Thursday, December 26, 2013

Real Tweeting and Tea

As the end of the year approaches, I look back at some of the newer things that have entered our lives and wondered how they hold up to the principles of the 'Neo-Victorian'.

This year, we went bird watching for the first time and have replaced coffee drinking with tea.   
 Bird watching?! "What has happened to me?", I wondered.

Of course humans have been bird watching since the beginning of time but it was not until the
Victorian era that a systematic and detailed method of birding arrived.  Darwin's theories of the
species was one, major reason for the enthusiasm.

As birding grew as a Victorian era hobby, groups like The British Ornithology Union and
The Audubon Society started.  Some of their causes included ending wanton hunting of wild birds as well as ending the practice of using rare bird feathers (and birds) to make fashionable ladies' hats.

The Victorians were not as lucky as we are today with modern technology and we enjoyed using small, high-powered binoculars while driving through a few of the newly created wetlands around Northern California. 

You wouldn't think bird watching is terrible interesting. But it is terribly interesting!

What makes that so?  For me, it was the wide variety of beautiful plummage and the harmonious way
birds fly in mass unison through the sky.  There is also something serene and calming in viewing them in the wild.  It's a feeling I never get when I'm staring at an electronic screen.

The holidays have been great and we received many fine gifts from friends and family.  We received an amazing tea set (and Numi teabags) from our creative, foster daughter after mentioning a few months ago that we were no longer drinking coffee. 

According to, "Afternoon tea was created by Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840 as a way to quell the inevitable hunger pangs between lunch and dinner This ritual became so popular among affluent classes that it  became one of the mainstays of the British way of life."

"As the tea tradition expanded from the Victorian elite to the working class,
the High Tea was developed. High Tea was a combination of afternoon tea and the evening supper;
the tradition soon became the main meal for many. The name comes from the fact that the tea was taken at
the high time of day, four to five o’clock and it was enjoyed from high stools in the tea shops or standing; at a corner stall, a buffet table or a counter."

"The tradition of drinking tea in the presence of company is one of the oldest sustenance rituals. "

So in true neo-Victorian fashion, we held our first techno-social-teaparty with our wonderful friend, who lives and works in Germany, via Skype.  The conversation was wonderful and I enjoyed cradling the artfully made cup while sipping the warm tea while the fireplace flickered behind me.  Time slowed down for awhile as we basked in the mixture of old and new rituals. The goals are still the same.  Connection....real connection and the promise of mutually inspiring each other to think of new ways of seeing the world.

I can't help wondering if all the art on the walls (courtesy of my sister) and the re-emergence of this old Victorian house has made us look at the world through the eyes of the Victorians.  It certainly feels healthier and more meaningful to slow things down, breathe in natural wonders and re-stoke the fires of human connection while the rest of the world seems bent on creating a world where all you need is an Ipad.

Spend a weekend birdwatching and having tea with a friend and your world might change overnight.

Happy New Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment