In Britain, a surprising number of people “become genuinely excited when presented with a hot beverage and a small plain biscuit.” So saith Bill Bryson in The Road to Little Dribbling, his new book about the land where tea is the Universal Remedy.
Hot beverages are welcome right now in my own little corner of the world, where the dreariness of winter is relieved by plugging in a playful kettle which the Long Suffering Husband found at Target. I don’t know what genius dreamed this up, but it never fails to mesmerize and delight with its cheery electric blue bubbles.
I have fallen behind on Bryson’s books, even though I’m fond of his work (my favorites are his other tome on Britain, Notes From A Small Island, and A Walk In The Woods, a hilarious account of hiking the Appalachian Trail). It may be time to catch up, if only to remind myself that sometimes the small comforts in life are the most satisfying of all.
Oooh, I love the look of that kettle!
And not expensive!
Bryson, in my opinion at least, is right up there with Douglas Adams in the “People Who Really Understand The British” category.
A copy of “Notes..” should be handed out to those moving to Albion on arrival. As a combined travel guide and etiquette handbook it’s second to none…
Entertaining, charming, impish 🙂
Not to mention at times rather sardonic. That particular attribute I pin on the many years he spent in my own part of Blighty – North Yorkshire.
It’s a result of the Norse melancholy in our genetic make-up, weather that aspires to dismal, and the presence of a bewildering number of sheep.
On the plus side, we learn how to handle crushing disappointment before we’re out of diapers…
LOL. Yes, my husband is Swedish-American and I recognize that lugubrious, bone-dry wit! What I love best about Bryson is his sense of humor. It has an edge, but he’s never mean-spirited.
Do you know the origin of “Blighty”? It’s a term I only learned recently. I suspect that another reason Bryson fell in love with Britain was the national fondness for slang and wordplay.
I’m not sure about the precise origins of “Blighty”, to be honest. It evokes a feeling of time and place more than anything else, a kind of Edwardian, end-of-Empire sensation.
Frankly I’d be astonished if anyone under 30 used the word, and then amazed on top of that if they didn’t do so irreverently… 🙂
I first heard it from someone in his 60’s 🙂
Does the kettle change colour? I have got a similar one which also glows blue when switched on, but I’d really like to have a psychedelic mood kettle that changes colour through the whole spectrum and glows red when the water boils…
Someone once pronounced Bryson as “tedious travel writer” to me, and I subsequently never touched his books. I need to remedy that.
Bryson tedious? That is the last word I would use of him. But I suppose someone who doesn’t share his interests (word origins, oddities of culture, wry humor) might dislike the books.
The kettle light is only blue, but I would love one that changed color. That would be Harry Potter-worthy 🙂
I definitely have to give Bryson another chance. The scathing review he received from my informant is obviously unfair.
The colour-changing kettle exists. I just found one here: http://www.hifi-tower.ie/oneConcept-Rainbow-Electric-Water-Kettle-1-7L-2200W-Colour-Changing-LED_i33862.htm I may need to order that, now that I am discussing it with you…
“From refreshing blue it turns to vivid purple, up to exciting red once the water starts to boil.” LOL, there is something very sensuous about this kettle!
The kitchen is an erogenous zone, you know…
Heavens yes. Sometimes I have trouble separating masculine from mascarpone…
That kettle is brilliant! And I will have to look up A Walk in the Woods. Thanks for the reco!
Yes, I think you would appreciate his sense of humor.
Ohh i am glad to know you like tea too! What kind of tea do you like? 🙂 That kettle is fab!! I’ve got a low energy Philips one as i do use it a lot, i could live without the oven but not without the kettle! But this certainly brings cheer 🙂
And there is nothing like a cup of tea after a long day or some stressful hours, or to start the day… or to start a nice conversation in the kitchen round the kettle.. tea is the juice of life! 🙂
Tea any time of day 🙂 You have the national adoration for the beverage! My favorites are the classic black teas like Assam, Ceylon and Darjeeling, or blends thereof. But I also love green tea and oolong. Too much tea disagrees with my stomach, and when that happens, I drink chamomile.
my wife is “the reader” — but (lazy me, up ’til recent, i’d see the movie and by-pass the book, so …) wasn’t the movie (“walk in the woods”) the one w/Rob’t Redford (and N. Nolte) ??
Yes, I’ve heard of the movie but haven’t seen it. I have trouble reconciling Robert Redford with Bill Bryson, LOL! Though Nick Nolte is a decent match for the other guy in the story.
yeah, one of the NNolte character’s best lines is regarding how he spent an earlier part of his life (fill in the p**y word blank) — something like “i spent half my time getting drunk and chasing p**y. the other half I wasted.”
Haha! I’ve got to see this. I don’t remember anything that raw in the book, but the it fits the character.
Sylvie G said:
yes, small comforts are the best 🙂
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
Ah, a gorgous kettle and I am a ‘fallen behind’ fan of Bill Bryson as well. Years ago, I saw him at a bookshop appearance reading an extract from A Walk in the Woods. His pithy and dry observations crack me up. I need go read The Road to Little Dribbling.
What was he like in person? I am intrigued!
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
Quite shy in a way but he reads well! Self-deprecating, which was great. It was quite a long time ago but I remember that much!
Yes, that is how I imagined him 🙂 Cute and sweet, but very smart too.
Love the electric blue! Mine lights up red, Wonderson got it to replace the non illuminating one I blew up. A cup of tea, crumpets with butter and marmite, with Bill Bryson reading his own audio book The History of Nearly Everything = perfect!
Ah, that sounds perfect. Especially the crumpets. I’ve not had one in ages, thought I do own a set of crumpet rings 🙂