So now what do I do with my wedding china?
When I first got married to my kids’ dad, 39 years ago next month, I was a fresh-faced pregnant 18-year-old and we had a typical, traditional marriage ceremony with me resplendent in a long white bridal gown and veil, ‘given away’ by my dad in our local church. All the men dressed in kilts and the women wore hats, and afterwards a formal wedding reception meal and dance was held at a reasonably posh hotel.
At that time it was still the norm for the bride-to-be to choose a particular pattern for fancy china with the intention that people who wished to contribute could then choose individual items of that same pattern to buy as a wedding gift, as the idea was to end up with a full (or thereabouts) posh dinner service made up of a collection of smaller pieces each gifted separately by various friends and family members.
I wasn’t ever keen on the usual fussy intricate patterns available at the time, so chose this Masons Ironstone ‘Fruit Basket’ design in green. Plain enough to suit my taste, but patterned enough to look good as a set. For the first few years of my married life my fancy dinner service sat unused in the china cabinet, and when that marriage ended it was packed into a storage box where it stayed for a good long while.
Eventually a few years later I decided it was silly to have it and not use it at all, so it became my special occasion ‘good’ china (which was its original intended purpose), but after several pieces got chipped and broken through normal wear and tear I packed it all up again until… whenever… And in the three decades since then I’ve dutifully kept the remains of my fancy dinner service untouched, still wrapped up and stored in the same big plastic crate.
In the year and a half since we moved in here the box of fancy china has sat hopefully in the corner of our spare room, biding its time, and today I decided finally to have a proper look to see exactly what is left in one piece, what is still there but damaged, and what is missing altogether. The image above shows all of the pieces that remain intact – more than I remembered, actually – and now it’s all sitting uneasily on my living room floor I’m unsure what to do with it.
Typically all the cups and saucers – six for tea, and six for coffee – are fine, but I only have four whole dinner plates, and only two egg cups. One further egg cup is cracked, and one extra dinner plate plus the sugar bowl each have an unsightly chip on the edge. Although the pattern design is now discontinued (not surprising after all these years) the individual pieces still seem to be quite expensive to buy online, so it’s clearly worth far too much just to give away, but as it was originally a gift I’m really not keen to sell it on.
I’ve even seen this particular pattern and colourway appearing on period dramas on TV – it seems to be a go-to favourite on Poirot – and I must admit it always makes me smile to see it. For me it’s a real blast from the past, a memory of a long-ago life that once was mine, and surely the fact that I still have it with me after all these years shows it still has some sentimental value for me?
So instead of making the difficult decision today about what to do with my wedding china, I’m taking pictures of it and writing a rambling blog post! Yes I know it’s more than one line, but that’s because the question is one line and of course I had to give it some context…
By tomorrow no doubt my dinner service will be back nestled tight into its plastic crate in the spare room, where it will inevitably stay for another several months (or maybe even years!) until I actually find a new home for it out on display somewhere in the house… 🙂