The Third Leader: Tea and scones to go...

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At times like these, when things are beginning to feel just a touch repetitive, it is refreshing to see that the British talent for innovation still survives, defiant and undimmed, if almost hidden beneath the targets, costings, ball parks and level playing fields. Welcome, the drive-in tea shop.

At times like these, when things are beginning to feel just a touch repetitive, it is refreshing to see that the British talent for innovation still survives, defiant and undimmed, if almost hidden beneath the targets, costings, ball parks and level playing fields. Welcome, the drive-in tea shop.

Indeed. In Cumbria, they do not rest on their doilies in their inglenooks, taking turns to be mother. No: they are striking a blow against the faceless fast-food outlets and modish coffee purveyors by catering for the discerning wheeled customer in a hurry. Farmers on their tractors, tourists in their cars or on their bicycles intent on not missing a moment of the Lakes and fells: all will be able to telephone ahead for tea and a bun, or more.

Already there are reports of queues of tractors and cycles, eager for instant Earl Grey and immediate gingerbread. Service is through the window or to your conveyance, rather than through the tea shop, as that kind of logistic would defeat even a Cumbrian charista.

Thus is tradition born: by the turn of the century, the Lake District Drive-in Tea Shop will be cherished, listed and legendary. We suggest gents' outfitters, ironmongers, greengrocers and Nationwide Conference clubs take a close look.

Meanwhile, two superb examples of that other leading island trait, doggedness and indefatigability in seemingly impossible situations, should also be noted: Oxford students continuing to jump 25 feet from Magdalen Bridge into two feet of water, and the reopening of The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Perhaps - innovative suggestion - the two could be combined in some way.

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