I bought a new thermos. It’s a Georg Jensen design. Truly beautiful. Truly marvellous. It’s shiny and sleek and has a wonderful curve in its body. It has an ergonomic handle and a perfect-pour spout. It’s called a Beak Thermos Jug and has been inspired by the shape and pride of the Emperor Penguin. Made from stainless steel, it has a sense of permanency about it. ‘I will stand by your side, night and day, year in, year out, keeping your coffee hot, for as long as you need me!’ it seems to declare. So it’s good looking and reliable. Dreamy, eh?
If I sound like I’m in love, it’s because I am.
And if you think I’m bonkers, I have it on good authority that I’m not. Kevin McCloud says so!
My idol Kevin (of ‘Grand Designs’ fame) has many lovely ideas but this is the one that has stuck in my mind and makes a lot of sense: The things you touch most should be of the highest quality possible.
This includes taps, door handles, banisters, light switches, locks. A more exhaustive list might also include cutlery, thermoses, ballpoint pens, bed linen and husbands. Nobody wants to touch a husband of poor quality, do they?
Which brings me back to being in love. You see, I have two great loves in my life. My Beak thermos and my husband. Oddly, both are Danish.
We had a hiccup during the week which saw my husband, the Great Dane, ending up in hospital for two nights. He’s never spent a night in hospital before. He wasn’t even born in a hospital. (No, he was not born under a tree or in a Viking long boat. He was born at home, as were his siblings and many other children in Denmark in the 1960’s.) So it was a bit of a surprise when a trip to the doctor’s ended in an admission to hospital.
You see, the Great Dane’s made of sturdy stuff and has a sense of permanency about him. He has promised to stand by my side, night and day, year in, year out, for as long as I need him. He’s good looking and reliable. He is the Beak thermos of the human world.
So when, suddenly, he ended up in a hospital bed with drips and monitors and a very ugly blue gown, I was bemused. Bemused might sound like a shallow feeling. Perhaps, I should first have felt concerned, traumatised, deeply sympathetic … I did feel a touch of these things but, honestly, the strongest emotion was bemusement.
Don't get me wrong. I do not take this man for granted. I'm delighted that he's my husband and tell him so often. It’s just that I can’t imagine a world without him. I can't even imagine him not being strong and healthy and happy and funny. It just doesn't seem possible.
The Great Dane is home now and all is well. He and the Beak thermos are neck-a-neck in the sturdiness stakes once more. But our little flutter with mortality has given me cause to reflect: Have I given the same quality of companionship to the Great Dane as he has given to me? Have I been kind enough, engaging enough, funny enough, loving enough? Have I brought real joy to his life as he has to mine?
And these reflections have driven me to develop my own ideas regarding choice and quality.
I still agree with Kevin: The things you touch most should be of the highest quality possible.
But I think a more important maxim would be this: The manner in which we touch another’s life should be of the highest quality possible.
Thank you Great Dane for living your own life by this maxim. You’re a Danish design classic.