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Shipping forecast fondness

The British fondness for Radio 4's Shipping Forecast is a comforting thing.

And thanks to E. Annie Proulx, even American readers (and I know there are a lot of you) will know what I'm on about. It's why this tiny little pin dish – depicting the evocatively named sea regions surrounding the British Isles – is pretty much my favourite thing in daily use in my house.

It's a bit knackered, and it only cost about £1, but I have used it every day since I found it – gleefully – in a magnificently bulging Isabel Hospice Shop (I think) in Potter's Bar, where I'd been to interview someone for a story.

I use it to put used tea-bags on (shamefully, as you can see, despite my scrubbing it quite hard for the photo its use is quite clear). I almost thought it was too good to use for my teabags – precisely because it was likely to get stained, and also because I liked it too much to want to give it such a prosaic purpose. But then I'd have been denying myself the daily pleasure I get from looking at it.

I hadn't looked at the back for the manufacturer until today (I bought it a little while back – prompted to write about it now for a reason I'll get to shortly): Britannia Dartmouth, it says. I Googled them and found that eBay is very well stocked with partner pieces.

There's the exact same dish currently going for £3.99 (and stain-free!), as well as the variation you can see above, for £1.99. The eBay search also threw up a few other Britannia designs of this ilk – one depicting London, one of the county of Devon, and a rather odd one with an illustrated Teddy Boy on it... Anyways – if you like the style, have a browse.

Now for the afore-mentioned prompt. I stumbled across this, below, which also feeds the warm fuzzy feeling we have for the Shipping Forecast.

It's a screenprint from the Calm Gallery and is by the prolific illustrator, James Brown. It's titled Viking, after the first region on the map, and costs £35 unframed.

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