Boulder Falls into Iced Tea

September 18th, 2012

I don’t do a lot of ‘promotion’ on my blog because that is not what my blog is about. Its more about my observations, that are sporadic at best, on the oddities that life throws up and my take on them. So please forgive this particular blog as it is not intended to sell tea, rather to show how a simple walk on a Sunday morning with my youngest son resulted in a couple of pictures that a major ad agency would charge a fortune for. I had the tea with me to refresh us on our walk, and as we approached the Boulder Falls the idea occurred to me to take a shot of the tea with the falls in the background. Viola….brilliant! I had the idea that I should take a bottle of tea with me everywhere and then take pics, a kind of travelling road show with the bottle as the star. Boulder Falls & some Iced Tea

But then I thought that this really might be too much of a “promo”..what are your thoughts dear reader? Let me know…Should I? Shouldn’t I?

Green Pastures

September 7th, 2012
Green Pastures by CooperTeaMaster
Green Pastures, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

I love the odd and unusual aspects of everyday life. For instance, there I was looking out of my hotel window in some nameless city in Europe and I spied a sheep grazing on a roof top. It looked a pretty small pasture for a single sheep and it didn’t appear to be doing a good job of keeping the grass down to a cropped level, which would be the prime reason for a grazing sheep.

Then of course I noted that it wasn’t moving (duh!) Was it a work of art? A piece of whimsy? A good place to store a stage prop? Someone’s favorite pet celebrating the art of taxidermy? Who knows….suffice to say it gave me a chuckle and laughter keeps you young. More whimsy please.

A road trip gone awry

July 26th, 2012
Porche & Jag EType by CooperTeaMaster
Porche & Jag EType, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

In the 60’s and 70’s When I was a young man I would gaze enviously at the sports cars of the day thinking to myself…”I will never own anything like that..!” It did not occur to me at the time that as I aged, so did the cars!! And in 2000’s it would be possible to own a 1971 car (IF you were prepared to put up with the repair bills!)

A few years ago I purchased from a friend probably one of the world’s most favored sports cars..the famous Jaguar E type. What a magnificent design, what flair, what style, what a large number of cylinders (12 in all).

So when a friend who owned a 1957 Porsche asked if I was interested in a road trip into the Colorado back country and the mountains I said “Yes” and off we set. All was well for the first two days, then on a dirt road in the back country my elegant E type said “Enough” and stopped working.

The pictures tell the story…it turns out the electric leads to the fuel pump were shaken loose over some ill advised rough roads we took…Note to self “On the next road trip in the Jag stick to the tarmac”

The Porsche made it back to Boulder with a passenger. The Jag sits in a mountain town awaiting my return to pick her up. The next road trip I think I will take my 1960 Morgan…slower, but simpler, but equally as stylish in its own way.

A quick relationship

July 20th, 2012
Kiki & Jessie by CooperTeaMaster
Kiki & Jessie, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

If you did not laugh at the idiocies that life bring to your door then life would be miserable indeed. Kiki (a version of Kidogo which is Swahili for “small”) is a Chihuahua male, who moves fast. Jessie is a large Lab cross who has fallen in love with Kiki and likes to chase him so that he will pay attention to her. Kiki has a dazzling rate of speed and a racer’s turn, Jessie has passion on her side…so she keeps up….a glorious shot of true love in action…..

When is a rare fish not a rare fish?

March 7th, 2012
Barrys Rare Fish by CooperTeaMaster
Barrys Rare Fish, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

The Hog fish cannot be caught. It can only be hunted and speared. This makes it a very difficult fish to enjoy as not many brought to the table. It not a rare fish but it is a rare fish to eat because of this. It is also an EXTREMELY GOOD fish to eat. It is tender, sweet, firm and not dry. It looks like a HOG…look at that snout!! So when one of my favorite restaurants (The Clam House in Palmetto) announced that they had a large Hog fish available I bought the whole thing.
Eight of us showed up to enjoy the feast which was probably a bit too many people but who cared..we all got to get a taste of this rare dish…I freely admit that I am a “Foodie”…but there are worst things in life to be. I think I have mentioned before that If you make your living tasting things, then why not taste as many things as you can. Life is for living after all.
Thank you Mr. Hog Fish. You made my evening, and it would appear Capt. Bob’s as well, he is my friend clutching the tail end of the Hog!

The Passing of a Friend

March 1st, 2012
Noble Flemming by CooperTeaMaster
Noble Flemming, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

Anyone who can go through life with the first name of “Noble” deserves respect. To go through life with “Fearnley Hutchinson Fleming” as your other names deservers more than respect it deserves awe!! To make life easier on the rest of us N.F.H. Fleming acquired the nickname “Toby” because of his love of “Toby Jugs”, those unique English drinking vessels. It stuck with him.

Toby was an awesome figure in my life and I dedicated my book to him and the influence he had in my life. He had a wonderful dry wit, and a gentlemanly demeanor but when required he had an eye that could freeze a waiter at sixty paces. He hired me in London in 1970 to come and join Lipton in the US. No sooner had I arrived then he suggest that I get my hair cut, as he gently put it “I don’t think you are a hippy Barry, so I don’t want you to look like one”…mind you , my hair barely touched the back of my collar…but I dutifully went off and had a haircut. He was a wonderful mentor, a skilled tea man and a gentle manager who lead his team of tea buyers with aplomb. My favorite story that I told many times was of a lazy, warm summers day. It was a Friday to be precise because that was the day that all of us tea buyers had to troop into Toby’s office, sit in a semi circle in front of his desk and discuss the buying orders we were about to send out to the various auction centers around the world. There were three of us…Richard, Tony, Me. Tony was discussing the orders he planned to place in the Cochin market when all of a sudden there came a gentle snore from Toby’s side of the desk. He had fallen asleep! Tony was at a loss and stopped talking and we just sat there waiting for the great man to awake. Toby had about a five minute nap then awoke with a slight start and without a moment’s hesitation said ” Quite So…yes…sounds good…whose next” It was my turn and without blinking an eye I gave my report and we all filed out.

Such style, such aplomb, such a character. He changed the world of tea and not many people can say that.

I flew over to Paris for Toby’s 90th birthday…and that is the picture above. Toby passed away this week.

I loved you Toby…I will miss you greatly.

Innovative Advert

February 24th, 2012
InnovativeAdvert by CooperTeaMaster
InnovativeAdvert, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

I have always admired innovative advertising so I got a real chuckle out of a pest company and their attempt to be noticed. The little yellow car in the picture has a long black tail that sticks up in the air but what really gets your attention are the two large black ears that pop up every time the car stops. It was hysterical, I followed the car for a couple of lights and got a good laugh at every stop light.

Getting noticed in business is a key to success and reaching the point where the public in general recognize your brand is a good place to be…I certainly try and do this with my tea. I did not overtake the yellow car so I did not read the name of the company on its side doors (I had to turn to the right to continue my journey) but the next time I see an ad with two mouse ears….I will know what their business is all about..!!

Chaotic Boot Place; Extraordinary Mates

February 8th, 2012
Barrys Boots by CooperTeaMaster
Barrys Boots, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

Years ago I read a book called “Makes of Distinction”. The book dealt with those skilled in the arts of hand making expensive things. Such as shoes ..Lobbs of London or Berlutti of Paris. Or hats …Lockes of London was a name I remember and I suppose it is now Prada of Rome? Anyway to this list of august makers of distinction we can add the name “Rocky of Houston”.

Rocky is a bootmaker.

Rocky & Me

Not an ordinary boot maker but a cowboy-boot maker who has crafted boots for a long line of Presidents. Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes have all had their cowboy boots made by Rocky. Rocky has flown on Air force One and attended a number of Presidential inaugurations as a guest of Bush Sr. and then Bush Jr.

On every occasion a President asked for a boot to be made Rocky would make a duplicate and here I am holding the duplicate made of Bush Juniors second term and you and clearly see the Presidential seal on the front of the boot. Rockys place is chaotic. Actually that is not a fair description. It is beyond chaotic, it is boot mayhem! But you don’t go to Rockys by accident, you have to know someone who can introduce you. My old rugby days in Texas produced many long lasting friendships and it only took one phone call to an old friend to lead me to Rockys place. To own a pair of Rockys boots is to stand tall.

I have ordered a pair…

Not Change a Moment of My Life

January 18th, 2012

Late last year I made the second of two round the world trips looking at the tea gardens and checking up things generally. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Actually being on the estates, breathing that wonderful fresh air, touching the tea and talking about the forthcoming crops and quality we can expect really is fun. The travel …UGH!!..the jet lag…really UGH.!! In more refined times it took 3 weeks to get out “East” on a ’steamer’ that chugged its way across the ocean. Now you lock yourself into a long metal tube. Fasten a seat belt and 17 hours later you are among the tea bushes with an old friend that you have known for more than 40 years….I would not change a moment of my life, the good, the bad and the ugly is all a part of my life. But on reflection, if there was one element I could ADD to, it would be spending more time among the tea bushes and on the tea estates. I just love that part of the business. So even after a 17 hour flight I still look pretty happy…………..

A Holy Difference

December 25th, 2011
A Holy Difference by CooperTeaMaster
A Holy Difference, a photo by CooperTeaMaster on Flickr.

I have always believed you should never take life too seriously and when faced with a “downside moment” take the opportunity to laugh at life in general and the occasional ridiculousness of it all. Put another way…the glass is always half full….

I was raised in the highlands of Kenya, at 5,500 feet above sea level on the equator. Add those pieces of information together and you get the earths nearest point to the sun, a lot of sun, and a lot of time out in the sun.

Skin cancer comes in many forms…I was lucky to have a mild form…and the fact that it was near the end of my nose and the resulting pressure bandage make me look like Rudolph (I should have colored it red) is a chance to laugh at the other immaculate imagery of my bronze sculptor…..

Laugh at life and others will laugh with you…cry and you cry alone….

I am all for laughing ……but skin cancer is no laughing matter so if you have an unexplained bump or lump get it checked out……its worth the time even if you do end up looking like a lost reindeer….