If you’re local, you may have noticed the definite coolness in the air around the Ribble Valley at the moment. The glorious heat and sunshine of this year’s fantastic summer heatwave is finally starting to ease off, and chillier winds are starting to sweep across the valley as Autumn begins to set in. And although the milder weather might not be the most welcome news for everyone, it does give us a brilliant excuse to indulge ever more frequently in our favourite national drink: tea!
Personally I adore tea, and I know I’m not alone. The British relationship with tea is world-famous. We drink about 60 billion cups of it every year! It was first imported into Britain in the late 1600s, and since then it’s evolved into a British cultural icon. Our love for it is so well-known that natives of other countries are frequently known to ask “Why do British people love tea so much?”
Well, as all British people can attest, the weather is a big factor! There’s nothing better than having a lovely warm mug of tea on rainy or chilly days, which far outnumber our sunnier ones here in the UK. Historically, it was also believed to have medicinal qualities, and these two factors combined gave it a surge in popularity throughout the centuries.
Perhaps our greatest love for it though, is that tea always has been a social drink. It’s far more than liquid in a mug. It’s a culture, a way of life, even. The evolution of the traditional tea break is part of what made it so popular!
“Can I get you a cuppa?” (or, for Northerners: “Fancy a brew?”) isn’t just an offer intended to quench thirst. It’s deeper than that. It’s the universal invitation to share companionship, stories, experiences. Essentially, it encompasses so much of what we’re about here at Valley Living. The Dutch have a word I think is relevant here: Gezelligheid. Roughly translated, it equates to conviviality, cosiness, and fun. It’s time spent with loved ones, catching up with old friends, or just the general, wonderfully fuzzy sense of warmth and belonging. Sadly, we don’t have a direct equivalent of Gezellingheid here in Britain.
What we do have, though, is tea. Pop the kettle on!