Sunday, September 12, 2010

Christmas Comes Early to the TH!

Nilgiris is blessed almost every week by people bringing in gifts - china, ornaments for the "Tea Tree" in the entry, magazines and books, games and puzzles; even obscure things like the never-before-used, ancient but charming English Christmas pudding steamer or the peacock crafted and painted by a preteenager.

One of the quirkiest cups I have received!

Today, however, was a record. A delightful guest and her husband had visited us earlier in the summer with a local couple; she loved the TH and when her friend from Three Hills went to visit Fort McMurray, she returned with a special delivery for Nilgiris.

Then in the afternoon my friend George dropped in with a cardboard box: "Di thought you might like these," he said diffidently.

And shortly before closing a gift bag was handed to me from my friend Bernadette. One of the things in it was a beautiful breakfast cup from Bernadette's "Mummy", a cup most likely about 75 years old.

My sentimental favourite: The coronation of King Deorge V!, with a miniature of the two Princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose
 After I unwrapped the first batch of china I set all the pieces up on the large oval table, named "the Island", near the counter. I added to it in the afternoon with Di's offering, and in the evening added Bernadette's Mum's cup and saucer.
"The best cup of tea in a long time!"

On Sunday morning after church Dad and I have a little tea ritual where we sit in the purple chairs and drink Tiger Hill tea before he leaves for his next service and I depart back to the kitchen. This Sunday morning I served him in Bernadette's Mum's cup because it reminded me of Nana, my Dad's mother, who had cups of the same vintage and pattern.

As soon as I set the cup in front of him and I poured him the tea in it, he remembered. As I offered him milk, he remarked, "It's almost a shame to put milk in this tea cup - you lose the beautiful colour ..." and from there we had a sweet time reminiscing about Dad's life at the farm and his mother in particular.

This weekend had threatened to be dull and listless, a transition between a soggy summer and a brittle fall, a sombre anniversary of a brutal action nine years ago that has changed the tone and the tactics of the world. It turned out to be a weekend of joy and pleasure in the Tea House as all my guests could also enjoy the beautiful pieces arrayed on the table and be reminded that life still is wonderful, that in the midst of the chaos without there can still be tranquility within.

Don't you love Christmas?!


  1. Yes, I love Christmas (although this cold September is beginning to feel a bit like it, and I don't like that much). Some of those new cups and saucers you have are quite lovely too. . . I see one I'd like to sip Tiger Hill from.

  2. well, i tasted the blue hills in every sip from that sweet cup. . . it's even prettier than in the picture! And equally as grand as the finest china set for a lavish feast at Babette's table. With flair and generosity akin to hers, no wonder it has found a home with you! Thanks for sharing it with me. :) xo

  3. I will always share anything Babette-in-nature with you! You inspire me to search for beauty and to appreciate the fine treasures nestling right in my hands. Thank you for coming here last evening. xo


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