24 October 2010

tea and tears


There was always a pot of tea on the kitchen table when I was a child, along with a bottle of off-white sterilised milk (stera!) and a bowl of sugar, but I never took to it like the rest of the family.  I came round to tea eventually when I realised that it doesn't have to be taken dark brown and sweet, and I've been making up for my late start by hoarding teapots ever since.  Teapots for any occasion - everyday teapots; posh ones for when guests come for tea;  a large one for funeral teas, teapots with broken spouts that would be better off in the bin.  It is faintly ridiculous.

I find nowthat I am much more likely to choose a cup of tea if I feel a little fragile or in need of revival  which is why I ended up with a pot of tea in the cafe of the Foundling Museum yesterday.  We had gone to see the Threads of Feeling exhibition (reviewed here)  and came out of it a little tear-stained and in need of restoration.  Scraps of fabric, sleeves, cockades and ribbons,  tiny bonnets were left by mothers or cut off of clothes by the hospital clerks and attached to the entries in the Foundling Hospital's detailed records of each foundling's condition on arrival.  Notwithstanding the historical importance of these textiles, each scrap embodies a small tragedy.  It was immensely moving.  Make sure you have a handkerchief with you if you go.

5 comments:

Rattling On said...

I never liked tea until I found out you didn't have to have sugar in it!! I've seen the foundling museum on something to do with the Antiques Roadshow as Lars Tharp is Director. It looks like a fascinating place.

jane said...

oh i MUST go here, i'm in this area all the time. i'd never heard of it - thank you.

your teapots are lovely, not a hint of the ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Very nice article about this exhibition in the current issue of Selvedge - can't afford to buy it at £10 an issue but had a good look at it in Stratford Smiths. (Sometimes the cheap magazine stall in Whitecross Street sells back issues for a quid - bliss). Having taken a neighbour's daughter to see the main exhibition some years ago and had to explain to her mum why her daughter came back tear stained I shall choose my companions to see this exhibit carefully!

Best wishes,

Joan

Val said...

There is something very comforting about the selection of Teapots you have in your photo, they invoke lots of memories. I too came late to tea. I was working on a dairy farm and the farmer had a rule that if you didn't drink tea, then you didn't get a tea break....

Liz said...

Thanks for the links, I didn't know anything about the museum or the exhibition. No wonder you were reduced to tears.

Your teapots reminded me of the rhyme we used to recite : "I'm a little teapot, short and stout. Here's my handle, here's my......oh no, I'm a sugar bowl".