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For my sins* I had to get a new mobile phone, which ended up requiring two trips to the city centre.

The first time I went into a wonderful tea shop which opened here a bit before Christmas.  (I will happily purchase and post anything to anyone on my flist, so check it out!)  They always have a big container of brewed tea and offer you a cup - not always that great, but this one - Thé des Concubines - was really nice  (heavier on the cherry than the vanilla or mango).  So I got a bag of it as well as the Grand Jasmin Monkey King I'd gone in for and was chatting to the woman as paying.  Then the other person working in the shop came out carrying a tray with a big glass teapot, two unmatched tea cups -  here's the one I loved - and a snazzy little timer.  He brought it over to behind the till and told the woman it was white tea.  When I asked if it was the really expensive one - about which I knew because we'd looked at white teas for present for [ profile] steepholm and decided that was a LOT to pay - he said it was and I was invited to wait the three minutes' remaining brewing time and try it.  (For the sake of other white tea drinkers, I was surprised that it was being steeped that long - but apparently he was giving it about 8 minutes at between 75 and 80°.)  The tea wasn't my favourite white tea ever, but it was extraordinary how smooth it was - and how well you could understand smoothness as a quality of tea just from drinking it.  It wasn't just being invited to share in this little ceremony that was so fabulous, but the care and pleasure with which the two of them approached a tea break.

Next day I'd to go back in for the actual buying of the mobile, and was in the Meteor shop for a while, being signed up and all by the manager.  An older woman had come in for help with her phone and started trying to push a €50 note on the young guy who'd been helping her.  He was quite embarrassed and repeatedly said he couldn't take it, didn't need it, was happy to have helped her - ending up finally by shoving it in her bag (inevitably, one of those big wheeled trolley bags).  At that point the manager stepped in to help out and went through the whole 'he's happy to help, he really can't take the money, I'm the boss, no really, you don't need to give him money' routine.  By then, the security guard, two other people who worked in the shop and I were all cracking up - the woman was laughing too, but not giving up at all.  The manager - still laughing but starting to look a little bit desperate - switched tacks and said if she really, really wanted to give him something she could get him a box of sweets.  Woman looked all pleased at the idea for a bit, and after repeating three or four times that he liked sweets, the manager indicated the young woman who worked there, saying she was a bit stuck on said Seán  At which the woman turned to her eagerly - and pressed the money on her.  We then had the whole thing all over again as the manager tried to get her to take a second alternative and get him a lottery ticket.  (I found out afterwards this was because the woman had accused the manager of suggesting a box of chocolates because he planned to eat half of them himself.) After a few 'would he like that?' questions were answered in the affirmative - 'especially if he won'- she apparently accused the manager of suggesting that because he'd demand half the money were it to be a winning ticket.  The manager retained every bit of his good humour and pointed out that he wouldn't see Seán for the dust if he won the lottery.  And after a few more assurances that her offer of cash wasn't necessary and far more valiant offers of help should she ever have another problem, she finally took herself off - almost leaving her mobile on the shop counter in the process.  My admiration for the patience and tolerance of everyone in the shop was pretty damn high.

I do love living here.

-- -- -- --

* Sins in question are those of impatience and frustration with the latest round of coaching my mother through (re)learning to use her mobile.  What goes around does come around sometimes...


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