Tuesday, December 18, 2012
On trying to impress the British
There's yet another item that I'm after for my "Wall-O-Withnail"... the elusive Cornishware mug... known to connoisseurs as a "Cornish Blue".
Apparently, this mug has been in everyone's childhood kitchen in the whole of Britain. It was so common that everyone recalls them. But now? Try to get your hands on one. This, I feel sure, is the reason one was included in the melange of detritus on the dining table in Withnail's apartment. It looks so innocuous, so unassuming, so perfectly at home... but just you try and get your mitts on one, and you'll see what sort of prey you're after.
The company that makes them, T.G. Green, even boasts they still sell them now. But just you go and have a gander at their website. Creamers, sugar bowls, egg cups? Sure, and they have them in spades... but go to the section where they sell the Cornish Blue mugs, and guess what you'll find? "Sorry, out of stock."
What makes it slightly worse (okay, a LOT worse) is that I'm fairly sure I saw this exact mug on the shelf of one of my favorite thrift stores a few months ago (in my pre-Withnail days) and I didn't realize what it was nor that I would long so to have it in the future. Of course, when I went back to look for it... gone.
So tonight I nearly swallowed my tongue when I found this little beauty up for auction on ebay (the UK ebay, not the U.S. one). When I know an item's British, I search it on ebay.co.uk. Call me canny. Thing is, the seller says she doesn't ship to the U.S. of A. WHAT?!?!?! But I have to have it! My Wall-O-Withnail just won't be complete without it!
I decided to employ my secret weapon. The one that I use when someone is too far away to punch in the nose. It's called "begging". These are the reasons I gave the seller that she really should agree to ship me this mug:
1. My grandmother was born in Leeds.
2. My cousin is a pediatrician in Manchester.
3. I always say "trolley" instead of "shopping cart".
4. I'm a fan of "Withnail & I".
5. I always use HP sauce on my steak, now that they sell it over here.
I thought of including "I'm not from London" and "my cousin's a Q.C.", except the seller would have to be a huge Withnail fan to understand those lines, and she may actually be from London, in which case she'd be offended. So I left those off. The other five, however, are accurate and I think should count for something.
In case my pleading doesn't work, I have requested a dear friend who lives in England to be my drop-shipper, in other words let the seller send him my mug, as he lives in the UK, and then pay him to ship it here. I'm hoping the seller decides to be charmed by my pleading and agrees to mail it to me direct, thus saving my dear friend from the hubbub of incoming and outgoing Cornishware. Though I dare say Cornish pixies might be somewhat more trouble, so he really should be grateful I'm only ordering pottery.
Now I will be paying a relative fortune for this mug, as opposed to the two or three dollars it would have cost me at the thrift store, but I console myself with the knowledge that it will be REAL Cornishware, straight from England. A much better addition to the Wall-O-Withnail, I think.
Let's just hope I win the bloody auction!