How to look after your Tea Towels: February 2017

If you look on the internet for hints as to the best way of looking after your tea towels, you will find loads of websites, and suggestions, that involve promoting specific washing powders.  What is clear from these sites is that the terms ‘tea towels’, dish cloths’, ‘dish towels’, ‘kitchen cloths’, ‘dish dryer’ (and many others) are used interchangeably.  I use the term ‘tea towel’ to mean the piece of cloth designed for drying dishes after they have been washed up, when they are clean.  I’m not talking about towels you wipe your hands on or cloths to wipe down work surfaces.  The first stage to caring for your tea towels is to only use them for the purpose for which they were designed.  If used properly, a tea towel should never become stained and should last forever (or nearly forever)!

  • Tea towels are not designed for wiping your hands.  You need a hand towel for that, a robust one that can be washed frequently, and at high temperatures.  There is a danger that, when a tea towel is used for wiping hands, they might also be used for wiping the dirt off, as well as for drying your hands.  The dirt stains tea towels e.g. if you have been peeling or cleaning potatoes your hands might be muddy; if, however, you have been preparing beetroot that is certainly a different level of stain!!  I have three sorts of ‘tea towel’ that I reserve for hand drying, and keep separately: two black ones, a Madeira honeycomb cotton and a New York thick cotton plus a gaudy, towelling one from Fuerteventura.  All three can be washed at high temperatures if necessary but because of their design they do not retain any signs of permanent stain
  • Tea towels should not be used for wiping down work surfaces.  JCloths, paper towels and sponges are designed for this purpose.  Once you start wiping a surface not only are the chances of a tea towel being stained increased but there is a danger of spreading germs.  It is not always possible to see the germs you might be spreading; disposable cloths are appropriate. You don’t want to have to throw away a tea towel costing £13 if it has been used to wipe down a surface where beetroot, jam, stewed fruit etc has been; there is bound to be stains, stains that are just not possible to remove
  • Tea towels should never be placed in a laundry basket damp.  This can cause mildew, spread germs and the stains from mildew are difficult to eradicate; you get tiny black spots and they can also smell mouldy.
  • Obviously, the best way of caring for your tea towel is not to use it at all (not something I recommend).  Nicky’s Aunt’s tea towel is from 1976 (41 years old). Pristine.  Immaculate.  Full of bright colours.  The answer? She didn’t use it, or any of the other 16 that I inherited.  This means you are using a tea towel as a decorative feature, rather than as a useful object.  The colours are amazing considering their age.
  • Never boil a tea towel; it can seem like the obvious thing to do but tea towels aren’t meant for boiling, or for being washed at very high temperatures.  The following two tea towels are a good example.  The one from Wells Cathedral has been washed correctly.  Bought in 1995, it has retained its colours perfectly.  However, the one from Traquir House, only a few years earlier , was boiled on a couple of occasions because there were stains and it has suffered from the effects of this.
  • However, the practical method is to look at the washing instructions.  If we buy a cashmere jumper or a silk shirt, we will always look at the washing instructions: maximum temperature for water, whether it can be machine washed or if hand washing is necessary, whether it can be dried in a tumble-dryer, how it should, or should not, be ironed.  There seems to be an assumption that putting a tea towel in a hot wash is fine.  The washing instructions may be on a label or actually printed on the tea towel; always follow the instructions.  Never assume that because one tea towel says that you can wash it at 60 degrees, the same will apply to all tea towels.
  • Tea towels are made from a wide variety of materials: from linen to linen mix, from unbleached cotton to bleached cotton, from 100% cotton to 50%linen, 50% cotton.  They all require different methods.  Some you can tumble dry, some you can’t; some you can iron, some you can’t.
  • Never follow Dorothy’s example of putting a plastic hook in the material.  One rough wash with heavier articles, like a towel, and the plastic could rip a hole in the material.

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  • Be careful what items you put in a wash with a tea towel.  All items should be of a similar weight.  The reality is that a tea towel is a small and light-weight item; a heavier weight can entangle itself in the tea towel.  My Tattershall Castle one got caught up with a bath towel several years ago and one small rip has meant the edges continue to fray every time that it is washed.

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  • Don’t use biological washing powder on tea towels because it will mean the colours will fade more quickly.  All those handy internet sites suggest biological washing powder to prevent the spread of germs.  We come back to the best way of looking after your tea towel is to use it for the correct use, no wiping down work surfaces.
  • Tea towels should be ironed slightly damp so that they can be stretched back into the correct shape.  You can see some of my tea towels have a slightly weird look.  The one from Aberglasney Gardens wasn’t ironed damp, in fact it was much too dry and therefore the shape could not be restored.  I will have to wait until the next wash

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  • I have recently found that the best way for tea towels to retain their shape is to hang them, rather than fold them.  I recognise that this could be considered a waste of space in ordinary households.  However, before I discovered the trouser-hanger method of storage I did find that the least folds the better; if you can lay a tea towel fully flat, rather than folded, there are less places for additional signs of wear. A long shallow shelf can be effectively used rather than full shelves in an airing cupboard or drawer.
  • Relegate old tea towels to the duster cupboard so that you have a source of cloths to grab in the event of an accident or greasy wiping up.  That way you will not be tempted to grab a newer tea towel that has many years left in it.  Thus, you will conserve the lives of newer tea towels, by making sure than you don’t use them for incorrect usages.
  • When Jean moved into a care home, she passed her tea towels to me.  Jean was a ‘bleach it within an inch if its life’ sort of a woman (and if you can’t bleach it, boil it!).  She has many tea towels which I would not want to get rid of but they do show the signs of misuse!  The one on the left, in its former days of glory, had a row of different blue teapots, the middle one was once a vibrant reminder of her trip to Cambridge where the colours were deep claret and black and the one on the right was a souvenir from Inverewe gardens which once had a picture of the gardens in the left hand corner.  The Cambridge one is linen and boiling has certainly caused fraying round the edges.  The other two are honey-comb cotton and have definitely lost their shape.
  • These days dishwashers mean less ‘ordinary’ washing and wiping up.  The only things left to be washed by hand are those heavy duty dishes, roasting tins etc.  Make sure you don’t use an ordinary tea towel to wipe them up; it is very difficult to remove all the grease and stains from roasting pans so inevitably the tea towel will be stained.  Find an alternative – kitchen roll, relegated tea towels, JCloths etc.  My Edinburgh Festival tea towel from 1976 shows the damage that it can cause.
  • My worst fear is getting a tea stain on a tea towel; I can never get rid of them.  As someone who drinks a lot of tea this is a problem.  Any handy hints always welcome and will be added to the blog.

The fact is, that once you have stained a tea towel, you can try biological washing powders, boiling, stain remover or fancy tricks with vinegar; all these methods will have an effect on the quality, and longevity, of your tea towel and may never remove the stain.  At the end of the day, tea towels are a usable, useful item; stains are part of the memories associated with them and as long as they are clean, they should be fine.  After all, ‘stain’ isn’t the same as ‘dirt’!!

A Scots Toast: 1998

 

img_0093I know too many Davids; it can be confusing. On 8 February 2017, my Tea Towel Blog was called ‘David’s Gift’ and was about three tea towels David Allan gave me which had belonged to his aunt.  The letter he wrote to me also referred to the ‘Scots One’; obviously three Australian ones did not involve the ‘Scots One’.  Yesterday, I sorted out my tea towels, counted them and hung them up.  In this process I found the ‘Scots One’.

David’s letter said “I should perhaps explain the Scots One!! A ‘girnal’ is a granary which the wee mouse should not leave with a ‘tear drap in its e’e’ (i.e. hungry). A ‘lum’ is a chimney which keeps ‘blithely’ (happily) ‘reeking’ (smoking).  If nothing else, one can smoke up the chimney!  (Stuff the anti-smoking lobby!!). I also found an old diary of my Granny’s in which she has written ‘Teach a man and you teach that one person, Teach a woman and you teach a whole family’.  I’m thinking there’s a wee bit truth in that one, maybe she told me that long ago.  At any event, both she and my mother were adamant that you speak to women as equals and not as some kind of chattel or inferior mortal.  Nae bad for someone born in 1885.  There’s a lot to be said for collaborating rather than competing”.  I was very fond of David, who had a warm heart, kind words and was totally committed to equality for all.  He was slightly eccentric, always carried three plastic carrier bags around, stuffed full of bits of paper that he had cut from the daily newspaper, always relevant and up to date.  David was also very deaf, had very old hearing aids that whistled; he was very tall, well over 6 foot and his back suffered for it.  As I use his tea towels that he rescued from his aunt’s house, after she died, I will always remember him and his hard work as a Trustee of the organisation that I worked for.

For anyone interested, the Scots Toast has always been a Wedding Toast, never attributed to anyone, often with an odd change of word.  Thank you David.

Glengoyne Distillery: 1984

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When you talk about ‘the North’, how do you define it?  How do you know when you have moved from the south into the north? One of the great imponderables of life.  It’s the same with the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland; how do you know when you are in the Highlands? Is there a big road sign? It’s a question that has challenged Glengoyne Distillery and makes it one of it’s unique features.  Glengoyne Distillery is the only distillery to make a Single Highland Malt Whiskey that is matured in the Lowlands.  Because? The ‘Highland Line’ runs under the A81, the division between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland.  The Glengoyne Distillery site crosses the A81; the whiskey is distilled in the Highlands and then matured in the storage shed which are just across the road, in the Lowlands.

If you look at the tea towel, with the picture of a very traditional whiskey distillery, that is exactly how I remember Glengoyne 33 years ago; a wonderful setting, not too large, with iconic buildings.  I saw it on a beautiful sunny day; John and I were having a day off from a ‘heavy’ programme from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  We were seeing up to seven shows a day so taking a day off was a great idea.  John thought it was good because he liked the taste of the Glengoyne Malt and was going to buy a bottle.  I liked the idea because I had a feeling that there would be a tea towel.  What I like about this tea towel is that the picture, together with the Royal Warrant, is large enough to be clearly seen.

Just north of Glasgow, Glengoyne has been described as “the most beautiful distillery in Scotland”.  Whiskey has produced continuously here since 1833, although there were illicit stills for many years prior to that.  It is unique in that Glengoyne does not use peat to dry the barley but warm air.  That’s what I like about distilleries, they each have their own unique selling points.  I do think that in 1984 Glengoyne was understated and unpretentious; no big Visitors Centre, just a small shop selling what it should – whiskey (and, of course , tea towels).   That’s not to say it isn’t like that now, but I haven’t been back so I can’t  say. I have lovely memories of that visit and those memories come flooding back as I do the wiping up.

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Deanston Distillery: 2017

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I probably visited my first distillery in about 1983; distilleries  were John’s interest.  He enjoyed a glass of single malt; he liked trying different flavours and I liked collecting the tea towels from the distilleries.  It was a weakness of ours, in that we both liked collecting things, that we also collected miniatures, produced by any distillery we visited.  John built three sets of shelves with seven shelves on each.  Each shelf could take a minimum of seven, and a maximum of twelve, bottles.  John never drank those bottles; he would buy a full size bottle instead, which would last a very long time.  The problem with having a lot of miniatures is that they gather dust and it is a faff dusting them all.  After John died, I continued to dust the miniatures, and even added to them occasionally.  After about 15 years, I decided that the miniatures were John’s; I was never going to drink them and I didn’t want to dust another bottle.  I knew that Lynn and Helen liked malt whiskey and one day I decided that I would give all the miniatures to them.  I wrapped each bottle up in different pieces of wrapping paper, put them in a box and gave them away.  I felt good about that; they were going to a home where they would be appreciated, literally because I said that it was fine if they drank them (which they did).  They enjoyed the process of trying different malts, deciding which they liked (and which they didn’t).

Having got rid of the miniatures that I had collected, I find I still love going to distilleries.  I love the history of the buildings; I love finding out about any links with old, illegal stills; I love the countryside in which they are set; I love finding the water, running in the burn, which is used in the process of distilling whiskey.  I like the fact that, because the Scottish distilleries are part of a big tourism drive, you can bank on there being a good quality cafe or tea room and a shop. In distillery terms, a shop usually means a tea towel.

I called in at the Deanston Distillery, on my way back home from Aberdeen.  I’d never been there before.  The building is impressive, a former cotton factory, built in 1785 by Richard Arkwright, on the River Teith.  In fact, Deanston Distillery is the only distillery in Scotland to be self sufficient in electricity, hydro-electricity.  In distillery terms, it is relatively new in that it was converted from the cotton mill into a distillery in 1966 and was opened by the actor Andrew Cruickshank (of Dr Findlay’s Casebook fame; how I loved that programme!).  I knew there would be a tea room; I am so glad I stopped because it was fantastic.  I would recommend the Macaroni Cheese with Haggis.  Never had it before but if I saw it on a menu again, I would definitely order it.  The tea room was amazing with probably some of the heaviest chairs that I have ever had to pull out!  After a splendid lunch, I moved on to the shop.  There it was, a honeycomb cotton, pure white tea towel with the logo of Deanston Distillery embroidered at the bottom.  It was a joy to photograph this tea towel, in its pristine state, before I have used it and therefore it is without stains.  I bought two different miniatures, one each for Lynn and Helen.  It doesn’t seem right going to a distillery and not buying a miniature.

One of the things that Deanston has done is to link up with a chocolatier so there are a range of chocolates on sale.  One of the tours they do is about whiskey and chocolate tastings.  I wonder if I could share a ticket with with Lynn; she could do the whiskey tasting bit and I could chomp my way through the chocolate!

I loved Deanston Distillery and I will definitely call in again on my way to Aberdeen; a great place.  Having photographed the tea towel, I look forward to using it and remembering that visit.

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Address to a Haggis: 2017

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It is February 2017; if you are looking at this Tea Towel Blog, with a date of 2017, the likelihood is that I am ‘on the move’.  I’ve just spent six days in Aberdeen; I’ve been staying in the former Engine Room of Girdleness Lighthouse, which is rented out as a holiday cottage.  This was truly delightful: thick walls, excellent heating system, cast iron bath (and a separate walk-in shower), tweed-covered sofa, leather armchairs with button-studded backs, as good a wifi reception as you could ask for, kitchen with traditional wooden cupboard doors and a hamper on arrival.  I couldn’t have asked for more, yet I got it.  Pinned on the kitchen door was a beautiful tea towel, a tea towel showing the location of all the Scottish Lighthouses.  Perfect.  The owner of the cottage told me that they were available from the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses; I did warn him that this tea towel might be in jeopardy, if I couldn’t get one.

As soon as I had unpacked, I got the map out to see where the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses was, in relation to where I was staying.  About an hour’s drive. Easy peasy.  I was in Aberdeen to see Jean, my friend, who lives in a Nursing Home.  Jean is 91; all her family live in England or Inverness.   I hadn’t travelled all this way, just to go off on day trips.  There was lots to do: supporting her using FaceTime to talk to her younger brother, in Hertfordshire, and her great niece  and two great- great nieces in Suffolk, helping her choose new clothes from M&S because she was in need of them, looking at family photos on the iPad.  However, Friday morning is her trip to Musical Memories, Jean’s favourite activity, so time for me to get to Fraserburgh.

I knew that the Lighthouse tea towel would be a great reminder of my trip to Aberdeen, staying in Aberdeen Lighthouse, walking along the Esplanade in shockingly windy weather, the first snow of the year, a trip to Duthie Park, walking through the Glasshouses, Fish and Chips at the Ashvale (somewhere that Jean always loved), Haggis, Neeps and Tatties at Howie’s Restaurant which Rob recommended to me, watching the film Kinky Boots in the warm cottage, while the wind howled outside and having a great time with Jean.  We set off for Fraserburgh in bright sunshine on the Friday morning, with a higher temperature than had been around the rest of the week; this was rapidly followed by a snowstorm; certainly very weird and changeable weather.  The Museum was very easy to find.  From the car park, I could see their tea towels hanging from a hook and pinned on the wall.  I marched into the shop, no messing about looking at the Lighthouse until I had secured my tea towel.  There was no tea towel; I searched through the ones I could see but no Lighthouse tea towel.  I checked, re-checked, double-checked but still no lighthouse tea towel.  Fortunately, I had taken a photo of the tea towel.  I talked to the staff; there must have been desperation in my voice.  I showed them the photo.  They loved it but they haven’t had any for at least two years.  Once they had run out of the original stock, replacements were prohibitively expensive and suppliers wanted this tiny shop to place large orders.  The shop sells a good range of Scottish tea towels, generalist tea towels that may appeal to tourists but they are designs that can be bought all over Scotland; I know that because I have a number of them already.

As a tea towel collector, I now had a dilemma; I would like a reminder of this trip but they didn’t have anything specific.  Then I spotted the ‘Address to a Haggis’; that would do.  I then went round the museum, starting with a guided tour to the original Kinnaird Head Lighthouse and outbuildings, which was the first lighthouse built in Scotland in 1787.  It is a fascinating, captivating museum; a combination of artefacts used by Lighthouse Keepers, their Log Books, living quarters laid out, the history of both Lighthouses and the careers of Lighthouse Keepers.  It is a excellent example of a museum of social history.  Then there are the lens, light bulbs and loads of photos, both old and new.  Apparently, the photographer Keith Allardyce undertook a project to photograph images of Lighthouses and their keepers during the period that lighthouses became automated, to ensure that those images and history were not lost.  They are brilliant.  The museum has a great tea room at the top of the building, overlooking the sea. You do not want to leave.

As we finally turned to leave, the woman from the shop called across to me saying she was glad she hadn’t missed me.  Ten minutes after we originally spoke, a man from a tea towel production company rang.  She discussed the problem they had about having no tea towel dedicated to the Museum.  She talked about that fact they originally had a tea towel and he wanted to see the original tea towel.  Thank goodness for modern technology.  The image was texted to her; she forwarded it to the tea towel manufacturer. Both she and I were very excited; she took my details and promised to contact me if they ever had a Museum of Scottish Lighthouses tea towels again.  That feels good.  I want to be the first person to buy one!!

What I haven’t explained is why I chose the ‘Address to a Haggis’.  This sort of generic tea towel would not be my first choice of tea towel because it does not locate me in time and place.  However, when Jean’s sister-in-law, Dorothy died, I helped sort out her photos.  There were a series of photos of her dressed up with a tartan shawl.  I wondered what these were about.  Apparently, David, Dorothy’s husband was called upon each year to read the Address to a Haggis at the Burns Night Dinner held at the Golf Club (probably because he was one of the few Scots-born members and with a Scottish accent).  The Burns Night Dinner traditionally starts with the Haggis paraded in on a silver salver, the Robert Burns poem is then read, before the Haggis is carved.  This tea towel is full of cartoon Haggises with some of the words of the Address to a Haggis interwoven; in fact, Robert Burns wrote eight verses but this tea towel only has verses one, seven and eight (otherwise it would be a very large tea towel, more like a table cloth).  Somehow, this tea towel brings together strands from the lives of David, Dorothy and Jean; I like that.  There are two things missing, however; firstly, I haven’t got a tea towel of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and secondly, I have never been to a Burns Night Dinner and I think I would really like to do that.  Perhaps one day, in the meantime I will wait for a tea towel of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, while enjoying my haggises!

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David’s Gift: 1998

In my Tea Towel Blog about Chickens (dated 4/2/17), I talked about the process of ‘downsizing’.  I have been taking this very seriously and have started at a leisurely pace.  I have two drawers, in a huge tallboy which are labelled ‘Sentimental Items’.  If I am honest, because these are exceptionally deep drawers, they have been the recipients of letters, birthday and Christmas cards, programmes, tickets, invitations and much more; things I can’t  decide if I want to keep, but while there is space I will save.  The fact is, that if I downsize, my new home will definitely not have the space for so much ‘stuff’.  In sorting out these drawers, I came across a letter from David Allan, dated 8 March 1998.  I worked with David for many years; he was a Trustee of three charities I worked for.  He was a delightful, if somewhat eccentric man, a passionate exponent of equal rights for disabled people with a great interest in dyslexia.  He had never married but was very close to all his family who were scattered the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

As I read the letter I was reminded of his kindness and thoughtfulness.  The letter said “You may know that my aunt died in December.  At any event, I have been in Scotland to sort out the resulting offices with my brother and sister.  Came across these three dish cloths which I thought you might like to add to your collection”.  David’s family originated from Scotland; his aunt lived in Aberdeen.  He didn’t tell me much about her except that, some time ago, she had visited Australia to see family, which is where these tea towels came from.  Looking at the tea towels, David’s aunt was obviously interested in the history of Australia!

David died about eight years ago and after his death his sister came to see me at my work.  I was able to remind her that I was the ‘custodian’ of some of her aunt’s Australian tea towels (this resulted in me acquiring a couple more).  The letter and the tea towels  bring back some fine memories of David and his slightly eccentric ways.

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Chickens: 2010

If you have a spare few minutes, one afternoon, you might watch “Escape to the Country”; the most frequently used word in that programme is ‘downsizing’.  This is about people who say they want to reduce the size of their home and move to the country.  The programme is based a round some kind of romantic dream that people have, of moving to the country.  As soon as people start looking at properties, the reality strikes home and people start adding “I want a larger kitchen”, “We need four bedrooms”, “I plan to keep horses”.  The reality is that you have to think through what ‘downsizing’ means to you, because it is not a term with a universal meaning; ‘downsizing’ means different things to different people.

At my age, ‘downsizing’ for me means (a) a smaller garden to manage, somewhere to grow a few vegetables but not have a vegetable garden (b) a single storey dwelling, could be a flat, could be a bungalow but if it is a flat, and not a flat on the ground floor, there must be a lift (c) a smaller amount of rooms to clean and maintain and finally (d) a reduced amount of ‘things’; things you don’t need; things you have just stored away because you have the space to do so; things that you have lost interest in; things that you have forgotten you still have.  For me, the process of ‘downsizing’ has to take place over a period of time; if you are going to clear the unwanted goods, this has to be done systematically, thoughtfully and with reason.  If not done this way, ‘downsizing’ will just be one big regret, wishing you had done things differently and bringing on a sense of loss.  Doing ‘downsizing’ properly means that you do not leave others to go through this process on your behalf, when you are unable to do it for yourself.

The bottom line for me is that (a) I take all my tea towels (b) ‘downsizing’ will not be an end to collecting tea towels (c) I need my two cats; after that, it is about sorting, clearing, giving away things.  I do not currently have anything in the loft and, if I moved, I would not want to resort to the loft as a storage area.  I am seriously thinking about ‘downsizing’; I have already gone through all my wardrobes, drawers and cupboards.  Let’s face it, why would I keep five skirts that I have not worn for over 10 years, and have no intention of wearing again; the answer is, ‘because I have the space to do so’.  The charity shop benefitted from 15 bags of clothes and miscellaneous items.  Books are more difficult.  I read, always have read, but in the last four years, I have only read on a Kindle.  Holding, and propping up, heavy books does not making reading a pleasure any more. So why do I need so many books?  There are some books that have sentimental value, a few ‘coffee table’ books, history and geography books, but after that there is about 1000 books that I have no need of; so that is my next task.  Then there are the photos: photos in albums, photos in wallets from Boots, slides (with no slide projector), cine films (with no cine projector), photos flung in the odd box, photos in the drawer of sentimental items, photos in a scrap book (actually ten scrap books), photos inherited from my parents and John (mainly of people that I don’t know).  In this digital age, so much can be done with photos so they can be seen, looked at and enjoyed, rather than just cluttering up the place.  One of the best gifts I have been given is a digital photo screen where you can load over 2000 photos that change every 20 seconds.  Here I have an ever-changing image of photos of holidays and people; increase the digital memory, enjoy more photos.  So there is another task.

These things give me targets to work to, but every time I embark upon the ‘downsizing’ process, the question of chickens springs to mind.  As a toddler, I was looked after by Mr and Mrs Wright who kept chickens.  Chickens were there as part of my very early childhood (that is until Mr Wright wrung a chicken’s neck in front of me and my mother decided that these were unsuitable people to look after me).  For the last 13 years, I have kept chickens, not fancy feather-footed hens but layers, sometimes ex-batts, sometimes from a poultry breeder.  Not only have they offered me a constant source of eggs but also company.  Chickens like human company; they are good to talk to at times of stress or when you want advice (they aren’t so good giving advice but they are good listeners).  How would I cope without chickens?  If I lived in a small bungalow, with a small garden then I could ‘downsize’ on the number of chickens I kept; that cuts out a first floor flat!  ‘Downsizing’ is about prioritising and chickens are a priority!

The Emma Bridgewater tea towel, at the top of the blog, sums up how I feel about chickens.  I love the way she draws chickens; she is able to capture their quirkiness, their differences.  When I use this tea towel, I remember the shop where I bought it, in the middle of Ross-on-Wye, a delightful town and it does keep my focus on the process, importance and priorities of ‘downsizing’.  You will note there is a second tea towel on the subject of chickens.  I bought that one in Lavenham, where there was a great tea room serving loose leaf tea.  Beyond that, I assume I bought it because it was chickens and I like chickens.  That, too, was in 2010.  It could probably be regarded as a bit excessive buying it but I like a good tea towel with a chicken or two and let’s face it, I know there are more to come as they rise to the top of the airing cupboard pile!

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