In all my music tours of the UK, my favorite part is always sitting down with my host (sometimes an overworked venue promoter and sometimes just a nice family who hosts a few house concerts a year) after a long drive and sharing "a cuppa." Usually I begin my UK trip wishing I'd asked for decaf, and I end each tour blissfully addicted. It's not just the tea itself. It's the ceremony, the tradition, the wait-patiently-and-ponder-while-it-steeps, and: the cups.
I won't pretend they were all charming, floral and vintage. Plenty were the classic white IKEA mugs. Clippers Earl Grey (shout out to my aristo friends!) in a perfectly trimmed garden by a stone cottage with a thatched roof with a murder mystery surrounding me (okay, maybe not that last part -- my imagination runs rampant).
Seeing as how my house has vinyl siding, and my hedge maze is still in infancy stages, I decided to create my own magic. My cups needed improving me. I love my Thing 1 and Thing 2 mugs, but they do not scream aristocracy -- or even peasant, really. They scream AMERICAN!.
A few weeks ago, I broke my don't-buy-anything-material-only-buy-dinner-and-plane-tickets rule, and I bought a teacup from Anthropologie. Granted, I talked myself out of the $288 dresses, but still, I bought a $6.95 (50%off!) teacup. I felt guilty immediately. Also, I cannot describe the immense pleasure it has brought me -- to slow down and pop a sugar cube and mix it with my tea with a tiny spoon.
Then it occurred to me that somewhere between my house and my mom's house, I actually had several vintage floral teacups -- the kind that no one is allowed to use because they used to be great-grandmother's or something. And I thought: what is the point? The point should be to slow down and drink tea, not to trap them in newspaper in a box in the basement. I haven't found the majority of the collection, but I was able to liberate a few. And don't they look wonderful??
Now excuse me while I put the kettle on...