Tea and Toast

Apr 1, 2015 by

Tea and toast. Those three little words that mean so much to so many. The potential to sooth, comfort, nourish and celebrate.

While I savoured the two slices of toasted white sliced pan yesterday after 17 hours without food or water, I thought about how they have marked memorable moments in my life.

When I was a child recuperating after a bug. My mother making me tea and toast as I gingerly started to eat again. In those days the bread was cut from a milk loaf that had been wrapped in butter paper. The tea from the old tea caddy kept beside the cooker and the tea pot propped on the gas turned low to keep it hot.

When I gave birth to my son 27 years ago in The Cumberland Royal Infirmary (I love the name of that hospital). The toast was of the sliced pan variety, the tea a bag in a small stainless tea pot. Under normal circumstance I would have turned my nose up at it. But after almost 21 hours in labour with the continuous threat of an emergency section over me, I can still remember how good it tasted. I remember looking at my newborn son in the cot beside me, his eyes wide open staring at the world. The memory is so vivid it could have happened yesterday.

In contrast when my daughter was born after a four hour intense labour, I had been given lunch before they stuck me on that dreaded drip. One moment I was relaxing in bed, the next screaming with pain and hammering the buttons on the Tens machine. The tea and toast was more ceremonial before being put in a wheelchair with her in my arms and moved back up to the ward. I remember trying to resist the wheelchair and the midwife by now probably well used to feisty young mothers, say wearily to me “try to walk so.” When my legs gave way beneath me I just meekly hopped in.

So yesterday. It marked the end of an era. An era of fertility. Fertility that for the most part I battled to control. When you have something you take it for granted. When it’s taken away you feel a loss. I ate my toast and sipped my tea as all these thoughts went through my mind. Relief that the cramping and inconvenience will now hopefully end. Sadness that I will not experience again those wonderful exhilarating moments that giving birth brings.

The toast was white sliced pan, the tea a bag in a small stainless pot. Full circle. The circle of life.

Does tea and toast bring back memories for everyone or am I just strange?

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  1. Oh no! It was almost ceremonial in England where both mine were born.

  2. I have very fond memories of having tea and toast in my childhood especially in my friend house which was on a farm with lovely fresh milk. I also remember looking forward to that wonderful tea and toast after the birth of my son but I never got it! He was born in the early hours and I was a bit sleepy so I never actually got it 🙁

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