Off The Wall: Wake Up and Smell the Tea

Wake up and smell the tea

Hands up if you’ve ever owned a Goblin Teasmade. That gets rid of the over-70s. Now, hands up if you don’t care what a Goblin Teasmade is. That’s lost the under-50s.
Now I’m addressing my target audience. A Goblin Teasmade was a wonderful device that woke you up at any appropriate time and presented you with a cup of tea for you and your partner. It was given as a wedding present with a kind of “nudge, nudge” card (in those days, most newly-weds had never spent the whole night together). It was very popular in the North, where no-one could face going downstairs at that time in the morning — when icicles hung on the inside of the windows, Dick the Shepherd blew his nail, and where the coal fire had gone out, hours ago.
My mother had at least three of these machines. Being married to a man who wasn’t terribly sure where the kettle was, much less what it was for, she reasoned that the only way she was going to get a morning cuppa without coming out from the warm half of the blankets was to acquire one from a second hand shop. Which she did, on at least three occasions. Hence her bedside table was full of water stains where the spouts had missed the teapots, sour milk, where the creamy stuff had spilt, and bits of sugar (don’t ask).
Since the 1970s, of course, central heating has become more commonplace, refrigerators have been used to keep milk fresh and men have become much more in touch with their feminine side. What’s more, my mother, who didn’t possess a fridge, no longer had to keep the Chardonnay at the foot of her bed (where else would you cool the wine?). More important, perhaps, is that the Teasmade has gone out of fashion and wedding gifts these days tend to be coffee makers and brightly patterned sheets, rather than alarm clocks, teamaking or not.
Of course, since I flew South, like a bird to spend the winter of my life in a much balmier part of the country (Torbay), I have also discovered that early mornings were made for going downstairs, admiring the scenery, brewing up and checking my blood pressure. But a little bit of me still misses that warm hum from the Teasmade as it tells me it’s nearly 10 o’clock and time I woke up and smelled the tea bag.