I’ve always wanted an English Tea Set… I think it stems back to childhood and going to my Nan’s house. She was a very traditional Nan in the sense that she was always kind but outspoken in the sense that she believed in fairness. She believed in fostering relationships, looking after her family, putting others needs first and that material wealth came after all of that. She believed in saving and being honest. Her values were high and for a woman who was just under five foot her lack of height was compensated with strength of character. Whenever we visited we were never short of a board game to play, colouring books to colour in or a slice of her home-baked cake. She would serve the grandchildren pop, juice or a hot drink – it was always our choice. I loved her dearly and miss visiting her so much. Her welcoming presence, her love of children and I enjoyed seeing what posh “frock” she would be wearing that day. Always stylish, colour co-ordinated with pretty jewellery. She was a lady.
She always laid her table out. She had a tea-pot, a coffee pot, milk jug, sugar jar, fancy spoons, cups and saucers. She taught us how to pour our tea, how to have table manners and how to pour milk in after the hot liquid. She tutted if we did it any other way. That table and it’s treats is a fond childhood memory. A tea set feels so traditionally English and as I’ve grown older I’ve noticed that it’s something that we’ve lost in life. These days it’s boil the kettle, line up the chunky mugs and throw into the mugs a tea bag.
I thought about my childhood memory and how my own daughter is missing out. Wouldn’t it be lovely to re-capture a real traditional tea party? Not in plastic children’s tea sets or in chunky mugs. I therefore decided that I would like a vintage bone china tea-set. Therefore it was with delight when a friend told me that he and his wife were selling one but I had to act quickly and pick up straight away. So straight in the car I travelled to pick up the tea-set. However with speed comes disorganisation. When I got there he didn’t have any newspaper to wrap the fine bone china which consisted of side plates, cups, saucers, a cake plate, sugar bowl and milk jug. It was lacking a tea-pot so I’m still on the hunt for one of those. But I felt elated. My first purchase of fine bone china – something that looks pretty, can be used for a fancy tea party and a treasure. A treasure in the sense that it is something that holds its value and can even increase in value over time. I paid the money and helped him place each piece into a box. I would drive carefully.
When I say drive carefully. I hadn’t anticipated just how careful I would need to drive. From the moment I left the drive I noticed every bump in the road. The tea set rattling in the box, every pot hole placing my heart in my mouth as it appeared to be jumping. I was convinced that I would arrive home from the five-mile trip to a broken tea-set. I drive a Fiat Punto so I’m used to not having a luxury drive but I’d never considered just how bad and uneven the roads are. I’ve never really complained about paying my road tax. Never complained until the day that I had to drive a car on pot hole ridden roads with a vintage tea set. It was an eye opener to how bad the roads actually are and made me think about the damage over time on our cars.
Needless to say, I did drive my car very slowly and I did get the tea-set home in one piece. But I did have to hold a lot of traffic up and other road users were overtaking me. The irony being that I have a pink love-heart sticker on the back of my car for other road users to see and it boldly states. Miss DIY – Desirable, intelligent and Yummy. It was a relief when I did hit a small traffic jam and I therefore had an excuse to crawl my car along.
As I sip a cup of tea out of my delicate little cup complete with saucer. I can contemplate on the state of the roads and will be more prepared with newspaper for when I find and have to pick up a vintage tea-pot.