25-year-old mug

Filed in Memories, Travels

I’d bought this red mug during my first trip to England in 1985. We (aunt, cousin and cousin’s family) were driving up to Manchester to visit cousin’s husband’s cousin and aunt, and at a rest stop somewhere between London and Manchester (a cafe with a pottery store), I saw and fell in love with this mug.

Its pristine condition shows that I’ve not used it much over the years. I didn’t want to risk breaking, or even just chipping, it, so I’d kept it away all these years.

There was another reason – tea stains that clung on and refused to be washed off. But recently, I tried a tip I’d read online – I soaked the mug with water “laced” with a denture cleansing tablet and the stains came off but not 100%. Maybe I’ll soak it again. But will I use the mug? Nope. I still don’t want to risk breaking, or even chipping, it.

That 1985 trip was a turning point in my life. I fell in love with England, having experienced it first-hand and not just through books and magazines. I told myself I would return and stay longer, but I knew the only valid reason to stay longer was if I returned as a student.

A year later, I was retrenched (laid off from work). It was the start of the 80s recession. Instead of looking for another job just to get by, I told myself it was time to go back to school. I spoke to my parents about it, and my mother said “good idea, we support you but we don’t have the money to help you.” She spoke to my sister who said I should’ve thought about it earlier (literal translation from what she said in Cantonese).

So I got to return to England, thanks to my sister’s generous financial support. I got to stay there longer (3 years) and legally as a full-time student.

Oh, I’ve digressed from the story of this 25-year-old mug …