This cup and saucer is chipped, cracked, the gold trim worn away. The cup is stained. It's inexpensive, bought from Coles in the early 1960s and made in Australia by Johnson Sovereign Pottery.
However, for me, its value is incalculable. When I look at this cup, tears spring to my eyes. I am instantly sitting at the laminex servery on the farm where I grew up. Lan-choo Tea, heavenly ginger fluff sponges, soda biscuits, fried scones on cold, wet days late home on the school bus. Fighting with my brother over the washing up, my father stomping mud off his work boots, neighbours, aunts, gossip. My mother indomitable, high energy, a force to be reckoned with. Lingering over the last mouthfuls of tea and cake before reluctantly doing homework.
Tea is an integral part of the 'great tapestry' of my life. A continuing thread through all the ups and downs of marriage, work, children, friendship, establishing a home and a sense of self.
I treasure the delicate tea cups that my husband, Corni, lovingly brought back on the plane from Germany, without breaking, just four weeks before dying of leukaemia in 2007.
Always there when needed, flavoursome, aromatic – the familiar ritual of cups, kettles, tea pots, brewing – "milk and sugar?" We take time to have a cuppa – to talk, connect, to share and care for one another.