The first week back at work after the extended seasonal break is always exhausting. As I go to bed by 9.00pm every night of the week, and get up at 5.00 am or 6.00 am on all weekdays, the difficulty posed by houseguests who expect to keep normal hours is great. Add to this the 1.30 am end of the NY Eve dinner party (I had to ask the last guest to leave), and the whole of the next week is a recovery programme.
So it is perhaps not surprising that one of the mishaps of the week was the breaking of my favourite teapot. It just slipped out of my hand. John Lewis was clean out of 2-cup pots, so I tried my favourite charity shop, at the end of the road near my Cambridge office.
Indeed, as I expected in this huge hall of treasures (it's more a warehouse than a shop, and the daily turnover is phenomenal), there were eight teapots to choose from. Sadly, not one was exactly right. I felt a bit like Goldilocks. One was too small, one metallically tinny, all the rest far too large, and one too "antique".
This morning I trotted over to the Age Concern shop next to our Sainsbury's, while hubby was dutifully filling the trolley with detox fruit and veg and organic chicken.
There, I spotted the sickly pink "1970's bathroom suite-coloured" pot I saw on Wednesday, which had a chipped lid. Not surprising no one had taken that away.
However, since Wednesday, three others had come into the shop. One tiny, Chinese-laquer covered, but not quite what I was looking for. Another four-cup pot,too big for me. AH! The perfect size, and the perfect, traditional tea-pot shape. What's more, it was bone-china, and made in England. At only £1.99, and not a scratch or chip to be seen, it was a bargain and I snapped it up.
When I got home, however, I realised that there is perhaps a defect in this treasure. It has some writing painted round the top of the pot, just below the lid. I find this irritating. Not just because it doesn't make sense (being only part of a sentence), and no attributable source is noted anywhere. (I have tipped it up twice in the vain hope that some footnote might appear on the underside). For someone who loves reading, and will read ANYTHING (similarly addicted friends cite learning to read from cornflakes packets and milkman's notes), it is impossible to use the pot without reading the script. And each time, it annoys me.
It's very seldom that I find any disadvantage in being an addictive reader, and this is definitely a first!