The great Tea Clipper Race passed Gravesend back in September of 1866. (This was long before the 11+ examinations had been thought of.)
The Taeping discharged the cargo of tea in the London Docks while the Ariel unloaded in the East India Docks. The two ships shared the first prize.
There was only three days difference between the arrival of the first and the fifth vessel. Other ships had entered the race – but there were but two winners. (A bit like the eleven plus.)
It was a big effort to bring the tea - the ships had to be handled well, they had to use every available breeze and sail.
It may be worthwhile to parents of eleven plus children to research the history of tea with their children. Remind your children that, on occasions, there is more to making tea than simply dipping a tea bag in a cup of hot water.
Ask for a new tea cosy and three carefully selected blends of tea for Christmas. Drop heavy hints about the need for new china set.
On Christmas morning wake up to the sight of your child carrying a tray of lovingly prepared tea to your bed side. Enjoy the sweet smile of your child saying: “Good morning. Happy Christmas. I have already done two verbal reasoning papers this morning and I achieved 100% on each paper.”
As you thank your child for the tea and the papers, and ask to have the door closed, lean back on your pillows and think gratefully that you had foresight and planning. It is not every parent who will enjoy a personally delivered cup of fresh tea.
After all, the next time you have tea brought to you in bed, will probably be as a thank you on the morning after the eleven plus results.