Yesterday was cold.
“Cold” by my standards – from about 4 to 7 degrees Celsius.
Now in case you live in one of the three countries in the world that retains the 17th century Fahrenheit scale as its official scale – The Cayman Islands, Belize or the United States of America* – that’s 40 to 45 in your nonsensical and antiquated scale.
Some people will say things like “Huh? 7 degrees, You call THAT cold? Hereabouts it’s not cold until we’re scraping frozen badgers off the driveway and having to wake the family up with a defibrillator.”
But let’s face it, if you choose to live somewhere that’s supposed to be cold, then you only have yourself to blame. So if it it’s cold in Anchorage or Oslo, then tough. Whereas if it’s cold in Adelaide, then that is a keen injustice.
So anyway, scantily clad in merely trousers, thick socks, a T-shirt, another long-sleeved shirt, a suit coat, gloves and a hat, and armed with four litres of hot tea, I took my place alongside Lady Devotea at our forthnightly market stall.
And “too cold” it was deemed by the public, who stayed away to a large degree. It was the quietest market we’ve been at in a long time.
This made each and every potential customer like gold.
Now, when we are at markets, Lady Devotea is the star. She reels ‘em in, gets them on side and I do little more than pour the samples and grin as she translates “Oh, don’t mind trying a cup of tea” to “The 1001 Nights, Lord Perersham, the Lady Devotea and one of those infuser thingies, please”.
However, what she does is quite graciously accepts it when people say “I don’t drink tea” or “I’ve just had a coffee” or even “I’m allergic to tea“.
I’m just not one to let such statements stand.
My usual reaction is to sympathise “You don’t drink tea? Oh, I am sorry for you. What a shame! It must be awful”. I usually follow it up with ” What don’t you like about tea?”
I can shamelessly play the tea nerd, listen to their stories of deprivation ” Well, my mother drinks tea and I think of it as an old person’s drink” or whatever and of course, I challenge them.
Our State Government has just ruled that it is perfectly acceptable to scream in people’s faces that they are going to hell for wearing a short skirt in public, and I figure if it’s good enough for religious loonies to get their bad behaviour sanctioned, then a harmless tea nutter like myself is in the clear, Your Honour.
So, yesterday, the first couple came past. “Would you care to sample some tea?” Lady Devotea enquired. ”Well, we aren’t really tea drinkers” the man said.
“Not really tea drinkers? What does that mean? What sort of tea do you not really drink?”
You might think looming up at them and asking such questions is a bit startling, but I did so; and from there on in they were hooked. A simple sample of 1910 was provided to the male half – he looked astonishingly happy about it after the first sip, passed it on to the even less keen other half: hey presto, they bought a packet to take with them.
A lucky conversion on the road to Teamascus? Not at all. A virtually identical scenario a few minutes later, and another packet of 1910 changed hands.
So, this is what we do. We take people who “don’t like tea”, share with them properly made black teas – we even have milk and sugar on hand – and we sell them tea. And they come back a fortnight later for more!
But is this enough? Not for us.
Three hours in and a couple appear. They are offered tea. He says he doesn’t mind an English Breakfast. She says she never drinks tea, she only drinks coffee.
OK, he’s easy. Here’s your sample, Sir. And let’s turn to the coffee drinker.
Whilst he is deciding that the tea he is trying – Persian Princess – is too strong for him – I start asking her about coffee. Turns out she drinks sweetened lattes.
“Well, you must try this” I say, decanting a small sample of Aussie Ginger Chai made with non-homogenised milk and mulga honey quicker than David Copperfield can bank his appearance fee.
It gets a bit chaotic then. He’s looking to bin his sample cup, the guy that is with them is rolling his eyes, a regular comes up and asks Lady D for a packet of their usual, another couple looks interested, but I am firmly fixated on coffee-woman. I am going to win this one.
She sips it. Time slows.
She loves it. She says that it reminds her of something she once tried at McDonalds, only better.
Fair enough on both points.
She buys. Takes her packet of Aussie Ginger Chai and instruction sheet and heads off.
He doesn’t. Too bad. He can suffer his supermarket tagbags full of rubbish. I don’t care.
The title of this post is the tag from our Facebook page, made up on the spur of a moment; Now gradually becoming our plan.
Just like those roving, raving preachers I mentioned would say “ I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance”
Whilst you are snug in your beds; sitting at your desks; walking your dogs; creating cold fusion or finding a cure for cancer, we are out there, fighting the good fight for tea on your behalf.
And sometimes, it’s cold.
*Thank you, Wikipedia