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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Pot Boy Meditates on the Tea Cosy

Nobody has asked me for a smidge of advice in months—aside from the Alabamian Maid, who asked me for hat advice. Mine was sterling, as she would attest. This lack of interest from the lovelorn, the irate, and the generally upset is rather heartbreaking to a Pot Boy and would-be Palace Advice Columnist. So I shall offer some advice, gratis: for first-rate mental health, be sure to frequently slap a tea cosy on your head.

Wearing a tea cosy on the head is a harmless, pleasant little activity. I am surprised to find how many of my acquaintance have sported a tea cosy. It lends most a sort of Comic Bishop appearance. A scullery maid with the cosy set at a rakish angle is irresistible. Small children like to don a cosy, grab a poker, and strike a martial attitude.

There’s a Billy Connolly quote that deserves to be a pop-up, I see it so often: “Never trust a man who, when left alone with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on.” Although a comedian, he must have some wisdom, because I find that there’s truth in that line. Is it his, or did he pilfer it from some statesman or oracle, I wonder?

It occurs to me that if Attorney Clendon—remember him?—had worn a tea cosy on his head while reading that Bilge Karasu novel, Night, he might not have vanished into the shadows. Perhaps he will, feeling about in the dark, find his fingers closing on a cosy. Perhaps it will serve as a sort of domestic life preserver and buoy him up.

Many claim that the cosy that is used as an occasional, spur-of-the-moment garment must be one of those hand-knitted or crocheted cosies that look like woollen hats. This is entirely false. The proper tea cosy attire is the traditional ‘dome’ cosy.

On my head is a grand dome cosy in orange, with blue and red polkadots. The interior is stained and ringed, and looks rather like cloth once stuffed in a mummy’s cranial cavity. In it I am grand and playful, ancient and boyish, wise and silly, an answerer of questions too deep for my understanding.

Update: How satisfying to immediately get a question about proper attire, and another on peahens! I look forward to more questions, and when I have a sufficiency, I shall scrub the pots in great meditative circles and then reply.



  1. I don't have a tea cozy. :( Is there anything else I can use instead?

  2. annie
    clare (who has posted on another Pot Boy page),

    Answers to questions on tea cosies (or cozies, if you like), peahens, and poultry will be forthcoming.

    Meanwhile, scrubbing calls!

    Yours sincerely,
    the Pot Boy,
    Palace Advice Columnist

  3. (OK
    here i am again
    without "blog speak" shorthand for
    "giggling happily while posting"

    i do not own a tea cozy
    however, the Easter Bunny gave me the most delightful chapeau yesterday
    made from a floral fabric that looks very much like it could be a tea cozy
    does that count?
    because i think you have explained the slightly curious, yet welcome wave of silliness and general feeling of well being that i felt while modeling it around the house yesterday. i confess attributed the feeling to the lovely chocolate egg i was eating at the same time, but i'm now thinking it could very well have been my new tea-cozy-like chapeau.
    now i'm wondering what marvels i might experience with an actual tea cozy...?
    maybe it was actually a tea cozy EB left in my basket...?

  4. zephyr,

    Try it on a couple of tea pots and get back to us.

    This is an important issue.

    I shall have to meditate on whether cosy-like (cozy-like?) head apparel partakes of cosiness.

  5. I inherited several tea cosies when I cleared out an aunt's house; I gave them to Oxfam.
    Now I am regretting this.

  6. Does the Pot Boy think its ok to write publicly about killing a cricket in the middle of the night? or does it make one sound like a murderous beast? I would as soon hear the beating of pots than a lone cricket.

  7. I should say so, Jan!


    Murderous things have been done by people mid-exams. Be careful. Violence toward a hapless cricket may be just the beginning. Have a nice lie-down with a tea cosy on your head.

  8. Dear Pot Boy,
    i am here to report that the floral topper left by EB in my basket on Sunday fits the 6 cup "Brown Betty" (tho ours is cobalt blue Betty) teapot of the house just fine. And, i must add, it is lined, making it quite cosy (and cozy), in my humble estimation.

    Also, some more information for you to consider as you meditate on this matter:
    the consensus of the household is, after i have modeled it about, that i should refrain from wearing EB's gift out and about around town. Further deliberation and experimentation reveals that it looks quite nice on the counter and table, it seems to me that it could be seriously considered, even though it does not fit the exact domed profile of the ideal cosy.

    Perhaps there needs to be a period of time where its role is clearly defined, a prescribed period of actually cosy-ing the teapot before it can fulfill its cosy role?

  9. Most excellent research and question, Madame Zephyr.

    As it is my Day Off, I am heading for frolic but will meditate in my very stray moments and come to well-scrubbed Opinions all my own.

  10. Oh, gosh. Now I am wishing that I had my grandmother's Brown Betty teapot (it was a true Brown one, brought over from England by my grandfather after the war...the first world war, that would be). But I never ever have had a tea cozy. Nor, for that matter, have I hats, except one with purple fuzz crocheted for me by a friend. It looks something like a demented, wrongly colored flower and stands out from my head.
    Perhaps that will work?
    And does the Pot Boy do house calls? (or bookstore calls?). I notice the little dust mice are growing into large rabbit size clumps.

  11. Enjoy your frolicking Esteemed Pot Boy, and your deliberations, too. i look forward to hearing/reading your thoughts on this matter.

  12. I've never thought about tea cozy for the teapot...

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.