This mug belonged to my mum. She used to keep it in her office whilst she was writing her PhD. This was around the same time as I was born, meaning the mug is over 20 years old. I got up in the dark to get ready for my nursing placement last autumn and slipped down the last few stairs. I was holding the mug at the time and ended up hitting it against the wall in my attempt to break my fall. I was left holding the handle in two pieces as the, fortunately empty, mug rolled across the carpet. A tiny cut in the palm of my hand served as a reminder for the duration of my 12 hour shift as it prickled every time I used the alcohol gel.
The process of handing over the mug to the project was rather like admitting a patient into hospital. Aside from swabbing it for MRSA and asking it if it smoked, we carried out all the same measurements and history taking as we would in practise It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the healing process our patients go through. How it must feel for their families as they hand their loved ones into our care. We spoke about the fact that after the fixing, the mug wouldn’t quite be the same. I wouldn’t be able to use it for drinking out of anymore, because the fracture point would still be weak. But for me, it was giving my mug a new lease of life. I wouldn’t be able to drink out of a handless mug either. So returning it to its former glory, with a bit of extra copper detail, was really satisfying. My mug may be physically weaker for the trauma, but it has come out the other side more beautiful and unique.
The breaking of the mug was also an opportunity for me to reflect on what it meant to me, I wasn’t aware of my attachment to it until I’d broken it. The mug can now be retired from the kitchen, after 20 years of good service, and be put out to pasture on my desk, holding my pens.
Top pictures: Angela Maddock
Two lower pictures: Alison