The New Year’s sales have me looking around the shops for home improvement. A lamp here, a curtain there, definitely some new tea-towels. We officially moved onto the farm when my first son was three months old. I had avoided the domestic life and talk of tiles very much before that. In one foul swoop, I found myself in a tile store, with a new baby and the task of equipping a farmhouse for a life of dirty wellies and farm odours. Oh dear.
And I certainly didn’t understand the considerations that one had to make when purchasing furniture for a farm home. Could I extend that table for silage days? Is that teapot large enough? Which tile will take the dirt? Is that freezer big enough to take the amount of meat it takes to feed a farming household? It was a whole new world of domestic life that had me making decisions that now has me shaking my head at my younger farming novice self. Really, those chairs, they didn’t have a chance. But the tiles were a good choice. That same younger self throws her eyes to heaven.
Some weeks back, I found myself in a home and hardware store in the city. A delight for this farmer’s wife I tell you. Having spent an hour perusing the kitchen utensil section (I wish I were joking), I found it; the tea cosy. A Christmas tea cosy (which I’m afraid betrays the city girl in me for it is not at all practical to have a seasonal tea-cosy). For those of you not in the know or for those of you thinking that the tea cosy was a figment of your grandmother’s imagination, the tea cosy is a snug piece of material, normally cushioned, or knitted that fits over your teapot to keep the tea warm. God be with the days I put a tea bag in a cup. It is the most essential item that resides on the dinner table. Tea is made before the men come in for dinner to make sure it’s strong (like porter as one tae drinker put it) and hot. The tea cosy holds the pot hot given that our farmer may not always make the dinner call directly. Ahem.
So I made my way to the till like the cat who got the creamer with my tea cosy in hand, beaming. Delighted as I was to find this festive variation of the tea cosy and giddy at shopping in the big smoke, I told the shopkeeper of the delight of my find. Busy as he was that day, he found the time to join in in my enthusiasm for the red tea cosy, adding in the most melodic Cork accent ‘if we’d ever used a tea-bag?’ and the usual ‘why in the name of God did I end up there (i.e.not Cork city)?’ As it turned out, he knew my father and was glad himself that the tea cosy was going to a good home, although the glint in his eye suggested that he may have just wanted me to hurry on. I can’t imagine why.
So there it resides on our dining room table, snuggly keeping the tea pot warm for the festive season. Soon, it will put away with the winter tablecloth and Christmas decorations signaling the end of a wonderful Christmas. Now where did I put the other one?
The message friends for the new year is this; may your troubles this year be little. Happy New Year to you and yours.