'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A nice cuppa.

When I sent out the invitations to my daughter's 21st 'Luncheon' party, I was fairly sure quite a number wouldn't be able to make it (although I hoped they would). So I did send out a quite lot of invitations. Now it seems that rather a lot of those are coming after all. Which is great. But means my one teapot will not suffice.

So I went op-shopping. Op = 'Opportunity' shop, goodwill stores, second-hand shops, charity shops, they go under a number of names.

And I found, hidden under layers of fat and grime, for less than four dollars each, four teapots. Two stainless steel, and two ceramic. Sorry no 'before' pictures, you'll just have to believe me. They didn't seem to be even worth their price sticker.

I've cleaned and scrubbed and polished them to within an inch of their lives, and look at these gleaming darlings now. One of the stainless steel pots had been cleaned with steelo pads and was very badly scratched, but has still come up very well with 'Polaris' reviver.

They pour beautifully - I checked before I bought - and I'm really looking forward to getting them out at the end of the party and pouring nice cups of tea for all those who want one.
Actually the white one will do for coffee, and one of the stainless ones for water, if required.

Whenever I think of cups of tea, I always think of this little song from my 1960 LP of Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle", which, I think was narrated beautifully by Vivian Leigh - using an English accent, no less!
I don't know who sang the songs, but, like things do when you grew up with them, it's a sound of my childhood that I remember so well. And this one had the added bonus of teaching me how to make a good cuppa. Later, my children's Great Great Auntie Eva, who worked for a tea-importer's company in London after(? - or before) the war, told me you should always put the milk in the cup first, or the heat of the hot tea will scald the milk and change the taste. And I suppose she would know, because the tea had to be made 'just so' for the blending men.

Anyway. here's that song, as well as I can remember it.

A Cup of Tea.

One for each person,
One for the pot.
Pour on the water,
Boiling hot.
Let it brew,
A stir or two,
A steaming cup,
Fill it up,
A couple of sips to wet* your lips -
Ah! What a delicious thing to do!

There is nothing in the world that's nicer
I will happily guarantee
Than a real, hot, strong, cup of tea!


*It wasn't this word, it was something like 'smacker-yer', but I could never hear it properly.


  1. Well done! I also like op-shops, - and good luck with the party. Kirsten

  2. My oh my - your beloved daughter is going to be having a wild, wild birthday celebration with all that tea! Let's hope the Tauranga cops don't get wind of it!

  3. Thank you Kirsten.

    YP. To reassure N, in case she has read your comment, I have plenty of coffee-making equipment too!

    Joking aside, there will be plenty of wine and beer, other alcoholic beverages and a non-alcoholic punch. I need that many teapots for the older guests. I have about 35 people coming at last count. Don't know where they are all going to go as it looks like rain! It's going to be very cosy inside!

  4. PS, actually the young ones don't drink and drive (like er... we used to do). And I know they are all going back to Hamilton to have a flat party there in the evening, so they can just stay put. Very sensible crowd.

  5. katherine
    that brown one would look lovely in my kitchen x

  6. There's nothing better than "a nice cuppa", except maybe " a nice cuppa and a biscuit".
    Have a great day!

  7. John - It IS lovely, isn't it? Not a true 'Brown Betty' but close enough.

    Brian - do you dunk?

  8. They certainly look smart now. I've never been too keen on metal teapots because the tea goes cold so quickly unless you have a good tea-cosy. Mind you I like my tea fresh, black and weak which no self-respecting tea-taster would countenance. I know the milk argument but I defy anyone outside a tea taster to tell the difference.

  9. Tea cosies! I knew I had forgotten something off my list. Thank you!
    Yes, we had the tea-tasters/ milk discussion around the table here, didn't we? You may well be right ;-)

  10. No, I don't dunk - but I do like a good biscuit to accompany my (milk ALWYS first) tea. And I have a nice handmade patchwork tea cosy!!

  11. I also grew up with that BP album, and the Mrs Tiggywinkle story was my favourite! Now I sing this song to my children (trying to imitate the cut-glass accent!!). Mary Begley, Manchester.