You Can Lead a Horse to Tea

I’m coming up to 200 posts since I moved my blog to this location, and there have been a few clear themes.

It’s a tea blog, and every blog has been about tea, however peripherally, and this is no exception.

I have lambasted many an establishment or event for the sheer stupidity of not having loose leaf. Comments like “Why does a $20m hotel think a 2 cent teab*g is good enough”  and “cafes who serve teab*gs are liars, cheats, stupid or all three”.

I have a reputation to uphold. And so, when I get an invitation to anything, I wonder whether the tea will be good enough.

Here’s another theme: people who give me stuff. On two previous occasions people have given me stuff conditional on me blogging about it. On both occasions they did not get the blog they hoped for, to put it mildly. On one other, I was sufficiently impressed by the product to write a lovely blog about it.

So, an invitation came in the other day to attend Cavalia. The full VIP treatment. On the basis that I am loud mouthed and opinionated.

Lady Devotea and I had been planning to go, but I hadn’t got around to booking the tickets. And they would not have been such fancy tickets. So I said ‘yes’.

And then started to worry.

What if I loved the show but hated the tea? Awkward.

Now, I know no-one goes to Cavalia for the tea. And with good reason, as it turns out, and as I suspected. 20131023_210208

The rather artistic shot on the right is me reflected whilst using a large, shiny Birko urn. It was sadly filled with unfiltered Adelaide water, which is more toxic than plutonium slurry.

I was about to enjoy a cup of Fleurs de Provence, a highly suitable tea for a show with such French (OK, French Canadian) origins.

I’d love to say that particular tea was available there, but sadly there was just a pile of Lipton teab*gs there. I took the tea with me.

Yes, I had guessed, I had planned. But what does that say about me? That I so wanted to like this show that I avoided the one bit I was certain would disappoint.

Yes, indeed it says just that.

On offer was great beer, wine and champagne. I don’t drink that stuff. There was also a genuine iced tea: but full of sugar, so while it probably tasted good, I have made a commitment to myself and those I love to lose a serious amount of weight, so that was off my personal menu. The food was superb, and here’s something brilliant: the hot dishes had lists of ingredients. So someone with my allergies and my dietary requirements could make good choices. I had great food and a Pepsi Max. Caught up with some Twitter friends. Took photos and watched them scroll across the giant screen via Twitter – that was genius!

As a ‘Social Media VIP’ – I’m happy to hear that at any event that involves neither Hall & Oates nor Morris Dancing- myself and Lady D got to swan about in a special curtained off area that even rich folk who had paid quite a bit to come along had to wonder who we were to receive such lavish treatment. In a huge tent. I was starting to believe I was one of the old kings of yore, in a pavilion tent, set to battle on the morrow.

So, even before the show started, we were having a great time.

And then we saw the first half of the show. It was breathtaking. It was artistic and beautiful. There was one act that looked like a painting by Waterhouse, my favourite painter. If you’re not familiar, he was a pre-Raphaelite , so think beautiful women, long tresses, long dresses, medieval style, on horseback mooning about in the mist looking all Arthurian Era.


It seemed to have barely started when they called intermission. It was back to the VIP tent for desserts and another tea. And a a quick stop at the souvenir shop. They gave me a programme and I bought a fluffy toy horse.

The second act started.

The second act built on the first: it was faster in places, more intense.

At one point, head horse honcho Gregory Molina had a bunch of horses onstage with no tack, no ropes. He just made them do stuff. Not just stuff like running about, but moving this way and that, stepping in unison, changing direction, even pirouetting at one point. If he had instructed one of the horses to solve a quadratic equation, clean, oil and reassemble a Smith & Wesson .45 blindfolded or conjugate the Latin verb “fio” to the third person imperfect subjunctive it would have cheerfully done so.

And the riders! I used to enjoy watching the Olympic Dressage and Showjumping. Now I realise those people are just dull amateurs.

To concentrate on the horses is to ignore the acrobats: world class. Or the musicians, who could all be world renowned in their own right, but who instead haunt you from behind a screen all night. And you could argue all night about whether the set or score could be improved, and the answer is probably no.

The styling of costume and set is clever; it draws on the past and mixes elements of important horse cultures. I had read some reviewers who didn’t understand this, and who got confused with others who had done likewise, such as “Game of Thrones”.

It is not a show you can see just once. There are times when five or six things are happening at once. I plan to go at least once more.

After the event, we had a special backstage tour. We met the cast and crew. We met the horses. We drove home on a high, with our stuffed toy horse “Henry” on the dashboard, exhausted*.


For the first time ever, I understand what it’s like for other around me when I get on my high horse. At one point I thought to myself “Well, it wouldn’t have hurt them to offer a teapot and a few grams of a nice Darjeeling“.

And then I thought to myself ” Shut up, Robert”.

 *For the sake of clarity: WE were exhausted, not Henry the toy horse.

3 thoughts on “You Can Lead a Horse to Tea

  1. I am disappointed as I expected to read something about you making horses drink tea.
    But it seemed a really nice event (apart for the tea thing).

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