I feel I am in such a privileged position, as Curator of the Virtual Tea Towel Museum. The strap-line, ‘Every tea towel tells a story’, rings true for me, every day of the week. I am lucky enough that people, family friends and strangers, send me tea towels to add to my collection and with those tea towels, individually or collectively, comes a story that people share with me. Those stories may be funny, personal, sad, emotional or just ordinary; and I enjoy them all. In addition, I also get some great photos of tea towels which are also added to the Museum.
Last week, I was invited to join BBC Radio Norfolk, to talk briefly about tea towels. I like Norfolk, I have a number of Norfolk tea towels but I have never lived there. The only reason I was invited was that they wanted to talk about those tea towels that parents buy from the school Their children go to, because their child has drawn a picture of themselves on it; BBC Radio Norfolk obviously Googled something about tea towels and up jumped the Virtual Tea Towel Museum: “that will do” was the Editorial decision and there I was.
Not long after the broadcast, my friend Liz posted on Twitter “Exciting news! @myteatowels has just been on BBC Radio Norfolk talking about (drum roll) tea towels. Anyone hear it?”
Not long after that there was another Tweet “I heard it – I tune into @BBCNorfolk from Austria! I love tea towels too but don’t have as many as you! It was interesting. I shall have a look at your collection.” @Love_Austria007.
I wasn’t going to let a comment like that pass me by. I had an idea!
“Hope you enjoy browsing virtualteatowelmuseum.com. Would you like to be a Guest Tea Towel 2020? Choose your favourite tea towel, tell me about it and take a picture. Let me know if you are interested!” I reply but thinking that she thinks I’m bonkers. I was wrong!
“Oh yes I would love to do that. Thank you” and I sent her the instructions, including encouraging her to invite friends and family to take part.
“I know the one I will choose. I will get hubby to take a photo next week. Thanks for inviting me. Liz in Austria”
“Ask your husband to do one as well!” I suggest hopefully.
“Yes he says he will” Liz obviously has good techniques of persuasion. Here is their story:
“We were born born in Norfolk and our favourite tea towels reflect this. Both tea towels are much loved reminders of ‘home’ and both are framed and have had pride of place in our homes in Jersey, Channel Isles and, since 2016, in the forest in Southern Austria, where we are currently living (see picture above).
Liz spent her childhood growing up in Wells-Next-The-Sea and the tea towel is based on a painting by Wells artist, Hazel Ashby. Liz has dedicated a room in the house to her childhood home in Wells, Sandpiper Cottage, and this is where the tea towel hangs.
Rob’s tea towel, from ‘Gone Crabbing’, reflects his love of the sea and fishing; something he misses living in Austria, but a hobby he intends to take up again when we eventually relocate back to Norfolk for our retirement.
At the moment, we run a holiday apartment (monghofapartment.wordpress.com), which is literally in the woods. Liz is collecting tea towels from various places in Austria, and the surrounding countries we are visiting, whilst living abroad, so we can enjoy the memories for years to come”
Thank you, Liz and Rob, for (a) listening to BBC Radio Norfolk (b) getting in touch and (c) the great tea towel stories and photos. I, personally, have three tea towels from ‘Gone Crabbing’, but I didn’t see that one. If you find any interesting tea towels in Austria, just take a picture of one and I will put it in the Museum, accredited as ‘on loan from Liz and Rob’