Twenty three years ago I married into a family of English and Irish expatriates. It has been, as I’m sure it is with most families, an experience filled with its share of foibles, fun, frustration and love. The bouncing back and forth between the London and Limerick accents was especially challenging for me. As the years have gone by my wife’s family and I have come to understand one another through many different ways. But the one place we have gained our greatest appreciation for one another is over a cup of tea and a brace of biscuits.
I have always liked tea, even when I was young but I never fully appreciated it’s civilizing effects until I became a part this family. My in laws have both passed away in recent years but the memories i have of tea and conversation with my Mum-in-law will be cherished forever.
Part of the magic of tea is certainly what flavor you imbibe and the company you keep, but it is also the vessel you use to drink it with. In my younger days I didn’t pay much attention to what I made my tea in or what I drank it out of. It wasn’t until i received admonishments from my lovely bride that I began to take notice. It had to be English made and it most definitely needed to be fine bone china. I thought that was a bit absurd at first but as time went on I could see the reasons for it. Tea is not to be slugged down or sucked away in a crude manner. Tea is to be tasted, enjoyed. It is for relaxation and refreshing the soul. Drinking your tea from a finely crafted work of art has a civilizing effect on ones nature and helps to create a certain sense of well being.
To that end I have spent my time at estate sales always on the lookout for fine bone china cups and saucers. I have discovered an amazing array of patterns and styles. Items that years ago would have gone unnoticed are fully appreciated today because of the experience and joy I have found in a cup of tea. A small sampling of what I have found are shown below.
I would love to hear any comments or tips you may have on tea and where I can find hard to get patterns. or if there is a certain pattern you are searching far please let me know what it is and if I happen to come across it I will pass the word along.