My mother and her cousin Louise recently came for a visit. They were ideal guests--never bored, good company, enthusiastic about my cooking, and perfectly happy to sit around drinking endless cups of tea and call it being entertained.
Louise, like many of my relations, is English. She lives in Brighton, well, in fact Hove Actually, and we visited her ourselves not long ago when we were done visiting London.
Like the rest of us, she's not especially patriotic, being endowed with your typical left-leaning intellectual skepticism about such things, but that doesn't mean her soul is utterly dead to national pride on matters of real importance. So, appropriately, she mocked me for buying my tea from France.
"French tea! The French don't know anything about tea! Coffee yes, tea no."
"I don't think that much of French coffee, actually," Steve offered.
"It's good tea though, isn't it?" I asked.
"But France! Tea should come from China, or India."
"I don't think anyone is suggesting that they grew the tea in France."
Anyway, it is awfully good, especially if like me you like all those Russian-influenced French teas with flowers and dried fruits mixed in. I order pounds at a time, to lessen the oof of international shipping. Then we drink it all in less time than you would think and I order some more. As a result, I am an official Théophile, which is to say a frequent buyer. In fact, the euro-spending threshold for Théophilia looks, I regret to report, comically low from here.
Well! you say. What a vice! Between that and the bricks of heroin, how do you manage to hold down a job?
To that I say, well, my mother has a special iPhone application for birdwatching.