A Mugs Game

Francesca considers personalised mugs, especially those of the literary kind.

Most people have cups and mugs that they bought because they have some significance: a family holiday, ‘the best sister’, a football souvenir or one declaring ‘Grumpy Old Man’.

We have all of the above at home. Even more special are the Penguin Classics mugs I bought several years ago, one for each of the family. Most of them have more than one reference to the particular member.

Country LifeI picked a yellow one for me, a colour I’ve always liked, with the book title, ‘Country Life’. I love living in the country, even though I prefer the seaside. I only have to walk a minute to get to the woods, and beyond that, the meadow, even though the village is only classed ‘semi’ rural. I was brought up by the seaside and a river, with a view of the South Downs, so had the best of both worlds.

Man & SupermanMy husband’s mug is red and white, the colour of his favourite team, Sunderland. He hails from near there. Red’s also his favourite colour. The title, ‘Man and Superman’ wasn’t meant to be flattery or irony, but since ‘Andrew’ means strong and manly, it seemed kind of appropriate.

PersuasionCarmela’s cup was a no brainer. Not only is it orange, her favourite colour back then and the colour or her room (yes, really!), it also has the title ‘Persuasion’. Since she’s a huge Jane Austen fan, it couldn’t have been better.

The Big SleepPeter’s cup is green, his favourite colour, with the ‘The Big Sleep’ written on it. I doubt that needs explanation!

A Room of One's OwnGiovanna’s cup was purchased just after she’d acquired ‘A Room of One’s Own’. And guess what? The room was lilac, just like the mug. Neat, eh?

The Invisible ManJack’s cup, also his favourite colour green, announces, ‘The Invisible Man’. At the age of around twelve, he’d often say something like, “I’m just out with my friends. Back for lunch.” Three hours after said meal he’d turn up.

And now? I still like yellow and the country and Andrew still supports Sunderland. Carmela no longer favours orange (though the room remains that colour in her absence, though toned down). She’s still a fan of Regency novels. Peter’s step-son, Ben, told me recently that his cup title is still appropriate! Giovanna’s old room remains lilac though her bedroom in her own house is duck egg blue. She’s recently regained a room of her own  as her son Luca has moved to a room of his own, due to the friend she was putting up temporarily finding a place of her own (do you see a theme developing here?).

As for Jack, his absence from his sister’s wedding recently elicited the quip regarding the cup, “Well, it’s still appropriate then!” To be fair, he had already booked a holiday to Italy with friends and Carmela’s wedding was planned at short notice in the hope her terminally ill uncle would be able to make it. (Sadly he didn’t.)

As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Do you have any mugs (or other crockery) with special significance or memories?

Group photo


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4 thoughts on “A Mugs Game

  1. Interesting literary slant. Mine is the tale of a coffee can (as small coffee cups were called in the ‘olden days’. In Paris I worked with an eccentric woman who had been given a present of said can. It was green. ‘Can’t have it in my house’ said Maisie. ‘It’s bad luck. You can have it’ She thrust it into my hands. It was the start of a collection of over a hundred. There is no literary connection except one day I shall write of her many quirks

    • Sounds like an interesting collection, Moya. I’ve known other people think that green is bad luck. My mother thought it was bad luck to wear green and my mother-in-law has never owned a car that colour for the same reason. Green is my favourite colour and I will wear it, drive it and yes, definitely drink out of it!

  2. My collection of mismatched, plebeian mugs are definitely non literary, although I would probably go for the iconoclastic Ms. Woolf, not because of colour, but because she was one of the great modernist writers. Looking at my collection, if collection is not too grandiose a term, there’s definitely a moggy theme. My favourite has a picture of a bad tempered ginger tom in memory of my much missed Shelley, and I have a lovely one Angharad bought me at Chartwell with a picture of the resident ginger cat. Far too pretty for anything as mundane as drinking! Birds are a recurrent theme, in particular, owls, as they are utterly fascinating and they evoke a sense of mystery which excites the imagination.

    • I can understand why you’d pick the Virginia Woolf, Angela.

      I like the idea of mismatched mugs with a theme. I went to a cafe a while back where the mismatched mugs were all green (right up my street!). I imagine owl mugs are quite prolific at the moment as they’re very popular on designs.

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