Friday, February 13, 2015

Simple acts of love

Every day of their married lives (or often enough for it to seem like it was every day) my father took my mother a cup of tea in bed in the morning. Such a small, simple thing and yet such a grand, declarative act. So much more than just a cup of tea.


The situation was never reversed, at least not as far as I know. Mum getting up to take Dad a cup of tea was as unthinkable as her smoking a cigar or mowing the lawns. Sometimes, in the weekends, I was allowed to get into bed with Mum and receive a cup of tea too. I still have the miniature Crown Lynn cup and saucer. The cup is teal blue, the saucer is cream with a teal pattern radiating out from the centre. The tea was proper tea, looseleaf, made in a teapot. Occasionally there would be a thin slice of white bread and butter to go with it. Such luxury. When my parents travelled they took a portable tea-making kit with them, a sort of element prong that could be plugged into a hotel bathroom shaver's plug. Thus fortified (and miraculously, never electrocuted), they would set out. 

From what my mother said, this was learned behaviour. My father's father had always started the day by taking his wife a cup of tea - so strange to think of that fearsome woman sleepily easing herself upright among soft pillows, stretching her hand out to receive a china cup and saucer - and so Dad assumed that this was what happened in all households. On reflection, I thought it did too. Sometimes, even now, when I'm half-asleep in the morning I hear the faint, far-off rumble of a boiling kettle, the tink-tink clink of cup on saucer. These sounds, even imagined, are the comforting noises of my childhood. They are a sign that the day is beginning and that all is right with the world. 

Some years later, I realise the importance of the act of making that cup of tea. Despite what Hallmark cards may tell us, roses and boxes of chocolates are not the glue that bonds us together. It is the small acts of love - the early morning cup of tea, the remembering to buy a certain sort of biscuit or putting an emergency beer in the freezer - that keep us together. Flowers and chocolates and grand gestures may be expected on Valentine's Day, but there are 364 other days in the year in which boiling the kettle is just as lovable.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone x

17 comments:

  1. Such a lovely post :) I've followed your blog for years and not sure I've ever commented, I think it's brilliant. Your crispy fish and greens recipe has been made over and over and over again, I love it! xx

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    1. Thanks Rosie, that's very kind. As for the crispy fish, I'd forgotten all about that, I must make it again!

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  2. A lovely post lucy - and a lovely way to remember your parents. We were chatting about just this act in my family recently and my sister was saying her husband sometimes would bring her tea in bed and she really preferred to wait until she was up and about to have it - and I think my mum agreed - I like the idea of tea in bed in the morning but agree with my mum and sister that it is not practical with my mornings the way they are - but I do enjoy having an evening cup of tea placed beside me once Sylvia is in bed.

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    1. Thank you - I think the important thing is understanding the recipient's wishes, whatever the kind act is. Frankly, I'm grateful for a cup of tea at any stage of the day (or night!)

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  3. Such a beautiful post, makes you realise that the simple acts of love is far better than celebrating on one day :-) x

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  4. What a lovely childhood memory Lucy, thank you for sharing it with us. I totally agree that it's those little things that count a million times more than the big, grand gestures...although it's nice to have one or two of those too every so often.
    Have a wonderful valentines weekend,
    debx

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    1. ps. I'm off to try and make some heart shaped, Great Aunt Makiri pikelets for Ahmad's breakfast...
      dx

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    2. I agree - gestures of every size and dimension are important, but the little ones add up to more than the big ones (well, unless the big ones are HUGE!) Hope the pikelets were a success x

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  5. so beautiful.. it really is those small acts of kindness that are appreciated above all... right. I'm off to make him tea!

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  6. Beautifully written. I will not take my cup of tea in the morning for granted. We do show our love in different ways and not necessarily though flowers and chocolate.

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  7. What a beautiful memory, Lucy! Reading this sweet post got my day off to a great start.

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  8. An awesome memory. I love the way it is written and good job..

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Hello - thanks for stopping by. If this was real life I'd make you a cup of tea and open the biscuit tin, but in lieu of those things, let's have a chat anyway...

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