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My Big Fat Scottish Tea Cup

I open the cupboard door. What am I looking for? Sometimes it’s the appearance. Other times, it’s the feel I want on my lips… or perhaps a certain memory induces me. Then again, my mood can affect where on the shelf my hand goes.

As a tea drinker, I sense that some people may think I’m a bit nuts! But I’m betting, that as you read this, you will identify whether you want to admit it or not!

I can’t speak for coffee drinkers. But as a tea drinker, I have formed many a relationship with the vessel! I’ve noticed more and more that it’s a borderline obsession!

Where do I start?

Nostalgia definitely has its place in my cupboard. It’s that tea party hospitality feeling that goes with thoughts of grandmother and Lady Baker! Particularly on a weekend, when I allow for reflection, I head to the china cabinet where I house my grandmother’s (on my mother’s side) Limoge china set. Apparently it made its trip from France in crates of sand to my great grandmother’s dining room in western Prince Edward Island way back in the 1800s. The lip of the cup is so fine, I can hardly feel it when I sip. I am quite intrigued by the feelings I experience with this inanimate object in hand. My ancestry (what I know of it) has had a positive and reflective impact on me.


Though since divorced, I have very fond memories of a hiking honeymoon in Britain. Walking past a quaint shop in Oban, Scotland, a set of dishes caught my eye. Four very large colourful ‘breakfast’ cups and saucers dominated an attractive window display. This was one of those ‘must have’ moments! Unable to carry them any distance in our rugged backpacks, this set of four was shipped to my parents on Prince Edward Island for safe keeping. They made it in eight unbroken pieces (no sand required)! But alas,16 years later, my fifth child, being very adventuresome with our golden lab, tied her leash (with dog attached) to the door handle of our free-standing china cabinet in the living room, ordering her to "stay" while he went off to do something else. Need I say more? I still gasp when I think of that moment! Two of the cups and all four saucers remained intact. Amazingly, the bowed glass door of the ‘secretary’ did not break!

This Scottish cup is my choice on a Sunday morning when I can muse about the life I have been given while I take time to write a bit in my journal. It’s big and fat and holds a lot of tea!


A 12 oz. mug, with the appliqued Scottish Thistle, is usually my morning quick-cup-of-tea-with-breakfast cup before leaving the house. It’s a basic white mug with roomy handle space so I don’t have to be as mindful of how I pick it up. I have applied great meaning to this start-of-my-day cup. The motto of the Scottish Thistle is Nemo me impune lacessit (nobody attacks me with impunity) or in simpler terms, Who dares meddle with me…

I gifted each of my four daughters with this same mug one Christmas recently. This mug inspires me to be the woman I am with confidence and dignity, no matter what! It’s a great day-starter!


Sometimes certain feelings like weariness and frustration naturally draw me to a cozy place wrapping both hands around a hot mug of tea. Yellow is my favourite colour. I have only one yellow mug. It’s sturdy and meets me half-way with these uncomfortable feelings. I’ve had it for a long, long time. It was pottered by my friend, Daphne of Village Pottery, and that makes it even more soothing to hold as I discern the turmoil within! 

Can I go as far as to say that cups have their own personalities? Does it really matter into what I pour my tea? The tea itself is very important but I dare say, the same tea can taste so much better when poured into the cup that speaks to me at that time. Am I crazy? You don’t need to answer that!

Something that has always been a no-no for me is tea-to-go in an insulated paper cup with a lid. And yet, that is how we sell our liquid teas at the Farmers’ Market. We sell a lot of them! But when I use one, I cannot make any connection with the vessel! Perhaps this is related to my values that tea is a sit-me-down beverage and the term ‘tea-to-go’ is an oxymoron of sorts.


Yes, there are times that I reach for a cup without connecting any dots. I just want a cup of tea in a nothing special vessel! I came across a couple of plain white, restaurant-style cups and saucers in my storage a while back. They’re plain and convenient. Their personalities are perhaps flat and yet they mix well with my favourites! They are adaptable without expression. I like them! Sometimes (rarely) that’s all I need.

I would love to hear about your experiences with your vessels of choice. Do you identify with my story? Do you know why you reach for a certain cup in your cupboard? Even if it is just to ease my mind that I am not the only one who does this, please share a picture or a thought on Lady Baker’s Tea FB page.

My Big Fat Scottish Tea Cup is raised to you!





Colleen Ramsay

Hi Kathy

I just came across your page and was drawn to open this blog. I cherished the memory of Gama’s tea cup although I don’t remember seeing it in her beautiful built in china cabinet. Gamas collection of the blue willow pattern stands out more in my memory. I have such fantastic memories of their home and spending time with family there, at the pond and down by the cottages.

Anyway, this memory doesn’t need to be posted, I just wanted to reach out and say hi. And I hope that we can keep in touch through email.

Your cousin Colleen

Stephen Murray

Ohhhh that silly dog didn’t listen!! Haha! Loving this blog and your connection to the vessel.


Another thought provoking post, which resonates with me. I change my cups depending on what I am doing whilst sipping my tea. I had a great mug (from the Dunes) that I used at work. The work environment changed for the worse over time. Close to my retirement, a coworker accidentally broke my once favoured cup. I didn’t shed any tears, as it was kind of a bit of closure….my once loved cup gone, along with my once loved job.

Take care and thanks for these posts. I always enjoy them!

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