Fancy an, err, Americano?

I know on the grand scale of things this really isn't the biggest issue in the world.

But on the day-to-day smaller scale of things, it kind of is.

How and why, pray, did the business of ordering hot drinks become so problematic?

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I seem to remember a time when it was simply a question of tea or coffee with perhaps the odd hot chocolate thrown in if the establishment was particularly forward thinking. We forgave the affectation of hot chocolate with its squirty cream and marshmallows and so forth, and got on with our everyday, comforting cuppas.

Now, there is a mind-boggling array of hot drinks, many of them suspicious-sounding, to make us all even more choice-anxious and look even more dithery and indecisive in front of intimidatingly young vendors.

We are supposed to choose in a matter of seconds whether we want a grande cappuccino, a tall latte or a regular Americano.

The thing is, what on earth is an Americano anyway, does anyone know, and is it an ordinary coffee because there never seems to be ordinary coffee on the menu and the Americano seems the best bet?

Then there is the question of the size of coffee cup, which I have written about in bewildered bafflement before, which can turn up the size and weight of a soup tureen with a nauseating amount of coffee and indeed caffeine in it.

Why, oh why, have we turned to American for a hot drinks revamp and not the continent where coffee is good and comes in pleasingly-sized cups?

In supermarket cafe (yes, I know) the other day I tried to order an 'ordinary regular coffee' which was all going well, before I threw in the hot milk request.

"But that will turn it into a latte (err, no it won't) and I will have to charge you extra," said hot drinks woman.

She took pity though, made a small strike against the establishment and decided not to charge me extra, dimly recalling, obviously, a less confusing time in the old coffee world.

Is it just me?

* Husband, who has spent all summer trying to discipline our hens to no avail, constructed a little fence from mesh wire the largish holes of which they promptly squeezed through. What to do now, he said? Err, use chicken wire perhaps?

Is it just me? (again).

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