Reality Check? No, Thanks!

I remember a joke told by the late comedian Dave Allen, in a TV show I watched in the 70s as a young teenager.

The story, possibly apocryphal, possibly not, is about the infamous “firebrand preacher” or ‘insane bigot who exhorted his followers to pile violence upon violence ” (depending on your viewpoint),  The Reverend Dr Ian Paisley.

The story goes that Paisley was thundering a lecture about The Day Of Judgement, and got to the point where he is quoting The Bible and screams “AND THERE WILL BE A GREAT WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH!!”.

And someone in the congregation yells out: “Reverend Paisley, I don’t have any teeth” .

To which the enraged preacher screams “TEETH WILL BE PROVIDED!”

It’s a great story; as it highlights the particularly human trait of ignoring the facts and making stuff up on the spot.

Many dreamers would not have got where they are without this deliberate ignoring of information, or refusal to acknowledge reality.

For example, when we owned a tea and coffee shop, we had to clean many coffee beans from the floor near the retail bench every day.

Given that Kopi Lowak, or coffee beans that have passed through the intestinal track of a civet, sells for an incredible amount, I had the idea of obtaining a civet and training it to eat up all the beans in the shop.

And would, you believe it, there were many naysayers who came up with all sorts of stupid reasons why this was a bad idea.

Such as:

  • It’s  against the law to have one of these in Australia without a permit that is only obtainable by zoos, and civets are almost impossible to obtain.
  • Customers may not take kindly to being bitten, scratched and lacerated by a vicious jungle cat whilst going about their business
  • Civets eat raw coffee “cherries”, not beans that are already roasted.
  • It would run outside every time the door was opened

I’m proud to say I don’t let any of that sway me., Now admittedly, I didn’t actually get a civet, but that was a simple choice I made when I realised how I would have to “harvest” the product.

Sometimes, slightly crazy ideas take a life of their own, and that is a good thing.

Yesterday, Lady Devotea and I, along with Devotea Junior and his partner were running about in the surf at Henley Beach in Adelaide, serving tea.

“What?”, you might ask?

“Is that just another of your far fetched stories?”, you further ask, arching your eyebrow and smiling sardonically

Well, here I am, looking like a giant, serving tea to the Mayor of Charles Sturt and other assorted bowler hatted people – there were about 150 in all.

Robert 2 - halved


This was all the idea of artist Andrew Baines, who has a bit of a thing about the surf and bowler hats.

It sounds like an impossibility, to get a bunch of people to stand in the sea in suits. Even more remarkable, a payment was required to take part.

The event raised money for Beyond Blue, a fantastic Australian organisation that support people with a mental illness.

It was great meeting Andrew, he is a lively and intelligent and seems to have a clear idea of what he wants.

I’m pretty sure he’d have a civet if he wanted one.

9 thoughts on “Reality Check? No, Thanks!

  1. Love the bowler hats and what a wonderful cause. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time. The question is why weren’t you wearing a bowler hat? I see you in a top hat.

  2. Brilliant. Not only the idea, but the execution, and the resulting pics too. Nice one on your store site too.
    You should offer signed copies of pics of you in a top hat, either for purchase, or as a note to accompany your tea orders. Just great Robert. And glad it raised good money too.

  3. What is it with Anglo-Saxons and their hats?
    And drinking tea in the sea with a strange hat? It sounds like one of those stories you can read in Asterix in Britain with the 5 o’clock hot water.

  4. A civet sounds like a nice attraction in a coffee&tea shop. And once people realize where the coffee has been, they might start drinking tea.

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