Yesterday, I needed to send a parcel via the Post Office, in Leicester, so I took the opportunity to pop into my favourite charity shop, the one where I can almost guarantee to find a tea towel. The charity shop is ‘anonymous’ in case someone reads this Blog and buys up all the tea towels! (As if there would be anyone like that!). I like the way they display their tea towels – the trouser hanger trick; it makes it much easier to see what is available. This time, shock horror, there were 12 tea towels for sale, some unused, some well-loved, all vintage. Twelve would be an excessive buy and I did already have two of them. I hand-picked five; it took me a while. Was there a story I could write about each? Had I even been there? Did I like them? Would they be a good addition to my collection?
My first choice was Snowdon Mountain Railway. I chose this for two reasons: firstly, I had been there in 2012. I had travelled up the mountain by the railway (because there was no way I was ever going to be able to walk up it) and on that journey I had seen Chris Bonnington coming down, bearer of the Olympic Torch which had been to the top of Snowdon. This was an unexpected event. When we reached the top, shrouded in mist, the cafe looked like a shambles because so many people had been there, eating crisps and chocolate bars, waiting to see him; the staff hadn’t had time to clear up. The picture on the tea towel, with the blue sky and views into the distance, is nothing like I remember it. It makes me think that it would be good to go back and see it in better circumstances; but that won’t happen, there are too many other places to see and tea towels to gather.
I would have to say that the journey, apart from Chris Bonnington, was unmemorable because you couldn’t see anything, the cloud was low and the weather dull.
The second reason for buying this tea towel was it’s age. It must be 30 or more years old; it has been used, on many occasions, but was well-loved and cared for, no tea stains or dirty marks. I wonder how this charming tea towel ended up in a charity shop. I doubt that someone who had used this, and cared for it, would suddenly think “Time to get rid of this one”. Had they been to Snowdon themselves, wanting a souvenir? Did their son or daughter, friend or neighbour buy it for them? Did it’s owner die? Did they move into a care home? Did some ‘helpful’ person, tidying the house, think this was only worthy of a charity shop? There is a story to be told here; I wish I knew what it was.
Many blogs ago, I talked about the possibility of a project, working with older people, writing the stories of their tea towels. A memory-jerker. Perhaps that’s something I should do?