I’m not really one for bad tea puns, but the title of this blog wrote itself.
I originally had a blog, where I ranted. And then I had a tea blog. And after about a dozen posts, I moved my blog to Tea Trade.
I used to make videos regularly, and Jackie Davenport of Trade came across them, and when she invited me to move my blog to the new Tea Trade Platform, I did.
On the 7th of February, 2011, I wrote a short blog post, and that is 301 posts ago. That works out to a little over one a week: at times I’ve blogged daily, at others I’ve slowed down as other things demand attention.
Over that time, we have moved our online shop into the Tea Trade fold, and later moved it out again as our needs changed. At one point I had seven different sites. But needs change.
Now, the total engagement I have with Tea Trade is hosting this blog, and the satirical blog (as if mine isn’t) Beasts of Brewdom. I’ve got another idea I’d like to try soon, though.
Over that time, I’ve become more engaged with Facebook, less so with Twitter. Many of the original Tea Trade members met on Twitter (or on Tea Trade) but now we get ubiquitous updates on Facebook. I can’t help feel we’ve gained convenience but lost a sense of what made us special.
Over the last few months TT has migrated to another host, and improved reliability. That’s great. In case you don’t know, Tea Trade is not a massive corporation with a 23 story building, firemans’ poles and slides between the floors, an integrated monorail and a refridgerated 20,000 gallon tank of Iced Lord Petersham piped into the boardroom. No, Tea Trade is Jackie and Peter’s blood, sweat and tears.
As private people, you do not see them making a big deal of themselves on line. (They leave that to the likes of me). Jackie and Peter get on with making Tea Trade the best it can be.
They once attracted the ire of a person I will describe as “hey everybody, you know the rancid, rabid right-wing, demented harpy I mean” – a person everyone in tea has fought with at some point – over the fact that their domain “teatra.de” makes it look like they are in Germany. And apparently that’s confusing. Whereas I would have launched an all out assault on this nutter, they just ignored the constant sniping.
Peter has a full time job AND does consulting work. Jackie is just as busy. Tea Trade is a labour of love, something else to cram into a very full life.
In 2013, Lady Devotea and I stayed with The Davenports.
Our US trip was about 6 fabulous days in Las Vegas around the World tea Expo, a week in New York City – one of the world’s truly great cities and a place we met many of our Tea Trade friends- and a few days in Philadelphia. We gave talks, launched a book, had signings and events and so much tea it would have drowned an ordinary person.
The two days we stayed with Jackie and Peter were nevertheless, an absolute highlight. We spent much of it sitting at their kitchen table, safe from the bears** roaming outside, wallowing in tea and friendship.
Over the last five years, I’ve been a right pain in the backside. I launched a vicious smear campaign against a fellow user of the site, claiming he was a shyster, a conman, a fraud and extortionist (and he was, and he was too stupid to be good at any of them). I have said outrageous things and stirred up controversy. I’ve dumped endless reams of fiction and bad poetry into my blogs. I’ve gone weeks without blogging then suddenly needed technical support when I’m on train and have to blog NOW. I’ve written some unwise and probably untrue things at time, and also written some very serious and controversial stuff.
And yet the Davenports have taken it all with great grace and in their stride.
So if you’re a regular reader of this blog, take a moment to visit the activity stream of Tea Trade, which basically tracks blog posts, comments and forum posts. You’ll discover blogs by my fellow Beast Of Brewdom Geoff, the deep thinking Xavier, perfectly captured experiences from “scandalous” Jo, ransom stuff from Rachel, reviews from the Sororitea Sisters, opinions from Bram and Ricardo and a whole bunch of other tea related stuff.
And when you do, you see why today’s raised teacup is in honour of Jackie and Pete and their creation, Tea Trade.
** No way are raccoons that big, it was a bear , I tell you.