China matters …

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Don’t worry, I know how silly that sounds but … I can’t help it.  It really does matter to me.

I was going to type, “I don’t know why it matters”, but the truth is, I do.  It mattered to my mum, it mattered to my aunts and it mattered to my uncle.  Yes, in my family, china matters.

A coffee does not taste the same from a mug with thick walls and everyone knows,  don’t they, that white is the only colour for the interior of a cup or mug?

Money was hard to come by in my family but there was always money for a beautiful cup and saucer, for a china ornament or a special plate.

I can remember, as a young adult, a friend’s mum describing ornaments as dust collectors.  It was the first time I had ever encountered the view that Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, Lladro, Fitz & Floyd, and the like, were not something to be coveted.

I remember, very early in our relationship, buying Maus china as gifts.  It took me a while to realise that I liked it much more than she did.

I backpacked around Europe for a year and carried home six Lladro figurines for me and a one for each for my sisters and my mum.  That’s normal, isn’t it?

One of my great regrets was not buying a Christmas mug one year.  I don’t even remember the brand except that it was Japanese and it cost $78.  This was about 20 years ago and $78 was a bit to pay for a mug but, geez, I liked it.  I thought it would be on special after Christmas.  Who would spend $78 on a mug you can only use once a year?  I went back to the store and it was gone.  I couldn’t believe I could have been so silly not buying it when I saw it.  That mug has haunted me ever since.

As you can tell from the picture, there has been an accident in our house.  I broke a plate.  I know 99.99% of you would think “big deal” but big deal it is to me.  I broke it on Friday and I haven’t thrown it in the bin yet.  How weird is that?  Actually, it is on the desk by me as I type.

Hey!! I am not that weird!  It is here because I have been on ebay searching for a replacement and I wanted to make sure I bought exactly the same as I broke.  Maus once broke one of my plates and I bought a replacement online but the replacement was the wrong bloody size so I had to buy another one.  And then  I wanted to buy 5 more of the larger size because I didn’t like having just one.  I know, I know …

The plate I broke is a Villeroy & Boch Amapola bread and butter plate and, lucky for me, there are people out there who make a living supplying obsolete china to loonies like me.  A replacement is on its way from England.

Amapola was in production from 1981 – 2001.  It was made in Germany.  At the time of its first release, it was a bit radical.  It is very bold and not at all like country roses.  I remember buying each plate, one by one.  I would buy one each pay day.  My mum bought me pieces for Christmas and birthdays and, slowly but surely, I got the whole set.   Most young women would be spending their money on clothes and booze but not me; I was into plates.

It didn’t seem strange to me to spend my hard earned money on plates.  I can remember, as a kid, going to David Jones once a fortnight with mum whilst she paid off a lay-by for some Royal Doulton figurine she had seen and couldn’t resist.    Clearly, it is in the blood.

26 thoughts on “China matters …

  1. Pingback: In my kitchen – March 2015 | Passion Fruit Garden

  2. Im glad you have a replacement on its way but you still have the dilemma of a broken plate and what to do with it. I found this which you might be interested in as Im the same as you I mourn broken china and cant bring myself to throw it away. So it sits at the back of my cupboard making me feel sad everytime I spy them.
    The Japanese have a traditional way of repairing china its called Kintsugi and is based on the idea that the break makes its even more beautiful. They have kits too you can watch a video on the process and idea here http://vimeo.com/32228968#at=0
    Or you could make a mosaic trivet from the broken plate.

    Helenbeee

    PS: I have really enjoyed your blog and just made the Garibaldis as well 🙂

    • Hi Helen Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Broken or chipped china makes me sad. The replacement has arrived so I will throw out the broken plate. Soon I will forget to be sad about it. If I kept it, it would be a constant reminder, so now it must go. I am glad you are enjoying the blog. Thanks for trying a recipe. Did they taste good?

  3. I know exactly how you feel, Glenda. I inherited Mom’s china, crystal, and silverware. I’ve been slowly finding replacement pieces for the chipped and missing pieces. Should you have trouble locating a piece, you may have luck here: http://replacements.com/ You can search for a piece by company name, pattern, or even using a drawing/facsimile of the pattern. If you cannot find it, you can register the pattern with them and, if they find some pieces, they will notify you. I’m not in any way affiliated with them but I have been a customer. I hope you never need them. 🙂

    • Hi John, Thanks, I have seen their website and was going to buy something from them once, but the postage was prohibitive. Clearly, if I can’t get a plate elsewhere, then I won’t care about the postage. I didn’t know about the drawing facility. I have a little butter plate of my mum’s which I haven’t been able to identify. I think I will give it ago. It is lovely that you are replacing your mum’s missing pieces (especially if you were the naughty boy who broke it in the first place). Cheers, thanks for always stopping by and always commenting. BTW, there will be roses again soon.

  4. My, my … looks like you’ve hit a sensitive nerve, doesn’t it! Sandee collects nice china teapots and such – but my sensitivities may be a bit more like Maus. We don’t use the good china for everyday, instead using something more modest that appealed during a moment of weakness – and after about 8-10 months of service, we begin to tire of that pattern, and we typically spend a day or two making the rounds of thrift stores until we find something new and appealing, always so inexpensive as to be embarrassing, but it adds a little fun to dinner, and keeps dinnertime from being boring.

    • Hey Doc, that is a great idea. Op Shops (your Thrift Stores) are a trove of treasures. You can get some real bargains. I love the idea of changing patterns every 8-10 months. My trouble is, I spend much too much on china ever to be able to afford to do that. That is, except for the set we have in Bridgetown, I bought it at a salvage yard for a $ a plate. Now that was a bargain – we have 10 dinner plates, 10 oversized dinner plates, 10 pasta bowls and 10 butter plates – all for $40.

  5. Hope your plate arrives soon (and in one piece). I must admit that china figurines leave me cold and any that I’ve been given have fairly soon been passed on to someone else. But china that I can use – coffee pots, plates, cups etc are a different matter and I’m very happy to have them for ornamental and practical use. Good job we’re all different.
    And I completely agree about the right cup for the job.

  6. How wonderful you have an inherited set, and of such a beautiful design. I have a mismatched collection from op shops, garage sales etc. I get so sad when I see old houshold items that I think should be cherished by family that have been discarded or sold off because no-one wants them. But, it happened in my family also. They kept a few items each of my grandparents’ – the rest was sold. The things I have are precious to me. Some of the family call our house ‘the museum’ because of the amount of old treasures we have but I think when we’re both gone, they’ll wonder what to do with it all.
    Walking to the train station a few weeks ago I came across a pile of discarded items on the footpath – not unusual where we live – and my eye caught a small jar/vase, which I grabbed. Upon arriving at the office I looked at the base, of course, and it was marked Borne Denby and signed A College. A quick Google search gave me the info that it was a ‘Greenwheat’ piece from between 1950-1970. One person’s trash is aother’s treasure 🙂
    And I also am haunted by ‘I should have bought its’… and hope to come across the items to make it all good. You never know.

    • Hi Ella.My Sisters have my grandmother’s china and china that was given to my mum as an engagement present. I think history is important and in some families china is part of that history. I would be interested to know what comes of all the things in my house – I am sure they will be someone else’s treasure. Great find, BTW, treasure it.

  7. Hi Glenda
    I felt for you on Friday Glenda, I brought back a beautiful little Venetian Glass vase with an intricate red rose inside for my daughter Sasha from Venice in 2007. She had a rule no balls in the house for the kids and told them numerous times, until one day Alec forgot and guess what it smashed on the floor. I think I was more upset because I loved it so much and was happy for her to have it, and really should have bought one for myself. To this day I can’t stop thinking about it.
    You are not on your own I can understand completely!!

  8. Hi Glenda, we just love your enthusiasm – we all have our own things we are funny about – some more than others – just enjoy your thing!!!!!
    Deb & Gail

  9. Oh, I do understand. Small heartbreaks & deaths of precious things. But I try to use the bits in flower pots around the base of the stems, & in collages, & bowls of stones for forcing & on bookshelves & wherever else I can think my eye will still fall on them with some pleasure & not too much sorrow. I save all those “yardifact” bits of broken crockery I dig in the garden from other china disasters & use them too in those ways. We even cemented some prettiest shards in a stuccoed gable on the house, as a china doll head & marbles we use to spy as children in an old Victorian pile in the old hometown. And so they go on for the ages.

    • Hi Judith, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I know it is strange that I think it matters, but it really does. It is good to know there are others out there. Thanks for the tips.

  10. Aunty Glen, it is in the blood – I travelled all around Spain with my 3 Lladro figurines I bought there and after 2 years away they were the thing that came with me as hand luggage on the way home. I have just spent 3 weekends looking for the perfect mantle for the fireplace in our new house to display them!! Also Rob and I have separate tea cups. In the cabinet among the awful big thick walled mugs he insists on drinking from is my singular delicate fine china tea cup. It does taste different!! Seems bunions aren’t the only things I inherited 🙂

    • Hi Kate, Great to hear from you. You are lucky to have inherited the china gene. We are rare, indeed! The op shop is a good place for those thick walled mugs 🙂

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