As you read this post, imagine me sipping hot chocolate from this mug as I ponder my latest plot point or character development. In truth, while you are reading this I am more likely to be at work, by which I mean the work I get paid to do, but it is a much nicer idea that I could be sipping a comforting beverage and working my wordsmith magic…
I’ve been having trouble coming up with a good adjective for the mug. At first I went with dopey, because he does look a bit dopey (yes, it’s a he). On reflection, that sounded like it was a Disney mug, in the shape of one of the dwarves, and that was misleading. I considered drunk mug, too, but that was more of an insult than anything else; ‘here you, ya drunk mug!’. I saved the photo as ‘Happy Mug’, and he does look happy, albeit in a drunk or ‘has just taken a knock to the head’ way. He is being sold in Morrisons as a Hallowe’en mug, alongside a witch mug and a Frankenstein’s monster mug, but what I really like about him is that, to me, he’s suitable all year round. October doesn’t have a monopoly on the colour orange, though it might like to think so.
The month October is neither he nor she, you may be glad to note, although if it came to it I could probably give it a gender. When I was little, I had building blocks with numbers on them, and I vividly remember assigning them genders and personalities. I didn’t really like three. He was green, and a bit snooty. I wouldn’t like you to think I was a child with rigid gender boundaries, though; as I was explaining to some of my colleagues this week, I went through a phase of being Peter Pan, and only answering to Peter. I’m not sure how I felt about Pete. I do remember that I had a sword made out of a Weetabix box, that my sister made me. The sword, not the Weetabix box. I’m not sure why I wanted to be Peter Pan so much. I don’t think it could have been as complex as feeling the pressures of ageing and wishing that I could stay young forever – I can’t have been more than four when this was going on. Probably I mostly liked the idea of being able to fly and waging war on Captain Hook.
Here is the mug in question – do you see what I mean? How should this facial expression be interpreted? I like to think that I am usually good at all the empathy and that, but he is posing me a problem. Maybe I’m howling up the wrong canyon altogether and he’s actually very sad, and trying to but a brave face on, despite his trembling lip? And what should be made of his mismatched eyes? Perhaps we will never know. I choose to believe that he is happy and just a little dazed from too much being picked up and put down, not to mention being filled with near-boiling liquid day after day.Whatever emotions his face is meant to communicate, he makes me smile, and so is a Thing of Beauty to me. I mean to look after him well, though I will be continuing to fill him with near-boiling liquid. If he gets sadder looking I’ll stop though, I guarantee it.
The orange mug had his first outing yesterday, when I came in from work soaked through. The rain has started in earnest here in Glasgow, and not only were my trainers and socks soaked through to the skin, the rain was so heavy that my wool coat was soaked through at the shoulders and the top I was wearing underneath was damp. I must get winter shoes – have been on the lookout for the ultimate pair of wellies for under £20, but it’s now becoming a mission of greater importance than I first thought. If this winter is going to be like last year, I’ll also need something that will grip to the ice rink surface that many of the pavements are going to take on as their winter look. Last year I wore my trainers all winter. It’s a miracle I didn’t lose any toes.
On coming home in that drowned rat kind of state, my first instinct was to get into dry clothes, which I did with much speed and much standing on of wet trouser cuffs, to general yelps of discomfort. The second was to have a lovely mug of hot chocolate. A couple of weeks ago, I stocked up on Options hot chocolate sachets, thinking that they would help to get me through chocolate cravings and stop me from buying snacks. I know that this theory is sound, as I have tested it before. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite implemented the ‘stop buying snacks’ part of the plan as yet. Also, I bought a bag of marshmallows to go with the hot chocolate sachets, negating their low fat-ness in one fell swoop. It’s unfortunate that the phrase ‘it’s the thought that counts’ doesn’t apply to dieting. I was glad of both the hot chocolate and the marshmallows yesterday, though, and got the kettle on to boil. I put a chocolate fudge sachet in the mug and added a dash of soy milk, then stirred to make a smooth paste. This usually helps to stop the chocolate being gritty at all, or leaving any in the bottom of the mug. I topped it up with more milk, then filled almost to the brim with water, leaving space for six (yes, six) mallows in the top. It hit the spot, I can tell you. I was missing the skooshy cream, but that really would have made a mockery of buying low-fat hot chocolate in the first place.
That and the fact that I didn’t think about it when I was in the supermarket.