I found these teacups on a market stall in Oxford while I was a student. And because I was a student, I had a student budget so I-really-want-this seldom translated into I-shall-buy-this.
But seriously, look how pretty they are. I contemplated my existence without them and realised promptly on the spot that I hadn't truly been living up until that point. I'd just been letting life drift by. But if I had some teacups, then clearly my life would have some meaning, it would be more profound and there would be more tea. Plus my teapot was lonely.
With all this clearly rationalised in my mind, I asked how much they were. Have you heard the expression 'If you need to ask the price then you can't afford it?'. Well, the default student position is 'I can't afford it' anyway, so suffice to say I couldn't afford the pretty teacups.
But I could squeeze one out of that week's budget if I was careful. I decided that I would be careful (that's also what I tell people who try and sell me additional insurance cover - don't worry, I'll be careful and take my chances) and so I took home the pink teacup.
But the pink teacup, whilst an excellent companion for my teapot, definitely missed his friends. Apparently he's a male teacup, just go with it. So the next week found me doing the same financial wizardry and ended with me back in the little stall. Shortly after that, I was back in my room with the green teacup nestling into the pink one. So now I had two happy teacups, reunited as friends and with a new partner-in-crime in the teapot.
But somehow, I couldn't forget that poor little yellow teacup. Bereft and abandoned and wondering if maybe yellow wasn't his colour and that he'd have had more success in life had he been a blue teacup.
Obviously, the next week, the budget was plundered once more for yellow teacup funds. And so here they are. The first three teacups in my collection. Friends together under the wise council of teapot. They were the only teacups I had for a long time; I tend to use mugs on a day-to-day basis as they fit more in. With tea, I'm very much about the quantity.
They've been through a lot, these teacups. With me they have moved 4 times as I transitioned from student to trainee teacher to teacher to teacher-with-a-flat. They have held champagne and toasted the new year, seen me through a depressing summer job, been outside on picnics and been cradled by the best of friends. The saucers have also had their fair share of cake and biscuit action, if you know what I mean. But I love these teacups. They're quite chunky, their sturdiness guarding them against the odd accident and they have a quirky quality; they are more like a small child's idea of teacup than a fine bit of frippery china. I don't quite think I'm mature enough for delicate grown-up teacups yet, although I have started a collection. Just in case I ever get there.
But these three have been there for 6 years now, holding the tea, bringing comfort to friends and being the focal point of many a shared cup of tea.
You can read more stories from more talented bloggers over at Sian's blog 'From High in the Sky' as part of her series 'Storytelling Sunday'. Enjoy!
P.S. It is a little bit awkward if there are 4 of us having tea. But fortunately, I have a system where I choose my favourite friends, and they get the good teacups.
P.P.S. Obviously, you would all get one of the good ones if you were having tea with me.
P.P.P.S. Milk jug has only been with me for a couple of years, but that's another story...