Family Tree

Perhaps it’s time to revive this blog? Yesterday my sister challenged me to use each and every one of my teacups between now and St Patrick’s Day. “That’s six months”, she said. Which sounds reasonable enough, EXCEPT for that I have too many teacups and we’re putting the house on the market and If we sell I shall have to pack them all away in boxes! Oh, and she doesn’t want me to just USE them. No, there needs to be documentation, photos, a folder on Facebook, etc.

I was about to completely disregard her preposterous notion when the doorbell rang. It was my good friend and Co-Grandma, Alice. She had been visiting the grand babies over the weekend and was delivering a cast off car seat my daughter no longer needed. (I have a garage where cast off baby items wait for the day of a whopper of a garage sale!)

As I took the seat I noticed Alice was dressed as if for a tea party in a lovely pastel lace dress. “Are you coming from a party?”, I asked. “No. Just missed one”. She’d left work and hurried to the event but hadn’t arrived in time. Westward bound Miami traffic can do that. But lace and pearls called for an impromptu tea party!

So out came the key to the crystal cabinet and we selected two lovely cups. Alice chose one of my favorites, “The Greenwood Tree”, by Royal Albert,(featured in a previous blog posting) and I joined her in celebrating all things “tree” by choosing a version of Aynsley’s birch tree. Its a beautiful minty lime green, with gold scroll patterns on the outside and saucer, with the birch trees tucked inside the cup.

We drank green ginger tea and talked about children and mothers and fathers and grandchildren, literally the family tree. Life with such a teatime companion is sweet.


Ripening Blackberries

My mouth started to water just looking at the blackberries on this tea cup by Kent. The vine is in flower and the berries are are tiny and not plump or ripe yet. I am quite sure that if I picked them now I would pucker up and cry. This blackberry bush or bramble bush as it is known in England and Scotland, doesn't show much evidence of the treacherous thorns and stubborn vines that can make collecting wild berries such a challenge. It's early in the season I guess. Speaking of seasons, blackberries are one of the species tracked by The UK Phenology Network which has been compiling records of how soon in the year the blackberry fruit ripens in the UK. The ripened blackberry fruit is considered a harbinger of Fall and is a part of Autumn Watch. The overall trend has been that blackberries are ripening several weeks earlier making them a small but significant indicator of overall climate change. New York naturalist "Wildman" Steve Brill introduces children to the joys of wild blackberries in this chapter from his soon to be published book Stalking the Wild Dandelion: A Guide to Wild Edible Plants for Teachers and Parents to Use With Children. I drank my hot raspberry tea to Mark Knopfler's "Sailing to Philadelphia."


You fill my life with laughter

Monday morning I poured Dennis a cup of Earl Grey tea in a namesake cup. His middle name (and his mother's maiden name) is Greenwood, so it was appropriate that he should have his tea in a Royal Albert cup called the Greenwood Tree. The front of the cup depicts a large trunked, leafy shady tree. Spring flowers nestle around it. On the back is another tree of the same type. The tops of the trees are interrupted by the edge of the cup but the delightful playful design shows one of the top branches of the back tree spilling over the rim into the inside of the cup. These restful trees invite you to sit down and relax, perhaps with the Thomas Hardy novel, Under the Greenwood Tree. Unlike the more famous Hardy books, this story is not a tragedy. A movie adaptation of this romance just recently aired on Masterpiece Theatre. Dennis took his tea with two teaspoons of sugar and Half and Half. He had one cup , but abandoned his second cup to a conference call, (it was too hot to carry into the office). By the time he came back to claim it someone else had enjoyed it, and the cup had been washed and placed back in the cupboard. Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" was the perfect musical accompaniment.


Aynsley morning

I love tea cups! Recently I have been collecting English bone china cups and saucers. My family says I have enough cups to open a tea shop but I decided that what the world really needed was a tea cup Blog! The purpose of this blog is to celebrate the joy I have when I hold one of these small works of art in my hand and to record the thoughts, music and conversation that accompany this civilized act. Yesterday morning I selected an elegant Aynsley tea cup for my daughter-in-law Liz. It's a deep turquoise on a textured outside and on the inside is a small bird perched on a flowered branch. Liz sipped two cups of Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar while we listened to Tierney Sutton sing "Fly me to the moon."

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what Spring is like
On Jupiter or Mars
In other words
Hold my hand
In other words darling
Kiss me