, then take out the teabag, put the lid back on the pot and tie the tea towel around the pot to keep it warm. You might consider adding a biscuit (cookie) or two before you take your tea tray to somewhere cozy and savor a truly British tea experience.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
RETURN TO HOME
In a church were Saxons worshipped
Hundreds of years before
I knelt to pray, and found the balm
My heart had been searching for
I care for the wide land yonder
Where my life seems destined to be
But England, only England
Can hold the heart of me
-Margaret Wilkinson Scott
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I love British movies. Nothing puts me in a better mood than to be flung back a couple of hundred years into English history. The lilting sound of a British accent--revealing that they are indeed descendants of Shakespeare. The manners so gentile and comforting. The beauty of a country that surely must represent the landscape of heaven. Here is a collection of my favorites...
** absolute favorites
MY FAVORITE BRITISH MOVIES
A Handful of Dust
A Room With A View
An Ideal Husband
Downton Abby I and II**
Emma BBC version**
Johnny English I and II-modern comedy
Kate and Leopold
Manor House**--the PBS documentary that brought people back in time (1900) to live as nobility/servants for 8-10 (?) weeks
Mansfield Park (BBC version only)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
North and South** (not the American historical by the same title)
Persuasion (BBC version only)**
Pride and Prejudice (BBC version only)**
Remains of the Day
Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson version)**
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill
The Winslow Boy**
Underneath the Greenwood Tree**
Wives and Daughters**
** absolute favorites
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Would you like a cup of tea? I think that is the most respectible greeting a British man or woman can offer his or her guest. So, welcome to British Missives! Some of you may have received my British Missives newsletter via e-mail a couple of years ago. Since then I have missed, bordering on obsessed sharing my passion with like minded Anglophiles. Now we shall resume our shared British obsession just in a new format. My exciting news in that I am working on a new five book series titled, British Missives, Five romantic adventures in the British Isles, Book One--Blue Africa, is a story set in the turn-of-the century British East Africa and London will be e-published on Amazon/Barnes and Noble June 15th. Until then, I look forward to sharing favorite British book titles, movies, the proper way to make a cup of tea, info on William and Kate etc.