One of the most dexterous words in English literature is things. Being flexible and useful is the entire point of a word like things, of course, but still: watch it sing in a book like I Capture the Castle or Cold Comfort Farm. Shall I clear away the tea things? That, I would argue, is the Early 20th Century English Novel Sentence par excellence. I didn't even look it up: I'm just assuming that Dodie Smith and Stella Gibbons will have both landed on it through sheer cultural resonance. How could they not? There will be tea so there will be tea things, and it's only polite to ask when you're thinking about getting rid of them, isn't it? And look what the word things is doing in that sentence! It is creating a friendly out-of-focus clutter of everyday objects, a nimbus of impedimenta. It is suggesting that even the most mindless of routines like serving a pot of Earl Grey will have a quiet exactitude to it, often requiring the use of tools. Life is ritual. Brew up.