While I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago, I came across an old friend I hadn't seen since I was a child. I found it on a shelf in my mother's kitchen.
It used to sit on the mantle piece of the big stone fireplace in the common room in our grandparents' country cottage. In that fire place there was a big old black cauldron, some stokes, and in winter, a log or two, crackling because they were covered in dried moss. This is where our parents would heat the water to fill the plastic bucket in which they washed us. The tiny stone sink only had cold water coming out of it. On the mantle piece next to the grinder, there was a big jar filled with empty matchboxes, the big kind, that my sisters and cousins and I used as temporary homes for any insects we caught. Temporary as in last, unfortunately.
I used to play with the grinder, trying to make flour with grains I'd pick up on my walks. The idea was to make bread with it. When I reminded my mother of that, she said she used to have to grind the coffee in it as a child, and how it used to hurt her legs as she would hold it between her thighs. This does bring some perspective to the popularity of instant coffee - if you spent your childhood handgrinding coffee beans, it must be a relief just to pour water on granules! Nah. It makes no sense. The stuff's disgusting.
In our home, we make coffee in a metal pot with a filter on top.
I bought it for one pound in Holloway twenty years ago, on the day I moved to London. But it takes a while to make filter coffee by hand, so we keep it in the pot and then it goes not so nice, or on a busy morning, we go without coffee, which is never a good thing.
So, this year, I had a bright idea for a present for 'Im indoors. Something that would allow us to make coffee quickly and without making a mess. And 'Im indoors had the exact same thought.
I think it's time for another cup of coffee. Fancy one?