Teapots and Tarnish

There’s something very community-oriented about a teapot. I have a friend who’s considering a teapot tattoo for this very reason. By virtue of its capacity, the teapot suggests the inclusion of more than one person, and by virtue of its contents it promotes communal relaxation, recreation and refreshment.

Tea Party (1905) by Louis Moeller

I decided to have a tea-party this weekend, and I had already issued the invitations when I came to a sudden and somewhat dreadful realization. While being amply supplied with loose-leaf tea (Ceylon; Earl Grey; rooibos with manuka; green with jasmine), I had only one teapot, and that a small one. There was only one possible solution: mount a raid on the second-hand shops. I heroically volunteered.

Too much choice is stressful, so I made the selection process simpler by rejecting out of hand any which were one-cup, cracked, or lacking a built-in strainer. This reduced the pool of possibles to three, which I duly bought.
So, in addition to my original teapot, a wicker-handled blue with Chinese characters, I now have a round little green pot, a larger honey-brown pot, and a 1 1/2 pint silver pot, which is rather reminiscent of a watering can. (Please do not embarrass the management by suggesting the concept of a matching set.)

The problem with the silver pot was that it wasn’t silver. I mean, it was EPNS (electro-plated nickel silver) but in colour it was more like the sheen on a car-park puddle. Not the sort of look that encourages one to drink the contents. I bought it in the hope that it was just tarnished, and behold, my hope was rewarded.

A George III silver teapot by Alexander Field. Fellows-1443-106-1

Not being a fan of the reek of silver-polish, I used a handy little trick passed on to me by the Caped Gooseberry’s mother. She has a history of providing handy tips: when I was eight, she demonstrated how to break an assailant’s nose (without assistant assailant) – a great first memory to have of one’s mother-in-law.

The silver-polishing trick requires hot water, tin foil and washing soda – still available at the shops in this day and age! The tin foil lines the sink or bowl; the hot water is added and the washing soda dissolved in it. In goes the tarnished silver and off goes the tarnish. Remove, rinse, dry. Voilà.

According to the back of my washing soda packet, the soda and tin foil react to produce hydrogen, which removes the silver oxide, aka tarnish. That’s the science, anyway. Frankly, I’m not too fussed as long as it works and doesn’t asphyxiate me. Plus there are bubbles and fizzy noises!


What are your household tips and tricks? And do you have any hints for tea-partying?

Moving House

Moving house New Zealand style

Or to be more accurate, moving household – the respective houses are staying put. Inasmuch as anything stays put when we keep having earthquakes over 6.0 on the Richter scale.

Yes, the Caped Gooseberry and I are moving house(hold), in just a couple of weeks. It had been a possibility for a while, but it wasn’t settled until a week ago. So now we have two weeks to get everything sorted and ready to go.

Sorted van!

I’ve got leave from the DDJ for the day before we move (I’m not completely insane), but other than that I’m working full time until the day itself (like I said, not completely).

It’s not as though I’ve never done it before, I moved house frequently through most of my life. We once moved three times in three days, and I was fourteen before I spent twelve consecutive months in the same house.

But things have changed since then. I grew up, I got married, and I got furniture. Time was I had a bag of clothes, a box of toys and my school stuff. That time is gone.

Let's Do 52 :: 24/52 :: Pastel

On the other hand, I am (for the first time) going to have movers pack for me. I have no idea how you move house without doing your own packing – just as I have no idea how you do a thorough spring-clean without moving out (doesn’t all the stuff get in the way?).

So, what are your tips for keeping sane while moving house(hold)? And what’s a low-stress way to sort out your stuff and prune the dead wood away?

All comments welcome!