Birthday Strainer

This small, upright metal strainer stands in its own little saucer, eminently practical. It has flat, decorative lug handles with an interlocking geometric design of straight lines and curves which makes me think of Chinese patterns. The sides are very fine mesh and although it is made for tea, I shall make coffee in it.

For the last nearly twenty years my birthday has coincided with a steam fair we work at, selling engineering and woodworking tools and junk. It is somewhat of a tradition, for my children to hunt up and down the stalls for something unique to give me on the day. This year they found me a  little strainer to replace a cracked plastic one I have had for years. This modest present pleases me because it reminds me of camping, cold fresh mornings, water heating on the gas stove, my cup with a good spoon of ground coffee waiting in a little mesh sieve.

After I have given it a good clean, I make my first cup of coffee. I savour the smell as I wait for the coffee to brew, then lift the strainer out: I can see my children’s love in amongst the coffee grounds.


I aim to buy as little plastic as possible and recycle, save and mend where I can. A present that recognises these aims makes me feel truly happy.