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Once upon a time, my oldest friend insisted mugs have personalities. She had (& still does have) a superstitious nature & wouldn’t dream of drinking her coffee out of a boring brown earthenware mug for fear of repercussions.

I’m not quite so choosy although I do have favourites. In one of my kitchen cupboards sits a selection of mugs with very definite personalities. The Virginia Woolf one, the sweet narwhal one (“I am not a unicorn” – quite), the bee one & several decorated with birds. And my “Girls Are Best” Girl Guides mug discovered in a charity shop a decade ago. Best of all though, are the cups. And saucers. I’m my mother’s daughter & I like a cup & saucer.

My writing rituals are many. And my first daily one begins in bed.


With a tray of tea. Because I wake early, I can usually manage a good half hour with my current book before the lure of notebook & pencil claims me. None of this happens without the tea though. Made in a teapot with different cups for different days.

Weekends tilt to the laissez-faire edge of writing – no one likes a swot – & the cup & saucer combos reflect this. On Saturday it’s the red rose one with forget-me-not sprigs idling like a lazy summer day. On Sunday I take tea from a charming old china cup & saucer, decorated with violets & a slender golden filigree of stems. My daughter bought me this set & I adore it. It’s tiny & delicate so of course, it gets saved for Sundays.

Come Monday though, it’s an entirely other cup of tea. (Sorry not sorry.) Monday through to Friday, I take my tea from the cup & saucer gifted to me by my writing sister, Janey. She knows me well. A golden bird is painted on the side of this cup: a golden hummingbird in full, fanciful flight through blue flowers.


And as I drain each cup of good English Breakfast, scribbling & anticipating the morning’s work, there’s another one, a small blue bird in the bottom of the cup. I like to think she’s the golden bird’s sister, a less showy word bird, reminding me to get up & get on with it.


And to that end I must. To those of you who ask about these things – thank you. #Book4 has taken a tangent. A satisfying one & currently, the writing word of the day[s] is ‘immediacy.’

In word [birds] & deed.