Tea and Mr. Gill
A few years ago, a very old man came to my office asking for help… his wife Yollanda of 62 years had just past away and he needed help to sort her financial affairs… I remember him standing in front of me, a tall and handsome 82 year old man, and all I could see was infinite sadness in his blue eyes, completely broken emotionally. At the time, financial advice was the only help he requested, but it quickly turned into much more than that…
I became his financial advisor… money was not a problem for him, he had been in his prime a successful business man. Unable to have children, him and his wife had nieces and nephews to pass their wealth to. There was one in particular he was very fond of, Mary, but she lived in the states and he would see her only once a year. Basically, he was a lonely man.
What’s the relation with tea you are asking? Well, Mr. Gill being lonely started to find reasons to schedule appointments every weeks. It didn’t take long for me to realize that what he was really seeking was someone to talk to about his dear wife…
She had been the love of his life, and it was obvious he had been struggling everyday since she was gone. One day, after our conversation, I realized I was getting quite fond of this old man and made an offer he could not refuse: Instead of finding reasons to come and see me at the office, why wouldn’t he just join me for lunch once a week?
And so we became friends and every thursday for almost three years, we would meet for lunch at a local restaurant. He once told me I was the highlight of his weeks! The thing is we had such a connexion that the gap of generation slowly disappeared. Our conversations were sometimes intellectual but sometimes, they were just fun and foolish! I never took him for less because of his age, and he never patronized me for being younger.
One day, he didn’t show up as planed. I got worried and called his house. He was sick with the flu and didn’t sound to good. I bought some soup and brought it over. It was the fist time I ever went to his place. I remember thinking that for a man of his age living alone, he was pretty neet!After thanking me as if I was god’s given gift, he asked if I wanted some tea. I realized that we had never really discussed tea together!
I had no clue what kind of tea he was keeping around, thinking tea bags most probably. He showed me where the tea set was. There was a lovely wooden cabinet on one corner of the kitchen I had noticed. On the shelves, there were the most exquisite china bone collectable tea cup sets. They were Royal Albert for most. He told me some of them dated from the time he got married!
He explained to me that being from England, his wife was an accomplished tea drinker and they used to share a good cup together on a daily basis. His wife’s favorite tea was black rose tea. She was having it shipped directly from England every couple of months. He still had a large supply of that tea and kindly offered me to try it. I don’t remember the brand’s name, but the tin was black with pretty rose buds painted on it. The tea inside still smelled quite fresh. He ask me to pick one of the tea cup on display, I chose the Royal Albert with the pretty pink flowers, him the Aynsley yellow set. And we drank our rose tea in our vintage bone china!
It was super tasty and rose tea quickly became among my favorite teas.
When I left his house, I remember telling him that his wife had exquisite tastes and how privileged I felt that he chose to honour her memory in my company by sharing her favorite tea with me.
Sadly, his flu turned into a complex pneumonia. I went to visit him twice at the hospital and the last conversation I had with him was about that lovely lunch we shared together having Yollanda’s beloved rose tea.
He died a couple of weeks after…
About a month later, I had a visitor at work. Mary! The favorite niece! She brought me a box…said her uncle insisted that I should be given what was inside. We talked a little, she thanked me for looking after her uncle. I mentioned to her how special Mr. Gill was to me and how much I would miss him and our lunch dates.
I brought the box home that night, still not knowing what was inside. Mr. Gill had once brought up the fact that he intended on leaving me some money when he would pass. I had to explain to him that it would be highly unethical for me to accept, but mostly, it would put a shadow on the true meaning of our relationship. He understood and never brought it up again.
So I have to admit I was curious about what was inside…
What I found brought tears to my eyes, but also a smile on my face… The vintage china! He remembered the cups we used that day and wanted me to have them! To this day, they have a special display in my house, and I use them on a regular basis. In his own way, Mr. Gill made sure I would never forget him and his dear love Yollanda!
You may have a look at them here:
Now this tea:
Sorry for such a long story, and such a short review, but I felt only that story could truly explain why I love rose tea so much!
It’s one of those tea you either love or hate. Yes it’s typically rosy and soapy! I happen to love that smell, it’s an exquisite feminine tea, with plenty of almost too perfect pretty rose buds.
When I drink it, I see lace and pearls dancing all around me!
It tastes exactly what it smells like, floral, sweet and elegant! The black base is from Sri Lanka, it’s very tasty with just a tad of bitterness.
I will not pretend it’s the most refine tea you’ll ever drink, that’s not why I like it so much. I like it cause it makes me happy, that’s all. It reminds me of happy times.
Thank you Mr. Gill…