of rain and tea and nothing in particular

It was a drizzly morning in Oxford today. One of those “gotcha” days: the kind that leads you to believe, when you look out the window, that it is not yet raining. Then you depart with your toddler in her buggy and your shopping bag on your shoulder and discover that what you took for gray air out of your window is in reality tiny droplets of rain. To go or not to go? It’s three-quarters of a mile to the shops. We go.

I’ve often wondered lately if the people around here can tell at a glance that we are Americans. In most other nations I’ve visited this fact has seemed mysteriously evident to everyone I encounter. It’s as though there’s an American flag tattooed on our foreheads, visible to all but ourselves. Oxford is a community quite accustomed to people from all over the world. Can they read our origin in our faces? If so, what gives us away? Our lack of an umbrella? On the way to the shops, I was gratified when a little mini-car pulled over so the man inside could call, “I say, could you direct me to Something Close please?” I’m sorry, I’m new in town myself. (And I’m rather glad you couldn’t tell.)

After filling our basket with things for dinner, Norah and I were cold and tired. I have often noticed that although it is three-quarters of a mile to the shops, it is roughly double that to reach home again. On the journey, however, one passes nine different places where it is possible to order a cup of tea. So we did. It came, “Tea for One” in a darling little pot with a jug of milk and a biscuit on the side. Norah ate the biscuit and drank the milk, I had the tea, and we took ourselves home again. We may not have an umbrella yet, but I bet that sitting there and having our tea we looked as English as the rest of them.

It was so good that I made some more when we reached home.

This entry was posted in England, Keep Calm and Carry On. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to of rain and tea and nothing in particular

  1. therigneys says:

    On my first trip to England, I remember thinking, “oh man, how am I going to get through tea time! I can’t stand the stuff !” Once I tried it with milk, everything changed!

    So glad you had a joyful spot of tea with Norah on an otherwise rainy and gloomy day!

    Love you!

    • Milk makes a big difference. Also have noticed that the “biscuits” (read: vanilla cookie) taste better with tea. True story. I’ve had them alone and they aren’t even the same animal.
      Love you too.

  2. Miriam Boone says:

    Hi, Betsy!

    You don’t know me but I stumbled across your blog via a strange series of blog reading that began, oddly enough, at the Desiring God Blog. (DG Blog –> Noel Piper’s blog –> Jenny Rigney’s blog –> your blog!)

    I just was so interested in what you’re writing that I had to introduce myself and hope it didn’t seem too creepy :-).

    My husband Nate and I have been married for two years and are teaching at a small private school for underprivileged kids in the inner city of Tulsa, OK. We are saving up money for seminary and in are the (long) process of adopting two infants from Rwanda.

    We graduated from The Master’s College, a reformed liberal arts college, in Southern California but I spent a semester studying at the University of Oxford my senior year. I recognize many of the places you’ve written about and it makes me so homesick for Oxford to see all your pictures. At the same time, I know just how hard it can be to live there, especially as the culture shock sinks in.

    I know you’re probably busy setting up house in a little flat but if you ever have the time or the interest I’d love to hear from you via email. I wondered what church you guys are attending and I’d love to recommend a few favorite places to visit.

    Thanks so much for reading a comment from a stranger,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s