Yesterday was not the first time I finished my morning brew and realized that I had to take a photo of the inside of the bottom of my mug once it dried.
I’m currently using a French-pressed espresso coffee, bought already ground and vacuum sealed, so, not exactly top-shelf gourmet, but certainly an improvement to the drink I have three times a day. My list of gadgets now includes a grinder with no axle and an espresso press, both hand-powered for those times, be they in Svaneti or camping or elsewhere, when there’s just no electricity to be had. I may eventually get around to buying green beans and roasting them on the balcony with a paint stripper, a glorified hair drier which almost throws a flame, but not yet. Small steps. I digress).
So there is a bit of residue in the bottom of the mug.
This time it included BOTH a face and beautifully mathematically chaotic fractal branching, so, a win all round. Some hours later, I took the shot, but I haven’t yet broken down and washed the mug. I did contemplate trying to seal that pattern with some food-grade varnish which could also withstand having nearly boiling water poured onto it regularly… but that’s not very realistic. Could I instead just use ordinary varnish, not use the mug anymore, and leave it at that? Well, it happens to be my all-time favorite mug. Just the right size, more than 25 years old, bone china, with a delicate rim to avoid dribbles, and best of all, “Hay-On-Wye, Town of Books” printed on the side.
This village, in south-west Wales near the English border, is THE best place in the whole world for lovers of second-hand books. A friend took me there to browse once, when I was living in south England. The place has more than 20 bookshops of all sizes and specialities, and in the UK, “second hand books” might include a few centuries’ worth of material. Needless to say, I had a fantastic time, limited only by my budget, realizations that eventually I would have to fly away with my purchases (expecting to live elsewhere, like, the USSR), and time constraints. It remains a fond memory, and a place to which I must return.
So the mug has huge importance for me, as the repository of that trip’s recollections, a proper souvenir, and as an object of regular use which has survived moves to Austria, Russia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. I don’t WANT to stop using it. A photo will have to do: and I can even print it as large as I want and have it framed, if I so desire. This will do.
Quite some years ago, when Scientific American Magazine online was allowing its online members to submit blog articles, I wrote a piece called “There’s a Strange Attractor in my Coffee Mug”. As I recall, it was accepted for the blog, and even garnered a few likes and/or comments. I just googled it while writing this article, and nothing came up, so it might now be lost. Not even in the Internet Archive, which collects all sorts of ephemera, is there a copy. The article is about finding examples of the thing named in the title in all sorts of everyday places, which is a source of delight to my chaos-trained mind and eye.
I also once took a shot of a centipede-like creature which had fallen into another mug, this one at my parents-in-laws’ home in rural Kakheti. So I suppose there is a small history of such things presenting themselves to me, and me recording them for posterity. With that said, I hope you enjoy the current find, and that you may be stirred to seek such things yourself. They do bring a certain amount of joy.