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.