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this. the

But he may have misinterpreted what he read. Look at the brief description which is still at the top of this that description on its own could refer to the meal, but it would have been quite understandable for Tony to have assumed it was referring to the drink. A bit more of the context would sort this out.
As I say, it's like chocolate sauce and fish and chips: if anybody did it, they'd clearly be eccentric or ... even a sane landlady or scout might have got the impression that this was the kind of thing Americans liked.

Absolutely. We need to get to the bottom of this one before cherished cultural norms are swept away.
Matti
Tony, I'd trust you on most things, but NOT when ... hot milk into a cup of tea. It's simply ludicrous.

Muriel Beadle was writing about Oxford in the 1950s when there were still some wildly eccentric people about who might ... the Misses Spooner which was a very bizarre occasion where the menu included spaghetti, without any sauce, and white blancmange.

In Australia during World War II if you ordered a cup of coffee, the server would ask "White or black?" If you said "white" it was about half milk. Is that still the way?
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I expected problems with Balliol, and quickly mumbled through it, but I didn't expect problems with Magdalen.

I knew about Magdalen, but what about Balliol?

Looking at the word, I would pronounce it "Bally-oll" or "Bally-ole". I'm quite sure, though, that the English pronounce it "sear-en-cester" or something completely different from what I would expect. Sometimes I really think that English pronunciation of towns and locations is part of the national defense program. Invading forces, given oral instructions, would never associate the sound of the word with the sight of the word on a map.
Custom as in customer? Do you not speak of customers in the USA?

No, "custom" as in "Thank you for your custom." We tell customers "Thank you for your business."
So what *is* a bilateral school? A condominium?

Explained in a different post.
tea.

As you know, tea doesn't always mean tea. Can you provide more context?

I suspect context may reveal only poor research by the author.

Since this was just a diary of experiences in England, I wouldn't criticize her for poor research. If it happened in her experience, then she's on reasonable ground to assume that it's common unless she's writing a text book or a serious academic paper.
Tony Cooper typed thusly:

Things that struck me: It seems that most of the ... or the woman that does the flowers in the church.

You're not reading the same books as me. All that stuff is over 50 years old, and quite possibly related to the upper classes.

I'm sure I'm not. My usual fare in British writing is the classic mystery. I like them because they deal straight with the plot and don't feel obligated - or is it obliged? - to spice up the pages with intimate scenes.
I do read more modern writers like P.D. James, but even there (although I can't cite an example) it would not be uncommon for someone to be at a church fete or to be a church warden.
You are keen on some UK TV. How many references to religion have you seen in Coupling,

none
My Family, Men Behaving Badly or Cold Feet?

Haven't seen these. How about Vicar of Dilby? How about the Vicar in "Keeping Up Appearances"? Remember, what we get here is quite a bit behind what you may see there.
If you read a book set in America, you might ... religious title. It's America, though, that is associated with religion.

Count the congregations. The vast majority of UK churches are running empty. Even the great cathedrals have few regular worshipers, ... Country churches have to share vicars - one vicar to three or four parishes. Tourist attractions is what they are.

You know this, but it's not obvious to the casual observer. As a tourist, did you notice how full our churches are or aren't?
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I was thinking of the other kind, like the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. We have a shopping centre cum parking garage cum conference centre that was developed partly by the city council and partly by private enterprise. It has the opublic library, and a municipal conference centre, but also lots of shops and offices. So I wondered if a bilateral school was run partly by the government body responsible for education, and partly by a priviate or civili society body.
Did you notice that in Britain intersections are called junctions?

Sometimes they are in the US too, but "intersection" is the usual term today for the junction of two ordinary ... of two important streets in Brooklyn (Fourth Largest City in America), Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues, was traditionally called "The Junction".

Here we call them intersections pretty consistently, and I noticed that in Britain they were called (AmE=named) junctions.
Oxford University, before it was secularised, belonged to the Church ... secularised, you might find similar hangovers after a few years.

I don't think that's what Coop is getting at. When Coop's right he's right. British people love to go on ... I read in AUE, is one that British people themselves are unaware of. Vicars, Steve. Vicars. Say it, Steve. "Vicars."

Not to mentions Archdeacons, Prebendaries, Perpetual curates, Canons Residentiary, Honorary and Emeritus, surrogates, ordinaries, clerks in holy orders, lay clerks, parish clerks, vergers, sextons, beadles.

Isn't America boring with its reverends and pastors?

We have things like that too, but I only know of ones in theology faculties (or schools, as they are now called). They are called clusters, but it's not quite ther same thing as the colleges in a collegiate university in England. The university and non university institutions share tution and staff, but not all the students in the non-university colleges are studying for university degrees, and the non-university "colleges" don't form part of the university. I call them "colleges", but one is a seminary, another is a scholasticate and another is something else.We also used to have something similar with the University of South Africa. It was the first university in the country, and was orginally the University of the Cape of Good Hope. It ran examinations and awarded degrees bit offered no tuition. Tution was offered by "University Colleges", but eventually the colleges grew jup and gotr charters and became universities in their own right, awarding degrees. When the last of these fledgelings fled the nest, the University of South Africa (Unisa) had nothing to do, so it began offering tuition, but by distance educagtion, which it still does, and is nowe the largest such institution in the Southern Hemisphere.

Then when the government kicked black students out of the other universities, and established tribal colleges, Unisa took them under its wing as it had before, and they became independent degree-granting bodies now known as "historically disadvantaged institutions".
None of that fits the Oxbridge/Durham scenario exactly, though there are a few similarities.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
Surely you realize that "tea" can mean the meal rather than the beverage? That's why the context is important.

Matti, I'm fully aware of the meanings of "tea". Trust me on this. She was referring to a jug of hot milk to pour in tea. I'll skim the book and try to find it again, but give me a little credit here.

And while you're at it, skim the skin off the milk.

It is a barbarous custom that I never encountered in Britain, and came acros only during my brief career as a civil servant, to wit, a water works attendant.

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
Muriel Beadle was writing about Oxford in the 1950s when ... the menu included spaghetti, without any sauce, and white blancmange.

In Australia during World War II if you ordered a cup of coffee, the server would ask "White or black?" If you said "white" it was about half milk. Is that still the way?

As I don't drink coffee, I'm not aware of current norms in this regard. I remember that, when I was quite young, my father when offered this choice would reply "Do you have any of the brown sort?", much to my embarrassment.

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
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Matti, I'm fully aware of the meanings of "tea". Trust ... find it again, but give me a little credit here.

Tony, I'd trust you on most things, but NOT when it comes to "tea". There is NO WAY that anyone in Britain would EVER put hot milk into a cup of tea. It's simply ludicrous.

OK, Matti, because it's you I went back and skimmed the book until I found the reference on page 48. (In the Swan Hotel in Bedford) "At breakfast we asked for two coffees and one milk. The milk came in a pitcher boiling hot, with skin on the top..."
The 3 x 5 card that I used as a bookmark and for notes just says "Hot milk/tea?" I'm still assuming that the hot milk was to pour in the coffee since there's no mention of a glass (just jug) and it came with the coffee order.
I think it's as odd to provide hot milk with coffee as it is with hot tea, but perhaps such things are viewed differently in England. Either use would serve to keep the beverage hotter.

I assume that your dander is back at 98.6 now that "tea" has been corrected to "coffee", but do you find it ludicrous to put hot milk in coffee but not tea at breakfast?
I'm aware of the Spanish-style coffees with milk added, but I think that rather misses the point here. Perhaps not. If milk is added to tea (and surely you agree some do do that), then what is ludicrous about the temperature of the milk?
But, not to try to conceal my error, it was coffee and not tea. Not tea as in afternoon tea, but tea as in beverage.
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