A Tale of Two Civvies

So, last night was a big night.

As many of you know, I am preparing a series of videos for the Annual Spring White Tea event in New York, and I am also hoping I can be there via the big screen using the latest of satellite technology, and by that I mean Skype or Google hangouts.

Last night was the shooting of the video. It is not for public distribution, it is a one-off. It is, or will be, the Premiere of my “Life Blends” talks

I wanted a small but keen audience. Be careful what you wish for, as they say.

As I am doing a talk next week in my hometown at a “Meet The Blender” function; I didn’t want this basically free event to sap potential audience from the paid event next week, so I simply asked someone I know to bring along a crowd of their friends and they agreed. I also invited 4 friends, of whom 3 suggested they would try.

So, friendly audience assured!

So, with 2 hours to go, I find out that the rent-a-crowd have had a better offer and are not coming. Damn!

I checked with the 3 friends – 2 definitely not coming and one hopeful but not sure. OK, so that’s the borrowed room, two cameras, Lady Devotea and myself as definite,  plus one ‘possible’.

I decided to jump onto facebook and just put the call out to a local business group we are in, 2 hours beforehand.

Plenty of the respondents on there wished us well. Some made feeble excuses like “I’m 650 kilometres away”. But one couple said “It’s TEA: Let’s drop everything! We’re coming”.

So, we arrive at the venue, and of course I’ve forgotten a few things, but we can work round that. Well, rather, Lady D. worked round that, as I faffed about. I had of course carefully planned the presentation without much thought of practical things like “is there any sugar?”.

First drama – new camera fails to work. I am forced to go back to my spare, the tiny little Flip Camera that I have shot most of my videos on.

The we find out the “possible” has become a “not coming”.

So at this point, I check and it appears that 2 people are coming. We are due to start shooting in about 1 minute, but instead, we put the kettle on.

Sure enough, I pop my head outside and find Shirley and Steve wandering about looking for the carefully concealed door at the venue.

So, here we are. Lady D and I, and two ‘civilians’. Not tea shop owners, or relatives, or people we’ve drawn into our tea-infused world before, just people who like tea. That’s quite a unique substitute for our NYC audience. What about my repertoire of  “in jokes”? Highly unpredictable.

So we did the obvious thing and shared a cuppa. Of The Duchess. Actually, two.

Between them, Shirley and Steve run a computer business, and a bridal supply business. Like Lady D. and I, it’s all about doing what you enjoy. Like us, they have children in their 20s, which is of course a shared trauma as every parent of 20-somethings knows. Like us, their business takes them from the corporate boardroom to market stalls and everywhere in between.

And then it’s time. Well, about half an hour late, but there you go.

“It’s Time” was of course, the slogan that got the Whitlam Government elected in 1972 (as anyone who pays attention to my blogs and videos would remember from here) and my dad tells a story of turning up to hear Gough Whitlam speak at a function and there being only 4 people present. Whitlam’s response was to take the entire audience to dinner and charm them all.

So, on a smaller scale, we’ve provided biscuits and tea: time for the main event. Time to engage what charm I have.

It’s quite challenging to try to speak to a tiny camera when there are three people in the room, and not just look at them.

In a few hours I am going to review the footage. I have already heard Lady D. ‘s critique. She feels the first segment was a little dark and also my nervous tic, where I basically shut my eyes without being aware of it, is quite pronounced.  The second segment, she says, was wonderfully joyous. I guess I will find out more but I trust her judgement.

But to me, the great story here is that we left the venue more than an hour late. Why? We were having tea with Shirley and Steve. The 4 of us, drinking teas that will now be shipped direct to NYC and never created again.

We had a lot in common with our guests, but it was tea that bought us together.

Lady D held the event together whilst I tried my best to remember the objectives of the evening. I’ll find out soon if that part succeeded, but even if it didn’t, we had a great evening.

And lots of tea, in a roomful of tea lovers. Even in a large room, even with only four souls in that entire building at that time of night, a teapot and good company make a roomful.

7 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Civvies

  1. Tea really is the best social drink. Wine might have a chance at the title, but it often leads to embarrassment and crying fits. Tea simply leads to luminosity.

    I am insanely jealous, at any rate, of your being able to earn a living from tea. Once I get down perfect the instructions on “Making Your Own Voodoo Doll” on eHow down pat, prepare for some spiteful shin splints!

  2. Robert, are you feeling well? This was a touching story that actually warmed my heart. I wanted to hold your hand (and Mrs D’s) and sit down with you all together, drink tea and sing happy songs.
    “For auld lang syne” – Anyway, yes very nice post indeed. Can’t imagine for the life of me, why these “friends” wouldn’t show up. Disinherit any family members who didn’t make it, and stick with Tea Trade friends instead. For of course I can assure you, each and every one of us would have been there. Gladly!

  3. As the honored recipient of the video and tea in NYC, your description of the events unfolding is a great segue to the main event, meeting the master. The story of tea bringing people together, no matter how many or how few is always special.
    I am sure all will be fine, as it was exactly the way it was supposed to be and will be.
    Any appearance of Sir Devotea is priceless as he never leaves his wit and charm at home.
    Much thanks to Lady Devotea, Steve, Shirley and you Sir, for taking the time to add your video presence to the Annual White Spring Tea 2012.

  4. I love that this event is happening. You and Jo – What an amazing combo. The audience is unbelievably lucky. I cannot wait to hear more as the preparations continue.

  5. Hehe This totally struck a chord with me. Don’t stress about it too much. All performances take a few gos to perfect (I personally can’t watch any early videos from my band, I just die inside). Good luck man, I look forward to seeing it myself…

  6. A really nice story @thedevotea filled with emotion, suspense, surprises, laugh, drama…

    But a live blending session by the Australian blend master himself? I want to see that with my own eyes (why am I not in New York?).

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