diamond geezer

 Wednesday, August 14, 2013

You can have too many mugs.

I know it may not seem like that when there's a row of dirty mugs stacked up by the sink and you've got friends or family coming round. But you probably have far too many mugs stashed away in cupboards, far more than you'd ever need to use.

I have too many mugs stashed away in my kitchen cupboard, far more than I ever use. I've accumulated them in various ways over the years, and now there are more than two dozen of them. Some were gifts, some I bought with my own money, some were mementos, some have even been my mug of choice for a few years before another mug took over. But now they sit unused across a couple of shelves, waiting for the rare circumstance that might call upon them for service.

Here are a few of them.

• I've had that blue and white mug with the dappled horse (front left) since I was very little. It's from the Poole Pottery, no less, but it's not especially capacious so I don't use it now.
• I have two 'Diamond Geezer' mugs, one by Purple Ronnie (front middle) and one by Jamie Oliver. I keep the latter on the kitchen worktop where I use it to store sachets of sugar for when builders come round and demand sweet tea.
• The other mug in the front row is from the Millennium Dome, which I had hoped might be worth something someday, although not if the prices being charged on eBay at the moment are anything to go by.
• I have a couple of London Underground mugs, which I usually get out if a friend comes round because then it looks like I own a set of matching crockery.
• I have a Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch mug, bought from a gift shop by Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch station, which saw me happily through university and several years since, but I've retired it now.
• I have a Merry Christmas mug that comes out every December, once or twice, so long as I remember.
• I have a Creme Egg-shaped mug (you're not surprised, I'm sure) which was given away once if you bought enough Creme Eggs, but it's got a rather narrow neck which isn't ideal for easy cleaning.
• I have a brown dragon mug from Hornsea Pottery, which I love (from a classic range designed by John Clappison and showcased on the top floor of the V&A), but that mug lives at my Dad's house where I get to enjoy using it every time I go round.
• I also have a mug with a streetmap of the bit of London where I used to work, and a Wallace and Gromit mug, and a mug to celebrate the golden jubilee of my old primary school, and a mug with a twee squirrel on it, and a plain grey mug, and a floral mug (and saucer) my godfather bought me, and a Teletubbies mug, and an Ipswich Town FC mug I was given when I left Suffolk, and a promotional mug for a now-defunct Birmingham computer company, and a Windsor Castle mug, and a personalised mug with blue and black stripes that I was given when I was very young that I daren't use now in case it breaks.

And 99% of the time I don't use any of them. Instead I stick to using the same mug over and over, a Mickey Mouse Mug that my parents brought back from a trip to Disneyland and somehow didn't smash in their suitcases on the way home. It's not especially tasteful, indeed Mickey is looking particularly smug on the front and there's a nasty American spelling of 'vigor' typeset on the back. But it is chunkier than all my other mugs (so it tends not to fall off things) and it holds 50% more than your average mug (and I really like tea). This mega-mug sits beside my kettle, then it sits beside my computer, then it recirculates, again and again and again. Don't worry, I do wash it up every few uses so it's not permanently brown inside. But it's almost entirely vanquished the competition these last 15 years, my oversized and overused Mickey Mouse mug.

I need to apologise to the reader who gave me a bone china Battersea Power Station mug. It's a lovely colour, and very tasteful, but it's more filter-coffee-sized, and I don't do coffee. Instead it sits on my kitchen worktop where I use it to store my latest roll of binbags, ready for ripping. I feel more than a bit guilty about this, now I come to think of it, but at least the mug's in functional service. That's more than can be said for the MyCuppa Tea mug which BestMate gave me a couple of Christmases back. This has four very clever colour-matching strips glazed onto the inside, designed to ensure you pour exactly the right amount of milk in to get the brew right. But that's still in its box, because I know it'll never enter regular service, sorry.

I learnt my lesson regarding mugs when I bought my brother and his family a set of Wallace and Gromit mugs one Christmas. Mugs make easy gifts to buy, and you can tailor the design to the person, which ought to be a winner, or so I hoped. But I never spotted the mugs in their kitchen cupboard when I went round, and a couple of years later I stumbled upon them stashed on a shelf in the garage gathering cobwebs. I have no idea where they are now, indeed that's not important, but what is important is that you can have too many mugs. The entire nation owns too many mugs, and yet still we buy more than we need, or spend good money on mugs others will never use. I don't want to put Britain's potters out of business but, please, think twice before you add further mugs to the stockpile.

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