It was a cold and miserable day in London last Monday (no big surprises there - it is February) so walking Jimmy, my beloved terrier, was a little bit more of an effort than usual. It's not helped by the fact that as he gets older - he's around 16 - he gets more reluctant to go out in the rain himself. Anyway, on arriving home, damp and ever-so-slightly gloomy, I discovered a parcel left by the postman. It had come from Australia so I knew it had to be the tea that The Likkle Girl who Wurves Pwetty Things had promised to send me. But I was expecting a few tea bags and this was a not inconsiderable parcel. What could be inside?
Firstly, I discovered a card, and then a parcel wrapped simply and beautifully. And inside that parcel was a selection of three different teas: the Japanese green tea that she had told me was her favourite; a zip-lock bag full of Chrysanthemum tea - something I love but have never seen in London; and a gorgeous little tin full of pouches of Oolong. The Oolong pouches are such a clever idea: each one contains enough for a serving which can, of course, be infused a number of times. As I was heading over to Berlin a couple of days later, and was busy until then, I didn't get a chance to try anything except the green tea. We had had a discussion about how much of a tea-snob I was as Likkle Girl was concerned I wouldn't like the tea as it came in a teabag. And although I must admit I never buy bags myself anymore she needn't have worried: the green tea was lovely. A classic Sencha style tea with a fruity, grassy flavour, it reminded me that good tea is good tea, whatever receptacle it comes in.
One of the nicest things about all of this, aside from receiving lovely gifts in the post from the other side of the world, is the knowledge that I have made another new friend in the blogosphere. When people talk about the internet causing the break-down of communities and social isolation I have to say that my experience since I began writing this blog has been the complete opposite. I have met some lovely people, both virtually and in person and have found a community of like-minded people who care about cycling, good food, design and, of course, tea. They may not all be near enough for me to meet up with them on a regular basis, but I like to think that if my travels take me to some of the places where my new friends live we'd get together for a pot of tea and perhaps a slice of cake. And if that's not something positive, I don't know what is.