I picked it up yesterday:the flowered teapot,part of a set of blue cornflower cups and saucers and cooking ware and plates .Once a full set ,brought out on special days like birthdays and feast days and of course Christmas .The tea set has suffered the most from breakages and there is only the teapot and one cup and saucer surviving.
How old ? Must be at least 75 by my calculations -given to my mother I suppose as part of her trousseau when she married.The set ( a full quota of plates and a few serving dishes still remain) has journeyed between Tanzania,England and South Africa and finally came to rest in South Fremantle.
The tea has stained the inside rim of the pot ,and all around the top .Inside its hard to remove the tannin .How many pots of tea have been made in how many dining rooms and kitchens ? I remember mum’s formula:”warm the pot ,put in 3 spoons tea, and one for the pot ,pour in the boiling water,leave for 2 minutes before pouring.”So many times she corrected me when I made a cuppa ,or pulled a face as she sipped a cup I made incorrectly.
I think of my mother as I make this pot of tea .All the good things now -the tea parties and sandwiches and cakes ,the well made cups of tea ,not slopped together like mine .The enjoyment of having people around drinking the tea and talking ,the insistence of tables laid correctly on the starched and ironed white tablecloth.Side plates and cake forks ,and the teacups beside in their matching saucers.Small jug of milk and the sugar bowl. Carefully cut sandwiches arranged tidily on pretty glass platters and small, delicate iced cakes ,perfectly risen, resting there enticingly. Guests seated .The piece de resistance, the teapot ,brought to the table and my mother pours.
A beautiful teapot ,pretty and soft, shaped for an easy hold and created to withstand all the moves and rough handling.A survivor .Perhaps a bit of a picture of a life aspired to ,a life of genteelness and politeness ,but also of being hospitable and kind to others.I’ve brought that teapot out from storage.
This teapot is also a song to a life of holding ones own,holding together no matter what.Regardless of changing circumstances. This,asserts my mother, is my life :A rounded white teapot with tiny blue cornflowers .Vale Mum