“Come and share a pot of tea. My home is warm and my friendship is free”

I like to live with the philosophy of “my door is always open” attitude and there is nothing I like more than cooking for loved ones – family and friends. Sharing a meal around the table or tea is a joy and I always like to use my fine China collection at every opportunity. Even now with lockdown and no visitors at home, it is worth the extra effort to use vintage china simply for you. The simple things in life are often the most rewarding and sometimes these small things make a significant difference.

My collection of tea sets, cups, saucers and teapots has grown over the years and is getting used quite a lot. There are a few vintage sets I’ve collected from garage sales and markets, some antique cups and saucers passed on to me, and several more modern pieces that together are some of my most cherished possessions.

This year it is more important than ever that we enjoy the fine things we have at home. We cannot go ‘out’ much, so worth making tea drinking ‘special’ by using different tea cups throughout the day and if fortunate enough to have other china, using the good china for some evening meals.

Although fine china and good glassware have been out of vogue for some time, mainly I assume because they cannot easily be thrown in the dishwasher. You will be surprised if you give it a go, at how the very act of taking a bit more care with meals or breaks whilst we have more time at home can create a sense of calm and mindfulness.

The mere fact we have to wash up certain items by hand and dry them separately with a tea towel is an echo of the past when life was much simpler. It slows the pace of life that has been for decades more and more frantic as we juggle so many new activities; work, DIY projects, travel, family, childcare and study. The worldwide pandemic is a rather abrupt reminder to everyone that perhaps we need to appreciate the small things that make our routines uplifting, worthwhile and fun.

I like the pause that Tea allows”
Waris Ahluwalia

The Burleigh traditional willow pattern large cups above we often use for breakfast Tea. An antique Shelley tea set for afternoon tea and a delicate trio for green tea with lunch not every day but a few times a week. I have set up a kitchen cupboard with a yellow tea set and a new (vintage) cute Teapot ready for use at any time. There is a tray table with a silver teapot and trios of fine china, and the dresser in the hall is laden with vintage china – a display to inspire and uplift the soul when walking past. And it does just that.

Why not try an online get-together as a virtual afternoon tea or a drink together later in the day? It is not ideal but better than no social contact at all. As long as you have a kettle, some tea or coffee, preferably a teapot, a cup or mug and an internet connection – it is ready online.

Perhaps even spill the tea a bit and share some newsy gossip. Spill the tea, is said to mean according to the Urban Dictionary, “gossip or personal information belonging to someone else; the scoop; the news.” It originated in the drag community in the South of the US and was first mentioned in popular culture in a film from the 1990s called Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Some may remember it. It started as T for truth and in the book a prominent drag performer, Lady Chablis is being interviewed about her dating life she says she avoids certain men because they’re prone to violence when they find out her T and continues as quoted below-

“Your T?”
“Yeah, my T. My thing, my business, what’s goin’ on in my life.”

Lady Chablis in The Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt 1994

From there, the interview in the book gave the world a peek into the vocabulary of drag culture. T = truth, and somehow, it became Tea and hidden T or hidden truth evolved between then and now. So gossip soon became Tea and in time – Spill the Tea, or share the gossip. The fun of linguistics!

Content Di Baker 2021

All images Di Baker from my fine china collection

Header Title by Emilie Barnes

Header Image painting by By Johan Messely courtesy of Nevine Sedky

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