Many, Many Ducks: 2021

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It’s been 6 days since I last wrote a Tea Towel Blog. This is a disappointment to me. In truth, I have ‘Tea Towel Blogger’s Writing Block’. This is a painful and frustrating condition. The ‘cure’ comes from within oneself. Often writers, of any genre, will say that if you get Writer’s Block the answer is to write something everyday; it doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish, you can tear it up and never use it. Writing everyday gets you back in the swing of things. The problem with Blogging is that once you have put pen to paper, or rather finger to keyboard, and have pressed that tiny ‘Publish’ key then the whole world can see it. It’s not like a notebook that you put in a drawer, a Blog wings its way to Nottingham and London, Edinburgh and Shetland, Australia and California, Montreal and China……You are exposed.

So, today, it’s ‘Many, Many Ducks’. I love this one, vibrant, colourful, full of movement and detail. Look at what appears to be multiple ducks, and realise how many different ones there are. A prompter of memories. First memory: I bought it at Cromford Mills a few weeks ago, on an extremely hot day. This was a new place for Liz, Pete and I, walking along the canal, eating outdoors, looking at the history of Derwent Valley Mills. The sort of place I would always want to go back to and explore new areas. Second memory: a new place that hired out Trampers, to enable Liz to get around considerably easier that most people on the canal bank, allowing the freedom and independence often denied to her. Derbyshire does a great job in enabling Trampers to be available at many of their tourist sites. Third memory: ducks.

From the beginning of the year, through Lockdown and the gradual opening up, we have been able to watch the ducks (and, in truth, geese and swans as well) on the disused Nottingham Canal, Cromford Canal, the Lake at Wollaton Park, the Clumber Park Lake and Elvaston Castle, seeing the tiny ducklings, goslings and cygnets grow from fluffy little balls of nothing through the gangly stage and emerging on the other side as beautiful birds. It has been a joy and something to be done year after year. Those are things that I have learned to love, the good things to emerge from the Pandemic.

Cracked it! Writer’s Block demolished. Tomorrow will be another #thejoyofteatowelsharing

The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (19)

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My ‘Headliner’ today is ‘Highland Cow’ by @emmaballltd. I found this at @ElvastonFriends, in the Information Centre. This is a place I have been to regularly, especially all through Lockdown. My friend @lizmac307 enjoys going around the grounds in one of the Trampers you can hire. This is the sort of place that is good to visit at all times of the year, as the birds give birth, the goslings take their first turn on the water, the rhododendrons flower, the azaleas come into bloom, the acorns drop, the trees turn. Every day offers a different vista. There used to be a tea room. Because this is a regular venue for dog-walkers, they got their act together and developed a very efficient takeaway service that does not require you to venture indoors. Their card machine, on a selfie stick, is a joy to behold; it’s probably the safest I’ve felt at any cafe/takeaway. To my knowledge the small Gift Shop/Information Centre has never had an ‘Elvaston Castle’ tea towel but there is always a range of unrelated tea towels. I’ve discussed this with the staff; they’d love one of their own but the most popular one is of ‘Derbyshire’ by @emmaballltd (which I already have). However, they, like many small shops, have a basket of tea towels low down on the floor. I dug around last week and found this one. There is not much link to @ElvastonFriends but I love it. I bought it because I’m getting withdrawal symptoms from not having visited Scotland since February 2020, whereas previously I’d visited at least six times a year. You only have to look at that cow, see the cottage behind it, the hills in the background and you could be there. The colours take you amongst the heather on the hills; the blue sky creates a warm day but not the heat wave we have had to endure recently. So one tea towel can take you to two very different places. Thank you @emmaballltd.

And now to #thejoyofteatowelsharing. I don’t know where people find some of their tea towels but I have ‘trained’ Readers to take a photo of a tea towel, without having to spend their hard-earned cash. While @JanesHeroes apologises for the reflection from the glass on the tea towels (always a problem) she did find a shop in Mundesley with a ton of tea towels. “I like the Nelson one” she said. I couldn’t remember what Nelson’s connection to Norfolk was. Was he born there? Or did he live with his mistress there? Didn’t have to wonder for long since @JanesHeroes sent me a background feature (he was born there). Pamela, who I know through Creative Writing, also sent me a photo from a short break she had in Richmond. She is not a Tea Towel Collector but likes to contribute to the Museum. She hadn’t realised that I was more than happy to receive photos of tea towels from shops. I’m looking forward to receiving more, now she knows.

It’s a long time since @halinaward sent in any tea towels and, just like buses, two come along at once. “An old Polish Flea Market one, hung as a curtain and a lovely hand-embroidered Prague Flea Market find which I use to protect an accordion (minus accordion).” Sadly, I was unable to turn the embroidered one straight. I love the cultural differences in tea towels.

@WGAbroad sent in the sort of tea towel that makes you cry out ‘I want to go there’. A brilliant tea towel from Wales. On the other hand, @CampievanBears said “Here you are Barbara. This wraps our electric kettle lead in the van. We are probably OTT with the use of tea towels for rattles. This was one of the last gifts my aunt gave us. She died aged 98 in July 2019, so it will only be used for this”. Love a tea towel with a story.

And finally for today are two from @townsendtowers. The first is the ‘Gym??’ one. “I think this one will sort me out”. I really like tea towels with words and a play on words. The second one was a ‘Daily Mail Special’ “I must say I am a bit apprehensive about the way things are going. Got this one last year”. These two certainly sum up Lockdowns, COVID rates and hospitalisations. Great tea towels.

When I feel a bit anxious about COVID-19, a display of tea towels will always cheer me up. #thejoyofteatowelsharing. Thank you!!!

The Snake: 2021

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“I’ve got something for you”, said Pete, pulling a piece of paper from a brown paper bag. Pete had been to Worthing to stay with his sister for a week.

“What’s that?” I asked, holding my breath.

“I’ve brought you a map” he said, handing it over. On one side there was a map of Knepp Castle Estate, with all the footpaths marked, and counted out in kilometres. On the other, a Knepp Wildland Footpath Map, a 9.5 km walk. Although a circular walk, the shop and cafe are at the nearest point to the car park. The ‘castle’ is, in fact, a mediaeval ruin that you come upon on the walk. This is the sort of place I’d love to walk, the sort of place that also needs a Tramper.

Pete described the day out that he’d had with his sister, showed us photographs and once that was finished, delved into the brown paper bag once more. The next thing was ……….

“Pauline and I couldn’t agree on which tea towel to buy….”. My excitement was rising. Was I going to actually see a tea towel? “This was her favourite, so I bought you this” (see above).

“I definitely do not have any, or have even seen any, tea towels with a snake” I said, knowledgeably. “The background colour is so beautiful, so unusual, so restful. I’m not sure a snake would have been my first choice, as a creature, but as a whole I can see why Pauline would have chosen this”. I added. “I’m assuming it is a creature familiar with the Knepp Wildlands.

“Yes. She thought it was unusual”. It’s certainly unusual. How am I going to feel about wiping up with a snake? I ask myself. I answer “Get over yourself, this is such a beautiful tea towel, it will be wonderful”

The European Grass Snake, on the tea towel, looks the size of a killer cobra but is, in fact, tiny. I was looking it up on Wikipedia and found this sentence which made me fall about laughing “In defence, they can produce a garlic-smelling fluid from the anal glands, and feign death (Thanatosis) by becoming limp when they secrete blood (auothaemorrhage) from the mouth and nose…They rarely bite in defence but when caught often regurgitate the contents of their stomachs”. I can’t wait to meet one of these!!

In the meantime, I will wipe up with the European Grass Snake, a lovely, and generous, gift from Pete, chosen by Pauline. However, that wasn’t the end of the brown paper bag……….

A to Z of Birds: 2021

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The day we went to Cromford Mills was a spending spree on tea towels, including buying one for my aunt. I’m always fascinated by the sort of shops that sell tea towels. I bought today’s from a Cheese Shop. ‘Always look low down, into baskets’ is my mantra. It’s often where you find some interesting tea towels. And, by golly, I did.

I Like Birds is a company producing tea towels (and more) to do with birds. The cardboard wrap says “Tasteful, playful, vibrant and true to its subject, the I Like Birds range is driven by twin passions for nature and design, distilling the natural world into something simple and beautiful!” Couldn’t have put it better myself.

It isn’t often that you see the Quetzal bird. And there it is on this tea towel. A friend of mine, Jenifer, who died more than 10 years ago, set up a organisation counselling adults who had been sexually abused as children. She called it Quetzal, whose logo was that beautiful bird. No one understood why. The name ‘Quetzal’ means precious. It was used for the name of the organisation because it helps women who have been abused, and with their help becomes precious once more.

This is the tea towel I also bought for my aunt because, for the last 25 weeks, during Lockdown and its emergence, she has set a Challenge for a few of her friends and family. It is the Alphabet Challenge. Each week pertains to a letter, in alphabetical order. As a matter of interest, this week is Y, tomorrow we start with Z. So each morning we have to create a text with as many words beginning with the letter. Some letters are so much easier to use than others. There were a lot of words to use beginning with X but, of course, there were few that anyone understood. I liked U but R was quite difficult. For me, the Alphabet Challenge was one of the things that kept me sane during Lockdown. It tested my brain, but more importantly it maintained contact with my aunt and has ‘introduced’ me to some new people. It has been a reason to get up early to send my text off so I’m not last to do it. It is a reason to flick through my Dad’s old Scrabble dictionary to find some interesting words. It is a reason to be creative. I enjoyed V, I was suddenly very creative making up some stories.

But as soon as I saw this tea towel I thought of my aunt Catherine. The next stage of the Alphabet Challenge is (a) next week Z (b) then a 26 word sentence/s, each word starting with a different letter in alphabetical order and (c) finally, start again in alphabetical order but each week will have a ‘theme’. Another challenge. So I hope when it comes to the Bird Week Catherine will have at least one bird to put in.

The Clumber Park Rhubarb: 2021

 

Back in 2019, on 14 February, I wrote a Tea Towel Blog called ‘Yorkshire Rhubarb Crumble’. Early in February, it had been Liz’s Significant Birthday. Lyn, her sister, had bought her a ticket to a viewing, and talk, around the Rhubarb Sheds, in Yorkshire. It was a visit to the Rhubarb Triangle to see rhubarb ‘forced’ in the darkness. It was wonderful. This was a present that was so unusual. It’s all very well seeing the Rhubarb Triangle (between Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford) on TV, having fast footage of the Rhubarb growing, but seeing it ‘in the flesh’ was a different matter. We had bought some cut rhubarb and some rhubarb jam. But more than that, it sparked a fascination in Rhubarb for both of us.

Rhubarb Jam was really good; would I be able to do it as well? Rhubarb combined with ginger in jam was beyond words. Rhubarb Crumble, a standard, but homemade Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam was a miracle, absolutely delicious. The thing we learned was that the flavour of rhubarb is enhanced, not masked, by a combination with other fruits. We were determined to have some rhubarb of our own.

We prepared a bed in the garden, dressed it, to plant two different sorts of rhubarb. As the leaves began to show we knew, from books and Rob, that you should never cut the rhubarb in the first year after planting. It looks so beautiful, so ready to cut but we have withheld the temptation. I certainly hope next year will be a full harvest where we will be able to experiment with combination-mixes.

But that trip to the Rhubarb Sheds has also drawn us to visiting National Trust Walled Gardens, many of which grow rhubarb. We look at the beautiful terracotta rhubarb forcing pots, some very old. We admire beds and beds of different varieties of rhubarb. We have hundreds of photos of the plants, but always knowing ours will never be as voluptuous.

Yesterday, we went back to Clumber Park, a National Trust property in Nottinghamshire. They have Trampers. But all through Lockdown, and the emergence from it, the Trampers have been locked up, while other properties have released theirs. In the last couple of weeks they have come out from the dark, a bit like the rhubarb, and we booked one. Clumber Park is a beautiful expanse of parkland, heath and woods covering more than 3800 hectares (not that I’ve ever known what a hectare is, but its big).

More importantly, Clumber Park holds the National Rhubarb Collection, the second largest Collection in the world, with 130 varieties of culinary rhubarb, all grown in the fully restored, four acre walled garden and includes ‘Early Victoria’, ‘Holstein Blut’ and ‘Grandad’s Favourite’. The Walled Garden is a wonderful place to wander, photograph, smell, sit and admire. The tea towel above is inspired by Clumber Park’s Rhubarb Collection.

When I bought the tea towel, it was in the standard cardboard ‘band’, neatly folded. It was difficult to imagine, from the pieces of the tea towel that I could see, how it represented rhubarb, but open it out and its obvious. Strange though, as I hung it on the line to photograph I couldn’t decide if it should hang vertically or horizontally. So I’ve done both because I think both images are correct. I love it as a tea towel and I loved seeing the vast swathes of rhubarb plants growing and growing.

It’s a place for anyone who like rhubarb to visit (and of course you can buy some).

The Joy of tea Towel Sharing (18)

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In an earlier edition of the Joy of Tea Towel Sharing, my friend Gwyneth submitted some Class Tea Towels and one from the Kidsgrove Church. They weren’t hers but belonged to her friends from Kidsgrove U3A. I think these tea towels were supposed to ‘guarantee’ that I wouldn’t cancel my commitment to give a talk to the group about my Tea Towel Collection, a bit of bribery.

This tea towel might be an untimely ‘Headliner’ but deserves its place. I was invited to give a talk about my Tea Towel Collection, to the Kidsgrove branch of U3A. This was to be on Zoom on 29 June this year. My friend Gwyneth is a member and I assume she persuaded them to invite me. A Tea Towel Talk should be both visual and tactile; Zoom has its limitations in this respect. I don’t like giving talks, so if I was going to give one then Tea Towels is the subject I love most. It was a ‘hoot’. I had prepared a small slide show, with tea towels that had a story (that I wouldn’t forget). The audience was friendly, didn’t heckle and asked some questions. I think it is really good that groups like U3A have continued to ‘meet’ through the difficult times of the last 18 months. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Kidsgrove U3A. About a week later, a package dropped through my letter box, a delicious light thud. A card from Hilary, one of the members said “Dear Barbara, thank you for the talk to the U3A on Tuesday. It was very interesting. We have managed to source a tea towel that we sent a photo of, for your Collection. Best Wishes. Hilary”. And it was this one, a bit out of season but a delightful addition to my Christmas Collection and always a reminder of my first talk on Zoom.

I hope you read ‘The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (17)’ where there was a submission from @BitThing saying “Here’s the ones I didn’t buy” because today I will show you the ones @BitThing did buy. “Two tea towels from a recent short break in West Yorkshire. Salts Mill in Saltaire built by Titus Salt in 1853 and employed 3000 people. He introduced alpaca wool into weaving which made it more comfortable to wear and suitable for fashion. He improved the working conditions for mill workers and built houses and facilities for his employees. It was restored in 1980s and is an Art Gallery and Exhibition Centre with the most gorgeous shop selling the best in home design. Rhubarb, of course, because of the Rhubarb Triangle where, at its peak, it grew across 30 square miles between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. I love the colour of that one! Perfect”. I love a tea towel or two with a story, and I feel Saltaire is a place I must visit.

And now for a few from @Scarfie1 who has an eclectic taste in tea towels. “Time for a tea towel. This is my very special, bespoke-designed tea towel designed by @TheNestUK for @ArtSchoolLpool restaurant in honour of Chef Patron Paul “Porky” Askew”. This is followed by ‘Sleigh Ride’. “I think it may be from a Christmas Market in Germany or Aldi”

So @Scarfie moves from Aldi to @V_and_A. Clearly, from past showings @V_and_A has the most amazing collection of tea towels. “And this lovely fallen fruit from the @V_and_A ‘Food Bigger than the Plate’ exhibition. I loved the colours in this design. The photos have the colours looking paler than they really are. Much stronger and brighter”. And now the final two from @Scarfie1 which are from Provence and Madeira. “Two holiday tea towels for you” and then sent the Christmas picture “Ooops I posted the wrong photo. This is the correct one”

So I thank you all for taking part in #thejoyofteatowelsharing and I hope many more will be sent in from all your holidays!!

The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (17)

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It is 7 days since I last Blogged. Why? Too much Wimbledon and football, too much nice weather and going for a walk. Too many baby mice to get rid of that Isabella, the cat, has decided to bring into the house and drop, live. They are too young to run fast, so it is possible to remove them with the dust pan and brush and put them back in the Nature Reserve behind our bungalow. However, there was the day that Isabella decided a squirrel was a good catch. I saw it only because it had put its head between the floor bucket and the cat litter storage bucket, with a HUGE tail laid on the floor. Naively I assumed it was dead and bravely went into the lobby to remove it. As soon as I touched it, the tail twitched, I screamed and ran from the room. Fortunately, the lobby has a glass panel in the door so for half an hour I peered through. Nothing was happening, but it was alive. I am ashamed to say that my next move was this, via Text, with @GwynFraser:

“So now we have a half dead squirrel in the cat’s lobby with its head stuck down the side of a bucket. F–k!!!!”

“Half dead? If you put it outside with the cat, would she finish it off?”

“How the f–k would I know? Don’t they bite? I have to work myself up to go and move it first. I’ve got Liz’s big Tramper gloves on!! It’s also pooped on the floor. I’ve cleaned up the poop because at that point I hadn’t seen the squirrel.”

“If it’s quite lively you may need to guide it into a container. It will be looking for somewhere to hide”

“It’s lively cos I just poked it. Now it’s hidden behind the bucket and the cats’ bed. No problem if you can’t, but could you help deal with this? In return we could offer snacks and football”

“OK I’ll come over. Just don’t let it in the rest of the house!”

“Isabella in lounge with the door shut. Squirrel in lobby with door shut and window open”

“I’ll be a few minutes getting ready”

And, b—er me, if he didn’t arrive, go into the lobby, remove the squirrel, rehome it in the Nature Reserve, come back in, wash his hands and have a cup of tea. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

So, to my own ‘Headliner’ tea towel: ‘Geological Map of the British Islands (based on the work of the geological survey 1969)’. I love this one for so many reasons. I bought it on 6 July 2021, from the National Stone Centre. Sometime ago, Liz and I had arranged to meet with her sister and brother-in-law at Middleton Top. They were on holiday in the Peak District and this would be the first time we had seen them, in the flesh, for nearly two years, on Zoom yes but not in the flesh. Middleton Top is part of the Derbyshire Scheme for Tramper hire so we had booked the Tramper. We were not deterred by the fact that it rained and rained. A walk was a walk, a meeting up was a meeting up. We walked to the top of the Hopton Incline and back, not bad in the rain. And, by goodness, it was raining. After a couple of hours, we agreed a cup of tea would be good.

On the way, both Liz and Lyn had spotted the National Stone Centre, somewhere neither had heard of before. Stuff the stones, it had an airy cafe which turned out to be a very nice cafe with a small gift shop. You know the next step:

“I don’t suppose you have a tea towel?” I ask.

“Not of the Stone Centre but a geological map” the Volunteer responded.

“I’ll have it” I said excitedly. I think the Volunteer was somewhat puzzled as to why I would be so excited by a Geological Map tea towel. Just looking at it, took me back to my O/Levels, doing Geology and loving it so much, going on various field trips including to Durdle Door and Malham Tarn. There weren’t many of us who did Geology, but those that did, loved it.

The day ended with a planned outdoor meal at a local pub, lovely food, now dry weather, no people, they were all indoors. I can’t build myself up to eating indoors yet. A great day and a tea towel that has so many memories.

And now which tea towels will join #thejoyofteatowelsharing? There are some really interesting ones coming up. @dlenn7 sent in ‘Mickey Mouse’ “Mickey is from Disney World and only gets used to cover things up”. @CampievanBears has offered ‘Rude Britannia’ “This one is naughty”

Clearly, @Scarfie1 is a fan of tea towels associated with Royalty. The first is ‘Highgrove’ “One last Highgrove tea towel” (there have been two different ones in The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (15) already). @Scarfie1’s second offering is from an exhibition at Kensington Palace “Hello, maybe you will like my new tea towel I got on Thursday, from the ‘Royal Style in the Making’ exhibition at Kensington Palace? I’m really pleased with it. 90% cotton 10% linen and made in UK!!” @CampievanBears commented “It’s so appropriate this week as the Diana Memorial is being unveiled”

In contrast, from @claraclarabel “A recent gift from a lovely shop”. It is ‘Portobello’. From @Microbedoc2 (who did not send this to me but it was recommended by @Heledd_Wyn) is one of ‘The Lake District’ who said “Apparently, while purchasing souvenirs at Windermere, I became possessed by my 20 year-deceased great grandmother”

And finally, from @GeoffRimington is a ‘Tea Towel In Action’. It is one that I have already seen of his but I spotted this photo of his efforts at using up bananas by making Banana Bread. “I always put a tea towel on the cooling tray, Barbara. It’s one you’ve seen before”. @BitThing submitted ‘The Ones That Got Away’, having already bought some new tea towels while on holiday (to be shown at a later date) who says “Here’s the ones I didn’t buy”

I love the Lucienne Day one; @BitThing certainly can spot a stylish tea towel (even if she didn’t buy it).

Thank you to all who that taken part in #thejoyofteatowelsharing. Still more to come.

The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (16)

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1 July 2021 was a big day for me in the World of Tea Towels. First of all, it was the fourth birthday of http://www.virtualteatowelmuseum.com which I believe to be the only Virtual Tea Towel Museum in the world. The Pandemic has increased the number of tea towels in the Museum by probably more than 1000, not mine but because ‘Tea Towels and Lockdown’, ‘Opening Up’, ‘The Great Tea Towel Sharing’, ‘The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing’, ‘We’re all in this together’ have all introduced to the tea towels of others. People have shared so many tea towels and this can go on for evermore. However, I still need to transfer all theses images into the Museum; it will happen soon.

The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (15) was my 1100th Tea Towel Blog. Bloody Hell!! I never thought I’d get that far and not lose interest.

With all these exciting happenings, I went out for the day to Cromford Mills, to walk along the canal towpath, watch the little ducklings and goslings and teeny weeny baby coots. The sun was bright and hot; the sky perfectly clear giving a wonderful backdrop to the photos. A perfect day. I had decided that I would buy four tea towels, to celebrate the four years of the Museum but wasn’t hopeful because Cromford Mills hasn’t been fully opened very long, since the ‘opening up’ process began. I was wrong, and congratulations to Cromford Mills. I found four, actually I found more than four but getting four makes the story a tad better. The ‘Headliner’ photo has to be A Hanging of Tea Towels. To the left, next to the green tea pot, is a ‘What the Duck?’, from @i_like_birds. I love the colours, the image and I bought it in a cheese shop! The second one along is woven, from Craft Shop called ‘Weave Knitit’. I asked the woman in charge “I don’t suppose you have a tea towel?”

“Why would you say that?” she said.

“Because I’m often disappointed” I reply.

“We have a number” and I was left feeling challenged as to which I would buy. But woven? That sounds good and feels like going back to the start of tea towels in 18th century when they were handmade, embroidered, personalised. So that was Tea Towel Number 2. The third one comes from the Visitors Centre, ‘Derwent Valley Mills: A World Heritage Site’. These are tea towels recording history. I love the sharp black and white, clear lines, a feel of the Industrial Revolution. My last one was a discovery by Pete. He was looking at some outside stalls and held up my fourth. I was a distance away, without glasses, so couldn’t quite see what he was holding.

“I thought you’d like this, it’s half price” he says

“You bet I would” I say, grabbing it out of his hand. ‘Vintage Silverware’. “I really like the black colouring”. So I picked it up, took it in the shop which was where I found ‘What the Duck?’. A nice search for tea towels. A very successful day and by the time we got home, with a cup of tea, we all slumped in comfy chairs, falling asleep during Wimbledon but having caught the British successes.

What can #thejoyofteatowelsharing offer Readers today? Two ‘Happy Birthday’ wishes to the Virtual Tea Towel Museum? The first is from @emmaballltd, not a tea towel but a greetings card that made me feel very happy. The second one was from @townsendtowers “Found on Amazon”. A very kind gesture, and is a tea towel.

@CampievanBears sent in ‘The Bristol Alphabet’ by @ShelliGraham, such a distinctive style “Ooops, thought I had added this one” they said. When you have a lot of tea towels it can be difficult to keep track. In contrast, @dlenn7 sent in “A pumpkin, Halloween or autumn one”

Here comes, firstly, the weirdest tea towel I’ve seen in a long time from @Larrylovesbeer “One of my residents where I work has this tea towel. It honestly creeps me out….especially ‘Tomato Guy'”. Personally, it’s the ‘Pineapple Man’ that creeps me out, except I’m not even sure it’s a pineapple. But thanks to @Larrylovesbeer for thinking to take a photo of it! The second one is from @LynOwen11 who is on holiday. I asked if there were any tea towels in their holiday cottage. The reply was “All towels are the same design from M&S. They are good dryer uppers”.

The last two for today from @Scarfie1 which is “Princess Eugenie and Jack’s Wedding”. Very tasteful and I didn’t even realise there was one for that Royal Occasion. And @johnrstevens presents one from 78 Dernegate, in Northampton, the only house Charles Rennie MacIntosh designed in England that is still standing. “We were on our way to Nottingham and needed a lunch stop, had seen it on an antiques programme so booked it. Amazing if you like MacIntosh and have a spare hour. Saw this tea towel which wasn’t for sale”. I really love it when people have their cameras at the ready to take a photo of a tea towel!

And I will end with @pensionmonkey who said “I need to go through this lot” when I asked if anyone had any photos of tea towels. This is just a reminder, although I still have more to come.

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There are some in that pile that might be worth looking at!!

The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (15)

I’m really enjoying #thejoyofteatowelsharing, seeing all these tea towels owned by other people, tea towels I’ve never seen before and wondering why. It has given me the chance to look back through my own tea towels, and sometimes link them to the ones sent in. The ‘strap line’ for both the Blog and the Virtual Tea Towel Museum has always been ‘Every tea towel tells a story’ and today’s tea towels do just that.

My own ‘Headliner’ today is from 2012 London Olympics. I have to say that I went a bit overboard back in 2012 and probably bought ten tea towels relating to the London Olympics but I pick just three for you today. The tea towels relating to that event, I thought, were very stylish. While there was the ‘official’ merchandise there were also lots of others. The iconic London buildings, in the colours used by Stella McCartney, certainly stands out. I loved the middle one from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne which depicts the Olympic Games through the years. Since 2012, I have been saying that I would love to visit the Lausanne Museum, had it on my list of things to do in 2018 and look what happened after that. The one on the right was just Team GB logo. Just looking at them, talking about them brings all those memories back. After all, every tea towel does tell a story.

And @CampievanBears proves that, hence my ‘Headliner’. The tea towel presented today is the ‘Route of 2012 Torch Relay’. “A great memory of the Torch Relay which we saw a couple of times”. I replied about the time I saw it, in Conwy when I was on holiday. It was around 8am, which meant getting up very early. There was a sense of both excitement and community, a feeling of being at one with other people. After the Torch had passed through the town, we had decided to go up Snowdon, after having had a hearty breakfast. As we arrived at Snowdon there were camera crew, barriers to keep the crowds back. I remembered reading a crime mystery about someone being murdered on Snowdon so I thought something dramatic had happened. But no, this was Chris Bonnington, the mountain climber, coming back down Snowdon in the train, having taken the Torch to the top of the mountain. Another great memory. @CampievanBears replied “This is my Mum and Dad with the Torch carried by their District Nurse. Dad died in 2018 and Mum in February this year. We saw the relay at The Angel of the North, Durham and Halifax. We also watched so much of the online coverage and have a couple of miniature ones too”. @CampievanBears’s Torch Relay tea towel is something that creates real Tea Towel Envy in me. I love it

Moving on to a range of tea towels, probably not with such emotional memories. Beth, from California, sent in three ‘Cat Ones’. “The cat tea towels were an Amazon acquisition, too cute and inexpensive, to pass up”. It’s good to know that Amazon are able to serve up some cute and desirable tea towels. That comment from Beth made me laugh.

And finally, today, we’ll go a ‘bit royal’, all three from @Scarfie1. First are two from Highgrove, Prince Charle’s home and gardens. I’m told by @Scarfie1 “A couple from Highgrove. I have the map one in blue too. I think there was a purple version”. When I asked for a photo of the blue one, it could not be located. It was a cheek of me to even ask!! Then there was the Buckingham Palace one “Today’s tea towel offering. I’ve just noticed it’s a Golden Jubilee Special from 2002”. When I commented about the fact that there was some very nice ‘royal’ ones @Scarfie1 replied “The tea towels are often the most affordable, yet useful, souvenir you can buy at Royal Palaces”. How right that comment was; you often need a second mortgage to buy a mug! The Buckingham Palace tea towel provoked a comment, and photo, from @karenjane16ka “Thought of your posts today when I saw…this chair, used at the coronation of our Queen”

Thanks once again to the contributors to #thejoyofteatowelsharing. There are still more to come!!

The Joy of Tea Towel Sharing (14)

This wasn’t how I expected to start today’s Blog but I was inspired by @CampievanBears. No tea towel posted but sent a message directed to @myteatowels. “A lovely story or two here. A couple that discovered they were on the same tea towel. Aahhh”. The story started with @rdbarrowauthor “My friend just reminded me that in Primary School we all had to draw a picture of ourselves and they printed the classes’ doodles on to a tea towel. Did anyone else do the same or is Devon just a bit odd like that?”. And the pictures of Class Tea Towels came flooding in.

So I am starting today’s #thejoyofteatowelsharing with my own Class Tea Towel. By my own, I mean one that I acquired many years ago. This is Dovelands Upper Junior School 1992-93, from Leicester. You will see, somewhere in the midst of those children, @JaiMackenzie. Easy to spot because of the unique name (and hairstyle). Jai is now a university lecturer, not in art. Her mother had virtually no tea towels but had saved this one for nearly 30 years and has let me have it in the Virtual Tea Towel Museum.

But I have many more Class Tea Towels that I have acquired over the years. One from Sgoil Bhagh a Chaistell 2012/13 (or Barra as many Readers will know of it). There is a Tiree Pre 5 Group in the Hebrides or perhaps a picture of Canna School, drawn by the children but not signed by them (probably because there were so few children in the school, probably about 3 at the time). I have a 2016 one from Ecole de Wix Primary School and Chacewater Church of England Primary School. There is Putney Park Lower School 1991-92. Oscar is holding his Class Tea Towel but I can’t remember which school it was (sorry). The Merry Christmas one was a unique design where each child, in a Suffolk school, could design their own tea towel, with a footprint in the centre and finally, All Saints Easton. This one was given to me by my Chiropodist!! We were talking about what I did in my retirement. Never ask me that. He was interested and later dropped this tea towel round for me. It was from his nephew’s school and he had more than one. So here are mine!!

So in response to @rdbarrowauthor places all over do the crazy Class Tea Towels but then you already know that because of the many stories that were sent in, after that post. @KatyCutprice said “Yes here’s our son George’s tea towel from when he was in nursery 20 + years ago. You will see Juliet on the row above him. They did not know each other at the time but recently celebrated six years together. They only discovered they were on the same tea towel last year”. @suerelaxkidsman said “I still have my daughter’s tea towel. She is now 23. Look at Rebecca’s fantastic drawing”

@neileley said “30 years on – still have our daughter’s tea towel” and finally, from @Mo_Ottara “We have a tea towel from my daughter’s Year 2 class. Too cute.”

And, of course, I haven’t included any that were sent in, and have already appeared in ‘Tea Towels and Lockdown’. #thejoyofteatowelsharing will continue over the next few days. Thank you for letting me see all these wonderful tea towels. I reckon many of these might have been the work of @ClassPrinting!!