3.17.2009

A Comforting Cup Of Tea...

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‘The teacups are making people smile’; they haven’t been smiling, and that’s what we want, isn’t it?’ – volunteer, Alexandra Relief Centre servicing Marysville, Taggerty, Buxton region

“Please pass on my thanks for the ‘Comforting Cup of Tea’; how blessed was I? There was a lovely ‘Willow’ cup and saucer! My absolute favourite. It’s small, special gestures like this that touch us, we who have lost all our worldly goods… May God bless you” – letter signed ‘Barbara (exMarysville)’

“I just wanted to personally thank you for the beautiful and comforting teacups. They arrived in Flowerdale and were SO needed… Please, please, please thank everyone else for what they did. On behalf of the Flowerdale community, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts” – telephone message from Dianne, co-ordinator of Flowerdale Community Hall Relief Centre.

“These are better than excellent. These are life-saving!” - the gentle, gorgeous Bob, volunteer, Alexandra Relief Centre “Thank you for my beautiful teacup. I had thought of my two special ones I had lost, but now this one is as special” - text message; Mel Giovanetti, Buxton

“My teacup is just like a little piece of heaven. Until I saw it I didn’t realise how much I needed something beautiful of my own again, thank you” - Flowerdale survivor, in conversation with Holly Craig (11).

Over one hundred and forty beautiful teacups and tea mugs have already been placed in the hands of survivors of our state’s recent and most savage bushfires. To date they have gone to Flowerdale, Yea (Strath Creek) and Alexandra (Marysville, Buxton, Taggerty), to Broadford (Clonbinane, Reedy Creek), Steele’s Creek, St Andrews and Strathewen. Over the next few weeks the aim is to take two hundred and fifty more out to the stricken areas of Kinglake, Humevale, Wandong, Narbethong, and Toolangi, and to Callignee and Koornalla in Gippsland.

It has been both confronting and a privilege to have been able to take them directly to the various relief centres where people come daily to get essential supplies. Having done so, I shall never again think the term ‘natural disaster’ adequate to describe firestorms of the kind that attacked on Black Saturday. They must have borne down terrifyingly upon people - huge, wild, ruinous creatures of cruelly supernatural strength and speed, and of vast and heedless appetite.

Great swathes of the landscape - so desolately charred and ashy – and the small, heaped ruins of human dwelling places bear testament to the extraordinary scale and ferocity of these fire events. In peoples’ exhausted faces, in the tears that spring unbidden to their eyes or lie just under their voices, one can sense the great and grievous injury the encounter has done them. And even having been to some of these areas, I struggle to comprehend how it would be to live everyday still amongst the immensity of this loss: of loved ones, friends, workmates, neighbours, children. Of farms, schools, streetscapes, and community buildings. Of pets and livestock, native wildlife, gardens and orchards and greenness. Of livelihoods, and of homes – over two thousand of them.

Could I reassure those of you who would like to gift a special teacup that these are well taken care of on their journey, and that they look so very beautiful nestled in pale blue tissue in their purpose-cut, Australian-made gift boxes, and against the lavender colour of the Twinings tea given by that company. The sign above them reads: ‘Please take the teacup that you love, thank you.’ The volunteers on the ground have loved them too, and I have seen them immediately and tenderly leading grief-stricken people to the table, and urging them choose.

The note enclosed in each teacup box, also in pale blue, reads:
Thank you for choosing this teacup. Many have been involved in bringing it to you today, so making it brimful with good wishes. The teacups are all different, and may be vintage, antique, or newly-made. But in all cases they have been purchased, or gifted from home, with the express wish of offering you some small but daily comfort. We wish you well.

Teacups can be left at: 7 Malvern Grove, North Caulfield; at 41 Finlayson Street , Malvern: at Patchwork on Central Park (148 Burke Road, East Malvern); at the office of Malvern Primary School (17 Tooronga Road, Malvern East), at Books in Print (100 Glenferrie Road, Malvern) or at Leonard Joel Auction House (333 Malvern Road, South Yarra). At each of these places you can see how pretty and inviting your teacup will look.

A copy of this letter is available in email format if you have a workplace, book group, mothers’ group or other set of people whom you think would like a chance to take part. Please email me at: Sallyanne@arkpictures(dot)com(dot)au and I will forward it to you.

Warmest regards,
Sallyanne Craig

image source

16 comments

Monica @ bpab said...

That's so beautiful! What a wonderful way to comfort. Well done!

Lyn said...

Wow. I can't say anymore than that. It has brought back the tears. A very special gesture.

magikquilter said...

what a really special thing....i so love a pretty china trio so can well imagine what they would do for the people there. Thank you so much for the addresses...going through my gorgeous vintage ones tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Dear Magikquilter.
Thank you so much on behalf of future recipients of your teacups! You can email me at Sallyanne@arkpictures.com.au if you would like to meet up when you drop them off. Sallyanne

Anonymous said...

Just letting everyone know that the one-hundred and ninety-seventh teacup made it to Strathewen (43 killed from a population of 200; most of the house burnt) on the weekend to offer its gentle comfort to another person. Please please please,for those of you who have been thinking of giving a teacup, now is the time to do it. If you give one beautiful teacup it will brighten someone's life. If you can spare or buy two, or three...There are many townships and many hundreds of people who have not yet had someone offer them any comforting cups of tea! Kindest regards, Sallyanne
I can be contacted by mobile )418 550150 or email: Sallyanne@arkpictures.com.au

Khris said...

This brought a tear to my eyes...how wonderful the world is in the efforts to help others in need and bring some sort of comfort to others who have lost everything and are dealing with such terrible situations..hugs Khris

Susanne said...

Is it too late to give a teacup, and have you had any from Brisbane?

Anonymous said...

I would like to send some from Adelaide, is it too late?

kanishk said...

There are many townships and many hundreds of people who have not yet had someone offer them any comforting cups of tea!
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I must say that this is a great post. I loved reading it. You have done a great job

Anonymous said...

I sent a lovely China mug and two beautiful tea cups and suacers last year for the bushfire victims. I sent them to Sally anne and I have never received a thank you. Hopefully they arrived safely.

megan (Pymble)

Anonymous said...

I sent a lovely China mug and two beautiful tea cups and saucers last year for the bushfire victims. I sent them to Sally anne and I have never received a thank you. Hopefully they arrived safely.

megan (Pymble)

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