>I was enjoying a snack of freshly brewed English Breakfast tea and a toasted teacake in an excellent coffee house. A friend was chatting with me and as is so often the case when I visit this coffee house, I felt calm and contented.

A couple, both younger than my late thirties were sat at the table beside ours and had been laughing and joking as we had been. Some confusion then seemed to set in after their tea had arrived. The gentleman looked towards his lady companion with a look of puzzlement on his face. The lady returned his look of puzzlement.

I dropped a sugar rock into my cup of English Breakfast and stirred it.

Something was perplexing this couple. Something that no matter how hard they tried, they could not work out to their satisfaction.

My friend opened the jar of honey that accompanied her toast and started to spread some on a slice.

As the house manager passed by the gentleman caught his attention. The manager walked over to the table and asked how he could be of service.

The gentleman lifted a small metal piece from the table.

“What’s this?

Then he indicated the small bowl in which the piece rested.

“And this bowl? What’s this for?

At the same moment my friend and I looked at each other. The look when people realise a faux pas is taking place and are trying not to take pleasure at the discomfort of another. I left my cup on its saucer in the event that my self control wasn’t up to scratch and I spluttered tea everywhere in laughter. My friend did the same.

We knew what was coming.

The house manager (an excellent chap who is unfazed by the many variations in clothing that I have worn to his establishment) politely explained that the tea served is leaf tea which needs time to brew and then be strained with the strainer as it is poured from the teapot into the cup. The bowl is to catch any drops of tea which fall from the strainer when it is at rest.

Do we really have a generation which does not know what a tea strainer is?

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