Monday, October 12, 2009

"Agreeable friends and slim concubines"

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Of course, most of us celebrated yesterday, but the long weekend continues until midnight tonight.

This year, our familes scattered across the province, leaving us peacefully at home to housesit and tend to the ancient cat and the newest addition, a pair of lovebirds. As usual, since we were close to downtown, we did too much, ending up this afternoon at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a serene, meditative series of gardens, pools, courtyards and galleries. Beautiful and calming; just what we needed.

There will be photos and a more complete report, later. For now, here's a thought from the Eight Treasures Gift Shop, found in the tea display (we bought three different flavours):

Text, in larger print:
From The Chinese Tea Reader Ch'a-Su

Suitable Moments for Drinking Tea
When we are interrupted while contemplating
During a good conversation deep into the night
When there is a light, soft drizzle
With agreeable friends and slim concubines
When the children are at school
In a bamboo grove on a spring evening
Under unusual rocks

Unsuitable Moments For Drinking Tea
At the theatre
While opening letters
When the children are not at school

To Be Avoided When Drinking Tea
Sullen servants
Bad waters
Money worries
Large gatherings

To Be Avoided At All Costs
Shrieking children
Squabbling women
Garrulous people
Noisy streets
A bit sexist (Squabbling women? Squabbling men are worse. And "slim concubines"? Is there not a male equivalent? Do we even want a male equivalent?) , but there it is.

Outrage is the fad of the day, it seems. In case that list left you deprived of it, here's another bit of wisdom from the tea display; it was one of the proverbs on the back of a description of various teas.
In vain would coffee boast an equal good,
The crystal stream transcends the flowing mud ...
In Motteux's defense, I might say that maybe they didn't make decent coffee back in the seventeen hundreds.

And now, I'll have a good, strong cup of flowing mud coffee, and head to bed. Goodnight, all!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, a bit sexist!

    We have a tea shop near where we have the condo in Marpole. Whenever I can get there, we try out a couple of new kinds ... teas like N. Americans have no idea of. The little lady that runs the shop always remembers us and remembers what we bought last, even though several months may have passed since we were last there. Sometimes, we even get a little more educated on the proper preparation and presentation of the true cuppa tea.


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