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Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Until the mid-18th Century, the tax on tea was so high that it encouraged a thriving black market.

No duty was pain on tea smuggled into Britain and tea was so popular that big money could be made illegally.

More tea was smuggled into Britain than was imported legally.

In 1785 after demands for legitimate tea merchants, the government slashed the duty on tea and tea smuggling was wiped out overnight.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few.

It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that,it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

When company came,those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..

And when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in tha apron.

From the garden,it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the Autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpecte company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, to tell us it was time to come in for dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Grandma would also set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters now set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Well apparently when the horse was king, travellers like to keep their sword hand free to deal with hostile traffic.

As most were right-handed, they kept to the left and it became the rule of the road. The Highways Bill of 1835 made it law.

Saturday, 9 April 2011



The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, has been chosen as one of the best places in the UK to enjoy afternoon tea.

The former Georgian Coaching Inn has won The Tea Guilds, 'Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award 2011'. Only nine Hotels outside of London have achieved this top national award.

It has been praised for its smart and elegant surroundings, attentive and efficient service and tasty sandwiches, cakes and scones.

Friday, 8 April 2011


With the Royal Wedding only a few weeks away there are a number of venues cashing in on the latest 'afternoon tea' craze.

The Cavendish Hotel, Jermyn Street, London has a 'Royal Afternoon Tea' costing £15,

Not only is the hotel an ideal base for those seeking the thrill of London's theatreland, world class shopping and restaurants, it is an oasis of calm where guests can escape, relax and unwind when in London. Whether staying for business or pleasure the hotel's 230 contemporary bedrooms provide guests with a warm, tranquil environment to escape to.

The Cadogan Hotel, Sloane Street, in Knitsbridge, London has a £20 'Champagne Royal Afternoon Tea'

The Cadogan Hotel has launched a new and indulgent Afternoon "ARTea" in conjunction with the well-established art specialists, The Kings Road Art Gallery.
Whilst enjoying Afternoon Tea in The Cadogan Hotel's Drawing Room, guests will now be able view an exclusive collection of works from The Kings Road Art Gallery. The paintings will provide guests with the unique opportunity to combine exquisite art with the time-honoured British tradition of high tea.

In celebration of the new Afternoon ARTea, the new Head Chef, Oliver Lesnik, has created bespoke "artist palette" biscuits, complete with edible paintbrushes. Oliver has a wealth of experience, having previously worked under Angela Hartnett, Jean-Christophe Novelli, and Gordon Ramsay.

And finally the Thames Cruise has one on the day of the wedding for after you have seen the procession. You can then finish you day with a cruise along the Thames and enjoy their 'Royal Wedding Day Afternoon Tea'. Tickets for this trip are through

Watch the Royal Wedding procession in London and then celebrate with a Royal Wedding Afternoon tea cruise on the Thames that's fit for a King (and his Queen!). With this very special one-off departure, you'll enjoy a traditional high tea with all the trimmings as you glide down the River Thames to mark this most memorable day in modern British history.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


The Brits are obsessed with the weather. We talk about it all the time. Every shop owner must get sick of us all saying the same thing, day in day out. But this week has been the warmest week in April for a long time, so we are entitled to get excited about it.

'74F in April', say the weather men. In fact the forecast for the weekend is so good they are telling us to 'buff up our sunglasses and break out the barbecue' ready for our hot weekend.

Blue skies basked across most of the UK and beaches were getting busy. But with forecasts for a long wet summer already being talked about, taking the barbecue out this early could be a bit presumptuous.

The garden centres are buzzing and I've certainly spent up this week in one of them. After such a harsh winter many Brits have found a number of their plants and trees have suffered from it, so I'm sure that no matter what the weather is like they should be stay busy this summer.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


To remove a scratch from a table, crack open a walnut and rub it along the scratch . Walnuts contain a natural resin which will conceil the scratch.

To get rid of ink stains from furniture soak a piece of cotton wool in water and cover the stain with it. That will then draw the mark out and into the cotton wool.

When defrosting a freezer, keep frozen food cold by wrappong it in several layers of newspaper.

Clean your microwave by placing half a lemon in water and setting it to boil.

To unblock a blocked sink tip a handful of bicarnonate of soda followed by a cup of vinegar straight down the plug. After a couple of hours, pour down a kettle of boiling water.

Spray nice smelling furniture polish behind the radiator to leave the room smelling clean and polished.

To clean your computer keys use a cotton bud and the same to clean the ball of a computer mouse.

Add a shot of vodka or lemonade to the water in your vases as this will keep your flowers fresh for longer.

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