The refined extension of the pinkie-finger, the civilised conversation, the meticulous preparation that goes into every steeped and sipped cup of tea.
But there’s something about inverting the whole, delicate process – the Mad Hatter isn’t the only one who connected the humble cuppa with unhinged behaviour.
For almost three decades, Morpeth has done the same thing, assembling thousands of teapots and tea cosies that embody the strange and creative.
The Weird and Wonderful Novelty Tea Pot exhibition has filled Campbell’s Store with teapots of every shape, colour and variety for 29 years now.
Organiser and manager of Campbell’s Store, Kylie Richards, said the team behind the exhibition works year-round to keep it ticking.
Ms Richards said there was a time when more than 4000 teapots were shipped from all corners of the country and the globe to participate in the Morpeth show. But even antiques aren’t immune to global financial tradewinds.
“We used to have a lot of Australian potters who made teapots for us,” Ms Richards said.
“These days the pots are getting harder and harder to come by.
“Particularly as the English pottery houses started to shut down during the global financial crisis.
“But, it’s like anything artisan these days, many [artists] used to be able to make a living out of it.
“Now not so much. It’s more a of a hobby.”
As a result the event has had to change. Now the exhibition is more than just proof you can pour tea out of a pug, a TV, a lighthouse, anything.
It called on knitters to baffle and shock judges with the most off-the-wall tea cosy designs they can imagine.
“We’ve sort of changed theme a bit,” Ms Richards said.
“The tea cosies are now a big part. There are still plenty of teapots on sale, but now only about 2000.”
It’s proven to be popular, this year there are 293 tea cosies, handmade, from across Australia and beyond.
Broad categories like “Things I found in the attic” produced a skull-shaped cosy entitled Great Grandma while “In the garden” produced three-dimensional flower beds, a cauliflower, even a rendition of Monet’s French garden made entirely of wool.
Most of the entries are for sale, but their moment in the sun will come on Thursday morning when the champion of each category is announced as will the grand champion tea cosy.
The novelty teapot show will run from August 18 to 28 at Campbell’s Store from 10am until 5pm. More information at www.campbellsstoremorpeth.com.