This Teapot does not contain Tea, Oxford

{Written from the Chequers Pub, Oxford, UK}

Let me contrast two mornings for you: that of yesterday, when we were so posh, Chuck Bass would have sought an introduction, and that of today, right now, when I feel like a hungover slug. Ernest Hemingway once said, “Write Drunk, Edit Sober.” I’m definitely not ready to edit yet so perhaps I will continue writing. Should anyone try to find me, I’m hiding in the darkest part of The Chequers pub, sunglasses on my head, armed with a pitcher of water and the comfort of mac n’ cheese to steady me. Lord knows why I would choose to sit at the highest bar stool, for it is most precariously balanced on cobbled stones – why on earth would someone design a pub so? But I think the very focus required to stay seated without tottering is helping me re-elevate to my usual empire state of mind.

“That’s some heavy reading for a Sunday morning,” comments the waitress. I guess she noticed that I’ve got Kissinger’s “Diplomacy” as my brunch date. As any student knows, that’s the trouble with Sundays; the dark cloud of Monday morning 8am class rapidly looms closer to the clock. You would think that the professors would show some leniency in their assignments considering that they too were right there amongst the inebriated masses last night. About thirty of us joined the thousands upon the hills behind Highclere Castle in a rare show of British patriotism at the annual celebration of the Battle Proms.

Yesterday truly had no choice but to be fabulous considering the way that my sorority sisters Emma, Liz, and I began it. We draped ourselves over the plush grey leather couches at All Bar One, a glitzy restaurant on High Street. Upon glancing at the vast array of drinks offered by the golden edged menu that our flamboyantly gay waiter handed us, we knew that no teapot we ordered that morning would contain any tea. Somewhere in the midst of this, our friend Jason sauntered in just returning from his adventures the night before, brimming with tales of bar fights, blackened eyes, and his upcoming date with a girl from Glasgow. A pot of lychee and rosé spritz and cosmopolitans later, the world was our oyster. We all split ways and I ventured to the rooftops of Turl Street, the insights of which you are welcome to read in my “Amidst the Rooftops” pending post.

Fireworks at Highclere
Fireworks at the Concert of Highclere, Battleproms 2015

A hastily packed picnic later, we reconvened with our peers around 5pm on the chilly hills of Highclere beneath the fireworks and Spitfire’s aerial display. The orchestra filled the night air with music and even cannons. My – now very – jolly American peers traded their allegiances for £2.50 British flags and union jack themed bowler hats, and we joined in the fun of thousands of Scots, Welsh, and English people enjoying the concert in fairy-light lit tents. Attending the Battle Proms showed just how different “proper” British people are when it comes to nationalism; though our Oxford professors grinned and drank wine and Pimms they quite looked down upon “the obscene display of flag-waving and song-singing.” I think they’d be downright horrified if they saw Americans on 4th of July. But what was interesting on the hillside were the various banners flying high; from Welsh dragons to Scottish lions, this evening was the first time I was conscious of the different clans within the United Kingdom. In the wake of the Scottish Referendum and the rise of the Plaid Cymru nationalist party of Wales, there’s a new wave of defining what it really means to be “British.” Whilst tourists like myself might toss around words like “tea and scones” or “the Queen,” as answers to this daunting question, I think the real reason British people find these “shows of nationalism” odd is because it unnerves them. They are acutely aware that their “nation” is on the potential verge of drastic transition; nationalist fervor is difficult to cultivate when the so-called nationals aren’t certain to which definition of a nation they owe their allegiance.

Anyways, the pitcher of water is now over and I’m being a horrid date to Chapter 11 of Kissinger. Though I’ve still got the fireworks behind my eyes, I’m now thankfully reaching Hemingway’s denoted capacity to edit so I’ll stop here. Until next time, cheers!



Author: Nikita Taimni

A Dubai-based blogger, I write about travel, theatre and lifestyle in the cities I explore around the world. Follow me on Instagram @nikitalyfe and follow via email if you enjoy reading my posts!

7 thoughts

  1. What fun finding your teapot holds treasures other than the usual piping hot tea! And, how exciting the evening at Highclere sounds…I look forward to hearing about more of your adventures and your thoughts as you closely observe the world around you. Keep these posts coming….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have started looking forward to reading your blogs. They are a great way to find out that you are spending your time at Oxford absorbing – knowledge and alcohol concurrently. Not being someone who has responded to blogs in the past, I am a little uncertain what is expected of me. I think I will stop here, otherwise I run the risk of being asked to get my posts pre-edited henceforth.

    Liked by 1 person

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