Swimming Pool Open: 2017 (original date unknown)

This is a smallish, fluffy, terry-towelling, tea towel with a very cute picture.  It is unlike most of the other tea towels that I own.  But I love it and it now has some very special memories; I suspect some people may be shocked by the manner in which I acquired this tea towel.  I am not ashamed; I can hold my head up high (or can I?).

Today I was visiting Alan and Christine.  Alan and Christine were my next door neighbours for about 12 years, until they moved to Norfolk about two years ago.  We have kept in touch through email, by some fleeting visits when they have returned to Leicester  briefly and when we have been able to call and see them in Norfolk and spend the day with them.  Keeping in touch has not been easy because of the personal traumas that we all have been through in the last couple of years.  But we have succeeded in maintaining contact because Alan and Christine are the sort of people that we may not have seen for over a year but we can pick up where we left off, with no false pretence of friendship, just a real interest in exchanging news of family, holidays, illnesses, friends, gardens, animals, cars, moving and much more.  I like that, that is exactly what friendship is about, going with the flow.

Alan and Christine were just the sort of neighbours we all should have: not interfering or grumpy, always helpful; the sort of people you could ask advice from about everything from disposing of dead mice to building a garden gate; they were the sort of people who would look after the cats and chickens when we went on holiday, and we would feed their fish and garden birds and water their plants in return; Liz and Christine would exchange advice on growing vegetables and swop plants; Alan built me some flower troughs from some spare decking, in exchange for using up the remains.  One of the most poignant moments was the four of us digging a grave for Charlie the Cat, in the pouring rain, all shedding the odd tear.

So, today, we visited Alan and Christine and, needless to say, at some point, the subject of tea towels came up.  I merely asked Christine if she had a favourite tea towel (always on  the look-out for a potential Guest Tea Towel for the Virtual Tea Towel Museum); she said she didn’t, in fact, couldn’t remember what she had.  She disappeared into the kitchen only to return with 6 or 7 tea towels.  I asked if I could take a photo of her holding some; she was agreeable.  Of course, I got excited about seeing tea towels I had never seen before; she offered me this one and, I am ashamed to say, I accepted, with no hesitation.  She then offered me three more and I accepted those as well.  I have to ask myself, was that a polite thing to do?  Do you expect guests to come to your house and go away with four of your tea towels?  Well, I certainly wouldn’t; I wouldn’t let one out of my sight but what about other people who are not so obsessive about tea towels?  The answer is that it is, possibly, an extraordinary thing to do but, however, I am so grateful to Christine because these are some lovely tea towels.  They will be integrated into my collection and the subject of further Blogs. I have promised to send Christine a couple of my ‘duplicate’ tea towels, that I haven’t rehomed yet, in exchange for her gift to me.  I’m not sure she was so excited about this as I was to get her four tea towels!!

Today was a delightful way to spend a warm sunny Friday, chatting, drinking loose leaf tea in the garden, going out for a meal and finishing off with a piece of home-made cake. Thank you, Alan and Christine and I bet you are excited about guessing which tea towels you are going to get!!

PS: Explanation of the photographs – there is a picture of Christine with her tea towel before she handed it over.  Izzy was very excited about this and wanted to get in the picture so you don’t get the full beauty of it and then one of me holding it so you can see the full detail.  I’d like to reassure my friend Fee that when it appears in the Virtual Tea Towel Museum it will be photographed in the ‘standardised’ manner!


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