The joy of flasks

A couple of days ago I made myself a cup of tea in a flask and took it to where I volunteer so that I could enjoy a beverage out of the tiny flask-top cup.

Flask tea is like camping tea. It’s invariably drunk outdoors and takes more effort than simply flicking the switch on the kettle. It also has that mindfulness and drinking in the present quality that means you really concentrate on what you’re imbibing rather than hurriedly just necking a mugful of something in front of your screen.

The joy of a flask is shared by that similar thing the picnic. In the summer my son and his friend packed a picnic, a few balls and a rug and then literally walked round the corner to a very unassuming playing field. It felt like a real adventure to the boys, they thought it was great. And grown up though I am, I found myself being carried along by the simple joy of it all.

We’ve also biked to our local woods with the flask and simply sat on a bench and had a cup of tea together. There really is something magical about a flask, and not just because it keeps my tea hot for ages!

Antidote: Pack a flask, or a picnic. You’ll always feel like you’re having an adventure in the most ordinary of circumstances!


A little red sun hat

Last night while my son lay sleeping on the bed next to me I was silently stitching a small patch over a hole in a sun hat. This hat had made an reappearance in my life some 30+ years after it first came into it, during a wet family holiday to Wales.

For some reason, known only to my former self it came to reside in a very small red suitcase with an assortment of other items that I had deemed collectible reminders of my childhood. There it stayed in the loft until discovered by my four-year-old, and so my little red sun hat came out once more into the daylight.

He needs a sunhat for nursery, so why not my old one? The edge was a bit frayed, which is why I was carefully sewing, with tiny neat little stitches a small piece of red fabric over it. When I’d finished I was rather pleased with the results. Until a little nagging voice started, ‘why not just buy him a new one like his friends will have? No-one else will have a patched-up old hat on that used to belong to their mum.’

But these are society’s issues to do with status and as such when analysed have no logic to them. I have a perfectly good sunhat that’s been neatly sewn with a patch. It will shield my son’s eyes from the sun and protect his head and ears from sunburn. All the rest is just nonsense. Making do and mending isn’t the done thing in our status-anxiety filled days, but it should be. I took a great deal of satisfaction from sewing the hat, he looks cute in it, it does its job, and every time I look at it I’m reminded of my first ever family holiday and of my now departed dad. On every level it beats going out and buying a new one. That’s not to mention the fact that this country throws away, that’s throws away, not recycles or donates, millions of items of clothing a year, all in the name of our high-turnover fashion industry where things are so cheap to buy that they have become disposable. Well, not in this house, not while I’ve got a needle and thread they won’t!

ANTIDOTE: Make do and mend. It’s old fashioned, but worth doing.