Saturday, 22 May 2010

Of tea mugs, steam engines and VW microbuses

I recently bought a new mug for my cups of tea at work. It featured that work horse of surfers, the Kiwi's home from home, the 60s icon that is the VW microbus. I popped a teabag in and poured in boiling water. A loud 'crack' emanated from the vessel and brown liquid began to ooze onto the work surface. Disaster, the mug had cracked almost severing itself into two pieces. I took it back to the shop; the parsimonious Scots half of me I guess; well it had cost nearly four whole English pounds! The lady in the shop, so demure and helpful while I was a purchaser turned harridan when confronted with a complaint. Result: no refund, no replacement and a warning about using ornamental display pieces with handles for real tea.

Still mugless, I left York for the North York Moors Railway with a party of Thai students who had managed to find a window in between Bangkok violence and Icelandic ash clouds. At the souvenir shop on Grosmont station platform I found the answer to my needs. A dishwasher and microwave approved tea drinking crock complete with aforementioned railway company logo and witty comment: 'Return to footplate for washout and refill'. A whisper under 5 pounds and it was mine. I've been using it for a week now and can firmly recommend the British railway carriage over a cramped German self-propelled caravan.

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