Tea cup and saucer picture prompt

The garden beds were a tangled mess of weeds with what might have been once planted there struggling through years of neglect. The house bore the same stigmata, much of it also organic – mould, decaying wood, rust. I should have been inside ripping out old tiles from the dank bathroom, but the May day tempted me out.

The garden tools we’d brought with us were piled in the slanting garden shed, barely any shelter at all with holes in the roof and glassless windows, the door missing. Another project, but today I wanted something I could tackle in an afternoon and leave with a level of smug satisfaction.

I made my way to the shed, peering between straggly shrubs, tentatively pushing aside brambles thick along the stone wall, deciding what tools would be most appropriate for my heavy tasks.

In the shed, I picked among the tools to find the shears, but forgot them in the distraction of a shelf along the back wall piled high with the kind of bits and bobs you collect in such places – tangled coils of garden wire and string, small pots, broken shards, rusted knives, empty weed killer bottles. Something stood out among the browns and greens and dirty plastics.

Tea cup and saucer with pink rose pattern

A teacup, with a tarnished spoon resting on its matching saucer. Brown rings marked where once tea, or perhaps coffee, had filled the cup. The pink rose pattern still made a brave attempt to gleam, calling to me in the gloom of the dusty shed.

There were no chips or cracks. Someone had brought this here to refresh themselves, and then forgotten it. I picked up the cup, tilted it as if expecting to see dregs in the bottom. Only a dehydrated stain remained. I carried cup and saucer, and spoon, to the light in the door-less entrance.

I held them, saucer in one hand, cup in the other. Bending my pinkie at the just-so angle, I brought the fine china to my lips and gazed into the ramshackle garden. As I pretended to sip, the weeds melted into a sudden golden glow of sunshine, overgrown bushes tidied themselves in a hurry of embarrassment and rose bushes elbowed through the brambles to wave their blowsy blooms, saying hello, here we are, thank God you’ve come back.

Bee-swarming wisteria massed along the crumbling stone wall to one side of me, and delphinium raised their proud coned heads, blue, lilac and white stretching to capture the sky, bring all that bright freshness into our garden. Butterflies dipped and dived, and the smell of newly cut grass scented the air, dampening the headiness of the blossoming lavender which bordered the thyme-dotted path.

I was home again.

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2 thoughts on “Tea cup and saucer picture prompt”


    Olde worlde was the best place to describe my study – signified by a familiar musty smell from the ancient books I had collected on my travels.
    It was the place I went to when I wanted to relax and think, and find inspiration for my next dissertation on matters of archaeological significance.
    I was no Indiana Jones – but then few, if any, of my colleagues would lay claim to such an outrageous and adventurous reputation.
    Largely bookish by nature, we were probably more content fussing over some dusty piece of three-thousand-year-old pottery, brush poised to wipe away the dirt, than chasing thieves and murderers on the back of a truck or motorcycle – leather whip raised to strike.
    My wife Martha had brought me a cup of coffee in a Royal Worcester gold rimmed white porcelain cup and saucer with burgundy coloured flowers as the predominant pattern. The small biscuits, with icing traipsed untidily on the surface, placed carefully around the saucer only adding to the tasty offering.
    Plunked in the centre of my study table, the intoxicating aroma interrupted my reverie and I paused to take a sip and nibble on one of the biscuits.
    Elaborately patterned Greek pottery urns from a thousand years before the birth of Christ – brought back from my latest dig in southern Greece – had been foremost in my thoughts, but I had yet to commit pen to paper.
    I just couldn’t seem to start, and now the coffee was beckoning so enticingly I thought I might have to give it up for the day and busy myself with other pursuits.
    As I gazed into the cup, I suddenly had visions of earnest Greek potters turning their foot-operated wheels as they shaped the clay with both hands.
    What on earth was happening? How could I see it so clearly? It was like I was right next to them as, dressed in their ancient cloth garbs, they laboured to produce the perfect vase ready for firing and hardening in their nearby kiln before glazing and decorating their creation.
    One turned and smiled at me – spoke to me in ancient Greek. Lucky for me, I had spent years studying the language in order to interpret the written meanings of many of the finds I had discovered over the years.
    “You like what I am doing?” he asked me in his long-forgotten tongue.
    No who are you? Where do you come from? Just a ready acceptance of my presence as if my being there was part of a much larger universal plan.
    “Yes,” I responded in the same language. “I think it’s wonderful and so clever of you. You know, thousands of years from now, men will marvel at your creations and use them to examine and record your time in history.”
    “I know,” he said. “I know you have come from the future and will return with a greater understanding of our culture and time on this earth.”
    I was absolutely dumbfounded. How could he have known this?
    “It’s ok,” he added. “Please don’t be alarmed nor fear me. I am not frightened of you, either. After all,” he chuckled. “You are no Indiana Jones.”

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