An old cup and the importance and unimportance of things

Can you remember what you used to eat for breakfast when you were a child? I was thinking about this on Monday and I remember, boiled egg and soldiers, cheese on toast and toast a lot (I didn’t like milk so cereal was out though I remember the occasional Weetabix).

Sometimes as a treat we got tea and biscuits. Except I didn’t drink tea when I was at primary school (it had milk in it and I don’t like milk!) so I got hot orange squash, (which was also the favoured way of aspirin into me when I wasn’t well) it always came in the same mug.



When I am at Ma’s, it’s the one I use, only now it has coffee or herbal tea in it.

There is something very reassuring about familiar objects. In and of themselves, objects are just that, they perform a purpose and if we are lucky they are nice to look at, to use and touch. This mug is, I think, handmade, it doesn’t have any marks on it, it’s not vauable but it’s nice to drink from and hold.  It’s also a little more than that too, I’m not sure I’m explaining this well, but using this mug reminds me of being 9 and hot orange and my childhood. It reminds me of growing up and it’s ordinariness, is part of what makes it special because of all the ordinary things that, over the course of my life I used and were broken or thrown away.

If you think of all the things that you will use that will come into your life and be thrown away or broken, it’s a bit of a miracle when you see one that has survived for a good long time. When something has lasted long enough that your grandparents or parents had used it and passed it on, that’s more special. The reason I love old things, is because of that, the way that they connect us with people long dead. The idea that I have things that were part of the everyday of my grandparents lives. Lives that were very different to mine but that I use something in much the same way as they did (actually I own a pyrex bowl that was my Grandad’s and a jumper of his), is special to me.


As a general rule, we are not a sentimental family and I know that attaching importance to things is the way to madness. I know that if those things break, they break, using things means that they will get worn and maybe smash, I wouldn’t want them in a cupboard!

All that just to explain why I love that I still get to use that 30 year old mug and why it’s still ‘my’ mug.

Please tell me I’m not alone in this! Do you have something that’s special because it’s ‘yours’ or it’s an ‘heirloom’?




About nicdempsey

This entry was posted in Home, Ma, Thankful, Things I Like and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to An old cup and the importance and unimportance of things

  1. Pingback: Bread Pudding | Nic Dempsey

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