Sitting here, I’m considering my commitment to blogging at least once a week. Throughout the week I collect ideas, some of which I jot down, some of which take off like wildfire and some of which I forget.
I could have skipped it, because last week I released two, one a poem on Beasts of Brewdom, which I now need to fix up.
Why? We’ll discuss that later.
Next week’s blog post will be an absolute ripper, as we say in Australia. But (a) I am waiting on contributions from others and (b) I’ve said that before.
So, as I sip my second tea for the day – a Lord Petersham to follow the Doke Rollin Thunder I had first up today, I consider the ideas I have for today’s blog.
Speaking of Lord Petersham, my first idea was to run a detailed keyword analysis to see if the fact that our tea was named after him made any difference to the level of interest in this basically forgotten Regency nobleman. Interestingly enough, Google groups together “Lord Petersham” with “Earl (of) Harrington” (his actual title once he acceded to it later in life) and the mysterious “Lord Stanhope” which mixes his title with his surname.
I found that as a percentage of the times searched, ‘Lord Petersham’ has gradually become a bigger percentage of the group. Which is exciting news, but not earth shattering. Not whole-blog-worthy.
So, I then considered my second idea: when does big become bad?
We’ve got the opportunity to snatch a little business from one of the truly massive tea companies – one of the top 3 in terms of revenue. If we were to win this business they would hardly notice, but it would be important to us.
It got me thinking: most tea companies start out small. And idealistic. Most stay that way or wither away. Some become moderately medium sized. Some grow quite successful and large. And some become behemoths.
In tea, most of the very large companies have several characteristics: poor tea, exploitation, commoditisation of tea into basically a delivery mechanism for tasteless stained water.
And my thought was: where is that point? Where does passion for tea become passion for profits?
A great idea for a blog, but I realised I actually don’t have an answer. If I find one, then I might blog on this at some stage.
And then, during the week whilst coming up with ideas, something very bad happened.
Our hosts, Tea Trade, were hit with several waves of Malware attacks, as well as significant spam attacks. And one of those attacks hit home.
Tea Trade is a site that means a lot to many people. At its heart are Jackie and Peter Davenport, who conceived it, built it and keep it going as a labour of love.
There’s always new sites, new technologies. Fads come and go. Users come and go. People I used to talk to via Tea Trade’s messenger I now just chat to on Facebook. Great tea bloggers no longer blog on tea.
But Tea Trade is there for us. For us, it hosts the satirical Beasts of Brewdom, it hosts the international hub that sends our customers to their local distributor, and it hosts this blog. A blog that has currently 263 posts over about five years. A blog that obviously means a great deal to me.
Over that time, we’ve visited Spain, and the UK and the USA, and on each occasion have met with firm friends we first met on Tea Trade. You know who you are. In fact, the whole Tea Trade community knows who they are.
What means even more is that on our American soujourn, we accepted an invitation to stay with Jackie and Pete. They threw open their home to Lady Devotea and myself: a scary thought if you’ve read me at my rantiest. We have many fine memories of the USA, but none more so than sitting at their kitchen table, talking all night in our refusal to admit that we might have to leave when the sun arose.
So, I’m going to end my thoughts here-ish. I have a fair bit of work in fixing problems with our sites, re-adding pictures that have been lost, realigning oddly arranged poems, all sorts. Work I’m going to do without complaint.
Sure, we could have moved our blog elsewhere. Many times it has seemed to make sense.
But nothing is more important than friends and community: Tea Trade is both.
Pete and Jackie are working tirelessly to bring Tea Trade back to full functionality – and it looks like they are almost there.
I ask all my readers to raise their teacup to Tea Trade, truly a pivotal touchstone in the building of our tea bloggers community, and to Jackie and Peter, pioneers and friends.