Much to my glee, I found the evidence (a printout of my email asking, for the third time, to bring in my own electric kettle to make tea in the office).
(I removed my name at the top and the spoiltea's name at the bottom,
but yep, that was all I got as a reply in my pigeonhole).
I tell you two things:
1. This was worth the story - never mind my initial bafflement about the whole situation.
2. My next cup of tea at Tchai Ovna will taste even better - I'm back in a country of like-minded teaple!