SHOP

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tea from Nana's pot...

From the time I was three till age 14 I mostly lived with my Nana and Pop in their tiny three-room walk-through flat. Childhood memories of those years often spill over into life now, decades later, and I think of that as a special legacy they left me. 
This week I've been talking a lot about tea, which has caused me to ponder what it is about the ceremony of tea time that I love so much - and that led me straight back in my mind to Nana and Pop and the thousands of pots I had happily shared with them.
I thought I'd share a little of that history with you today... 

In Nana's home we only ever drank tea as our hot beverage because coffee was thought to be something you drank when you were out, and cocoa just never appeared in her kitchen.

Each morning upon waking I would take my place at the beautiful, yet simply set Formica table, and await my first cup of tea. Always in china tea cups, and always white with two sugars. 


 Nana would set the table for breakfast as her final chore at the close of every day. I would listen to her setting our plates on a fresh tablecloth, the cutlery softly placed to the side and tea cups clinking as they were turned over on their saucers. When she was satisfied with her preparations the light switch would be flicked, darkness welcomed, and sleep embraced.

On a full moon night Nana’s kitchen table was magical to my young eyes. I would creep past my sleeping grandparents and through the doorway that led from their bedroom into the softly illuminated kitchen.

Atop a freshly laundered and pressed tablecloth, a delicate square of lace covered the cups, saucers, tea pot, plates and cutlery like a shimmering web, the moonlight dancing upon the silverware adding to the ethereal atmosphere. Often I’d pause by the table on my way back to the couch where I slept, and try to guess what breakfast Nana had planned for the morning. 
 


She never, ever, served a cold breakfast. It could be leftovers from the evening meal the night before, eggs and sausages with thickly cut charred toast, butter fried kidneys and bacon, or if Pop had just arrived home after a night shift at the wharf he’d be standing by the stove with the old frypan tilted to one side frying fresh potato chips in lamb fat. Nobody made freshly chipped potatoes like my dear old Pop, and Nana never set her hat to take that crown from him because it was such a blessing for her to sit and be the one served for a change.
Pop would cut a thick slice of bread and butter it generously before laying a half dozen plump chips diagonally across it and folding the bread across them so my little hands would not be burned as I gobbled up my favourite of all breakfasts.


Our teapot was large and metal, leftover from Nana’s days as cook in a pub after WW2, and she only ever used loose tea leaves. Nana made a point of teaching me her recipe for a good brew – before pouring in the boiling water add to the pot one teaspoon of tea for each person, and one for the pot. Once the brewing had begun an oversized hand-knitted tea cosy would cover the pot and the next step of this ceremony would be mine.
I was to turn the tea pot around and around, using another of her calculations - one turn for each person and one for the pot, and halve ther total.



Morning tea on weekends always offered the surprise of tea cake, buns, or biscuits with another pot of tea, as did afternoon tea when I arrived home from school.

Nana religiously served a leg of lamb or roast chicken for lunch on Sunday’s,  but Sunday night it was her custom to take the evening off, baking only a fluffy batch of scones to have with thick lashings of butter and her homemade jam. On Sunday nights it was also usual for us to drink our way through two large pots of tea whilst playing cards!

As I think back on my childhood it’s easy to see where my love for the ceremony of tablecloths, tea cups, and piping hot pots of tea in handmade cosies came from - Nana. 


Another favourite memory is when Pop would be working afternoon shifts so it would only be Nana and I for dinner. Sometimes she’d have a cheeky twinkle in her eye and ask me, “How about we skip dinner tonight and share a loaf of fresh baked bread between ourselves? I have a pot of strawberry jam, plenty of butter, and we can drink all the tea we like. Just you and me and we won’t tell Pop I didn’t cook a meal…”

Pop knew all about this and was chuffed that we shared this simple treat, but he never let on to me. It was a little game they played with me to create a special ‘Nana and Jennifer’ occasion and it lasted until I was well into my teens when I absently let slip I'd known for years that Pop knew exactly what we were up to.


To this day I cannot brew a pot of tea without remembering the taste of fresh bread, butter and jam, and Nana’s clear blue eyes smiling across at me over the teapot.

Those moments are forever stored in the treasure-chest of my heart.

 Day 3 of tea etiquette...

 
hugs

  

41 comments:

Tammy said...

Jenny what beautiful memories you have of your Nana. She would be so honored to read and hear this...It would put a tear of joy in her eye and love in her heart. Hugs to you and I love the tea stitchery design in todays post...

Shelley E said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. May we all have such a wonderful childhood memory.

Christine M said...

What a wonderful post, Jenny. I really enjoyed reading about your Nana and Pop. Thank you for sharing your special memories with us. PS. Love the teapot you've stitched too! xxx

Gisela Suski said...

Thank you for sharing I could taste the homemade bread and jam. I bet Nana smiled all the time.

Wendy B said...

Perfect memories dear friend....perfect memories! xox

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

OH Jenny,
That memory brought a tear to my eye.
Tea was my Nanna's thing too. When we would visit her house we would have afternoon tea and I would get to dress as a princess or a butterfly (depending on my mood). Thank you for sharing.
Debra

Susie said...

Oh the tears in my eyes reading this. How beautiful. Such a lovely memory for you all. I'm sure they treasured their time with you as you did of them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the lovely memories of you and your Grandparents. This brought many memories of my special Grandmother and all of the tea that I enjoyed with her.
Carol O

Rhonda Cafe said...

I write this through the happy tears I shed after reading your lovely memories....your Nana and Pop sound like very special and loving people....how blessed you were to have them in your life. Brought back memories of my Grandma...always wearing an apron covered in a layer of flour from making her delicious scones and pastries....and if I was lucky enough I got to make the left over pastry into little jam tarts...thanks for the memories xxx

Vicky Decaro said...

Querida Jenny! Gracias por compartir esos recuerdos tan hermosos! Me emocionaron sus palabras.
Un beso enorme! Vicky Dc.

soggybottomflats said...

My younger brother and I would stay on our grandparents farm every summer for a few months. Our treat, every morning, was a cup of hot instant coffee and canned milk. We loaded it with sugar and it was delicious. I cannot make THAT same taste again and dearly miss my grandma, but the memories are so sweet. I love to hear others' memories of their childhoods, thank you sweet Jenny for sharing yours. Have a blessed weekend, Elaine

nancy n. said...

Thank was such a sweet memory. You always brighten my day !!!

edith csokmay said...

Such sweet, sweet memories. Thank you for sharing them with us and stirring a memory or two, as well.

xx

elliek said...

What beautiful memories. The love you shared shows through in the way you wrote about your Nana and Pop.

A Nudge said...

What a delightful post, Jenny. It was so nice of you to share your memories with us.

Larissa said...

Precious memories! Thank you for sharing them xxx

Leeanne said...

What a fabulous story, I felt like I was right there with you Jenny! I could just about smell the fresh bread! Thank you for sharing.......these are such simple memories but some of the best and most treasured of all.

Lace Faerie said...

Jenny, thanks for sharing such a heartwarming story of your loving memories! I called my grandmother Mumum, her Mama was my Nana. Sweet memories!

Christina said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. The etiquette tip was very interesting. I don't know much about traditional tea service.

Baa. xxx said...

Lovely , lovely memories! I remember being out at afternoon tea with friends in England and the items were stacked exactly as stated on the tired cake stand.

cucki said...

Aww such sweet memories xx

Selina B said...

awww beautiful memories, thanx so much for sharing them with us, felt like we were right there with you!
am loving the tea etiquette
love the tea pot stitchery too, when will we see that one?
thanx for sharing

Kim said...

Beautiful! That's the kind of Mom and Grandma I want to be.

Lida said...

Beautiful memories! Thanks for sharing! Hugs
Lida

shez said...

oh such beautiful memories and boy i can see you in your nana,love your design,thankyou for sharing xx

Lou said...

Thank you for sharing such a sweet memory!

Ingrid said...

Qué hermosa narración Jenny! Ahora entiendo por qué amas el té, las teteras, las tazas. Esos bellos recuerdos de tu infancia dejaron su huella en ti. Que bueno que tuviste a esa tía tan amorosa. Me emocionó mucho lo que contaste.
Recibe un fuerte abrazo!

TerriSue said...

Such wonderful memories. Your grandparents sound like they were wonderful people. I would like to think I would take in my grandchildren if needed and start all over again and raise them. The thought exhausts me when I think that taking care of my grandson usually requires two days to recover from. Your little teapot circle is so cute. What are you going to do with it?

Lesley Gilbert said...

What a wonderful story and I loved the way you told it - I was sorry when we got to the end. You should write more stories like this (and maybe you have in the past but I am fairly new to your blog).

BTW - I can't stand the taste of tea, yukky - well not since I was about 8 years old anyway - I am of course a coffee drinker now :) Also, chip sandwiches is my favourite sandwich nom nom

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Thank you for sharing such a sweet story. I felt like I was right there with you. What wonderful memories.

M. E. Stephens said...

Jenny, this is beautiful. I really enjoyed reading it. I have a soft spot in my heart for "tea time", even though I'm from the U.S. My love for "tea time", as we tended to call it, came from a dear missionary in Ethiopia named Mr. Speedy(sp?). I don't remember if he was Aussie or English, but he loved to serve tea to anyone who visited, and my parents occasionally did so as fellow missionaries. I was very little, but I loved "tea time" so much that my parents started having it at our house sometimes, a custom that continued throughout the years and added siblings. :-) Some of us still gather sometimes for afternoon tea.

JoJo said...

Awesome memories you have and I thank you from my heart for sharing such tender moments.

Maria said...

An absolutely gorgeous post, Jenny. A beautiful tribute to two wonderful people. Xx

Maureen said...

Jenny, reading your story brought back special memories of my own grandparents. And I am enjoying the tea etiquette tips.

Kathy said...

Oh, I so enjoyed that story! Such sweet memories.

Maria said...

What a gorgeous story Jenny. Brought back memories of the way my MIL set her table each evening..
Life was sew much simpler then and not as rushed..

desertskyquilts said...

What sweet memories you have of them. It's the window that opened when the door shut. I love the stitchery you made as you related your memories, too. I never knew that about tea trays, but probably because tea is not such a big thing here.

Farm Quilter said...

What beautiful memories to cherish all your life! Are you awaiting the time to make similar memories with your grands? Thank you for sharing something so very special!!

Kate said...

I loved this story so much! I lived in South Africa for several years and learned the special ritual of afternoon tea. I'm back in the States now and have been for years...but I still love my tea <3 Kate

Frankie Ann said...

What wonderful memories you have of them. Both sets of my grandparents died when I was very little. I have very few memories of them. I think that is why being Nana to my 7 precious ones is so important to me. To make lasting memories with them. Loved this post. Brought tears to my eyes.

Beverly said...

Loved your Nana and Pop story!! Have you considered writing a book? You wrote down your memories so well. Your grandparents sounded like very special people! I Admire all your work! God bless you richly. You are an inspiration. We splurged on high tea at the Empress in Victoria Canada when our children were young. Twenty years later we still talk of our memories. :-).