Thermos, the Greek god of travel


In an effort to save the planet from becoming one big plastic bag, everyone nowadays seems to be carrying around a reusable cup.

This is not a new thing and is basically a modern-day thermos flask – only they’re no longer in tartan.

However, these relatively new containers are designed to carry one liquid, unlike the old thermoses, which would hold multiple liquids. They will contain only coffee, water or, if you’re currently reading any Jean-Paul Sartre, absinthe.

Thermos flasks had a different function, but with a built-in obsolescence. Thermos flasks were invariably solely used for picnics but, after several uses, regardless of the historic liquid inside, the contents would eventually taste like oxtail soup – regardless of whether it had ever contained oxtail soup or not.

In the 60s, as a young teenager, I’d often set off on an Orange Luxury coach trip from Balham High Road to a destination I would hate with picnic basket, containing a thermos and two parents.  The problem arose with the lack of cups.  As the youngest in the family, whilst orange squash was ok, drinking chicken soup from my hands was tricky.  They might have been able to do that sort of thing on Kung Fu, but I struggled at places like Hever Castle.  However, the vending machine within A&E at Pembury Hospital did do a nice Bovril.  Or was it Earl Grey tea?

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