Everyone talks about make do and mend these days, and I think it’s great to lovingly restore or upcycle an object, utensil, clothes, fabrics, ornaments, furniture. My husband has restored multiple vintage record players, analogue cameras and a typewriter in the last 18 months alone.
But has anyone ever saved a tea bag?
That’s my question for the day as I think about all the things that get mended and upcycled and saved, and I think about all the things I personally have made, mended, saved or hoarded, just in case.
I love tea. Everyone knows that. And I’ve got my husband into tea-drinking, big-time, with his own set of accoutrements – special mug, favourite tea bags. He adores liquorice and had a box of Tea Pigs liquorice tea bags. He loved them. (I hated them).
But then the second last tea bag literally came apart at the seams, and so, it was left in the bottom of the box. For a while. Neither of us wanted to throw it away. It just sat, taking up space on the shelf in an otherwise empty box.
The other day I fished it out and realised that if I took a moment to sew up the broken seam, he would be able to drink his last cup of liquorice tea, and it wouldn’t be wasted, but greatly enjoyed. So I got a needle and thread and did just that, saving a tea bag.
It took less than 5 minutes, and I felt pretty chuffed with myself.
And at first it might seem like a waste of time, miserly even. It’s just a tea bag, after all.
But I think how you approach the small things in life can also reflect how you approach the big things in life. Isn’t this a job worth doing? Would our grandparents have done something similar in times of hardship, like during the war? Just because we have abundance, doesn’t mean we should abuse that wonderful privilege and waste things that can be fixed and used.
These tea bags are not your average sweepings up either, they are reasonably pricey in tea bag terms. Their pyramid pouches are like silk, and spacious enough to give the tea leaves free reign to roam. I sound like an advert for free range chicken. You get the gist.
And they reminded me of having a similar fancy-tea-bag experience in Prague, on our first wedding anniversary, when we had tea in a place called Cafe Pariz and I was obsessed by the beautiful tea bags. I thought I had a photo of that tea bag. I definitely took a photo. I can’t find it right now.
But you can really judge a place by the quality of the tea they sell.
Of course, the new problem then became that having gone to the trouble of sewing up the tea bag, my husband thought it seemed a shame to use it. It sat there still, unused. So I took the decision out of his hands and made him the liquorice tea myself.
In the Man Mug.