Do you need to sit down and stop just for five minutes…?
I can’t remember how old I was when I joined the family tradition of enjoying a cup of tea.
I can remember sitting comfy on a little upholstered chair across from my Grandma who would sit in her armchair. She would pat her armrest softly and say ‘Now my dear, tell me all about it.’
Tea and ‘chats with Grandma’ became a time in the week that I looked forward to.
A time to sit still, contemplate and discuss life changing discoveries with family, like how many seconds a rich tea biscuit can be dunked before it drops into your tea!
Yes, Grandma was leading the way in life skills for all of us grandkids. We learnt to give ourselves time to enjoy just sitting together and sharing the life lessons we would work out together.
It seemed that the kettle was always on. As we took our shoes and coat off our Grandma would already be warming the ancient teapot and then she’d pop in the loose leaf tea.
She would fill it with boiling water and then cover it with the well used knitted tea cosy and the magic would begin.
While the tea was brewing for the compulsory four minutes, I would take a breath and start to update her on the week’s news. After four minutes she would lift the tea cosy and stir the pot, clockwise, several times, like stirring up all the emotions of a hectic day.
The tea was then poured into the little tea cups, a drop of milk was added, not too much, as we both liked it ‘builders strength’.
She would ask about friends at school and I would replay to her the hockey game from the weekend.
I would reveal all the school homework assignments that I’d struggled with, normally because I was trying to squeeze too much into the week!
Finally we would share any other village news and plans for the coming week.
Everything was in the mix, a storm in a teacup.
Everything seemed so easy to discuss especially if there were a few biscuits to share or some homemade fruit cake. Simple, uncomplicated time, just sitting, chatting and drinking tea.
The thing about this ritual now is, when life chucks us some big challenges, we revert back to putting the kettle on and thinking about ‘What would Grandma say?’
The truth is, she never told us what to do, we worked it out by being with her, sitting next to her, and sharing the issue, sharing the tea and sharing lots of biscuits!
I miss my Grandma, but I am grateful for her advice and support. I have realised that what she taught me wasn’t how to tackle my homework, or an opposition player in a hockey game.
What she taught me was an important life skill – taking time to be there for others and allowing stories to be shared.
Now, I find that those ‘Grandma skills’ are out there. I have discovered new ‘advisory seniors’ here in town. They listen and they understand that a chat can be a precious commodity.
So, while you are ordering your energy boost takeaway beverage, or down by the river snatching five minutes of nature and a cuppa, have a think about ‘Who can I really talk with?’
Who is your go-to Grandma? – The good listener? – Holder of the tea cosy?
Writing this piece for Mindful Margaret River has also made me think about how I probably need to get my tea cosy out a bit more. Not that I want to be a Grandma (in the real sense quite yet), but sharing a brew is highly recommended!
So, when life throws you a curveball, make a cup of tea, sit down with a friend and take that first sip. It may be a neighbour or a fellow parent, it may be a cup of tea or a double shot half topped soy latte.
Whatever your problem, whatever your drink of choice, we are surrounded by a caring community.
Ask someone, ask me! I like it strong, dash of milk and no sugar thanks.
‘Do you need a Cuppa?’
Maxine Williams has lived in Margaret River for ten years. She moved from the family farm in Esperance with husband Craig and children Helena and Rowley. Maxine and Craig visited Margaret River as backpackers twenty years ago not knowing that this region would become their forever home.
In a new town and with a young family, Maxine joined various sporting and creative groups to meet new friends. Maxine is passionate about working with children through sport, enjoys coaching and playing hockey, and is currently President of Margaret River Hockey Club.
Mindful Margaret River is an alliance of mental wellbeing professionals, government agencies, community members and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to promote health and wellbeing in the Shire.
First published by the Augusta Margaret River Mail 10 June 2021