My grandfather, Samuel Pretty, was one of the unique men of his generation. He was orphaned at an early age and after having a family with Ida Stewart Pretty, he was widowed at an early age as well. In addition, he worked on the railway and was away from home for days at a time. While he had a housekeeper after he was widowed, he eventually became the chief cook at home too. He was a good cook due to his time on the railway and made tasty rustic meals. While many men of his generation didn't cook, Pop knew his way around the kitchen and his snacks were as important as his meals. His snack was called a mug-up.
My grandfather loved his mug-up, his cup of tea and crackers, bread, cookies or cake, which he had between meals and before bedtime. In our house, it was called a lunch, but to Pop the mug-up was the term for his other meals.
Pop was never one to waste anything. He always had the tea bags that were good for two cups and saved the bag from the previous cup of tea for the next mug-up. This tea bag was placed in the middle of the saucer and the cup inverted over the bag so as to protect or hide it. It kept the old bag out of sight until it was needed. Sometimes several bags were revealed when the cup was lifted. For my grandfather, a mug-up never involved a mug but rather a cup and saucer, better for saving the bags I guess.
Today, many people have taken up the fancy coffee or tea trend for their mug-ups. Even Canadian favourite, Tim Horton's, has taken to the fancy coffee blends in addition to the basic 'double double,' regular coffee with two cream and two sugars. Coffee shops, offering the fanciest brews imaginable with costs between $4.00 and $5.00 each, abound. However, I can't look at one of those fancy drinks without thinking of Pop and that overturned cup on the saucer, the multiple tea bags, and the pleasure he got from the mug-up, for pennies a cup.