Sunday, 13 December 2009


On hearing that we were going to the UK for a few days, our friend Amilcar, a bass in my choir, asked if we could bring him back a tea cosy. 18 months ago we took the choir on tour to England. Amilcar had seen tea cosies at the house of his B & B hosts and had decided he wanted one.

Besides being a bass in my choir he's a market gardener. He has various fruit and vegetable plots around his village, a little place hidden in the mountains a mile or two to the north of us. Occasionally he takes an after-lunch pot of tea outside on to his terrace and he likes to keep it warm for as long as possible. A tea cosy would provide the solution.

You wouldn't have thought there was any problem with keeping things warm outside in the south of France, but then the French have never cottoned on to using boiling water to make tea. They rarely have kettles and instead use an open saucepan to warm water, which is often deemed to be hot enough as soon as the first tiny bubbles wink on the base of the pan. It's useless to remonstrate.

We promised to do our best. We found a very nice knitted one, which we gave him when we came back. He was delighted.

He is his own man, a person of great charm and individual appearance, and I think he may be of Phoenician descent.

Somebody defined curiosity - or was it eccentricity? - as that force which compels a man confronted with an otherwise unused tea cosy to try it on his head.



Rog said...

It's the definition of an intellectual - someone who DOESN'T try on a tea cosy when alone in a room with one.

As the photographer was there when he tried it on, it's obvious Amilcar IS an intellectual.

Christopher said...

Rog, thank you. Yes, I remember now. In fact there were 9 other people in the room on this occasion. Does intellectuality increase commensurately with tea cosy witnesses? Could SATS, university degrees etc. be abandoned in favour of system involving tea cosies?

Amilcar is certainly no slouch intellectually. However he found no solution to the problem of unobstructed vision when putting his ears through the tea cosy spout and handle holes.

Rog said...

He's doing an excellent impression of Frank Zappa anyway.

Z said...

A saucepan to heat water? I'm shocked and appalled. The tea would taste unpleasant even if the water had boiled. When we have a power cut, I'd rather go without tea than have water boiled in a saucepan.

Dave said...

Boiling water is boiling water. Whilst camping I've boiled it in many interesting containers. Including pans.

Z said...

Try it, Dave. Make one mug tea with water from the kettle and one with water from a saucepan and compare them.

I, Like The View said...

I gave Dave a tea cosy the other day. . .

. . .(I don't think he appreciated it)

how about this one for you, Christopher, perfect for an expat diamond in the rough! (or this one even?)

Christopher said...

So sorry I haven't been here all day to chair this discussion - I've conducting on the Mediterranean shore (well, in a church by the sea) where Amilcar forewent his tea cosy but caused a bit of a stir by going missing shortly before kick-off in search of whatever substance it is, no one knows, he has to eat before singing - but had I been there I would have noted the following points:

1. Can't have Z feeling shocked and appalled

2. Impressed by Dave's existentialism e.g. what is, is, but do agree with Z about varying tastes of water

3. Thanks,I,LTV (oh! that comma!) for some in-depth tea cosy research.

3.1 Could Z in her ample free time please discover a Greek term for a tea cosy to add appropriately to -ology or -ophile or to follow mis- etc.?

3.2 Could I,LTV (look, could I call you I, please? It would save so much time and temper) not find a tricolour tea cosy for Amilcar, or even one in Phoenician colours?

4. Rog: yes, I see the F.Zappa resemblance. Is there also something of Obelix too?

Ted said...

Frank Zappa is way off the mark. The chap you are looking for is Vlad Te(a)pes. Transylvania Boogie!

Christopher said...

Hi Ted, and welcome!

Yes, a stunning likeness. Thank you.

Vlad's tea cosy, though...more ostentation than insulation, I'd say. Not certain that you'd ever get a really hot cup of tea round at Vlad's pad.