2021 Grateful 44: What good china?

Out walking the other day, I noticed that the lake had frozen in places. Sticks and twigs and low-lying branches that would normally dance to the ebb and flow of the water were caught in place, trapped, unable to move. That resonated.

Many of us are feeling that freeze. Curfews. Travel restrictions. Quarantines. All holding us in place. But the lake won’t stay frozen forever. That thaw will come. And with it, perhaps some new perspective.

I grew up with the concept of good – good shoes, good coat, good china. I learned from an early age when visiting relatives that the good china and the good glasses only came out on special occasions. It was the same at home.

In retrospect, it was always more about the person than the event. A first cousin once removed, an elderly and rather glamorous spinster would descend upon us in a waft of breathy fumes and the Waterford glass would appear. Or the good china.  Or the silver teaspoons.

The living room was lived in. The sitting room was where the occasional visitors were sat. Frequent visitors were often relegated to the living room as the effort of turning on the heat and dusting the artefacts became too much.

I visited many a house where the houseproud keeper of the duster still had plastic covers protecting the new couch that had never been sat on.

I once unwrapped a good jumper from its tissue paper, one I was saving for a very special occasion, only to find the moths had gorged themselves silly on it. There was a lesson I wasn’t ready to learn.

Tablecloths. Towels. Toiletries. All saved for that special guest, that special occasion, that special event.

Somewhere along the way, the light dawned. I stopped keeping stuff for special occasions. Maybe I got tired of opening expensive bottles of perfume to find that I’d grown out of that scent. Or maybe I got bored with the morning-after-regret of drinking the expensive bottle of wine last, well after my tastebuds had gone to sleep. Or maybe I stopped conflating value and price. But that’s another story.

In my corner of the world, the ice is melting, the sun is shining, and the reeds are still doing their restorative thing. They say we’re into the third wave but who’s counting? Being frozen in place means that each new day brings with it the time to walk and think and simply be. And for that, I’m grateful.


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9 Responses

  1. What a quality piece, much to think over. I agree with stupidity of saving things for best however with that comes the sadness of, for example, breaking a piece of good china………something which in earlier days would have been too expensive to replace.

    1. Particularly so when the pattern has been discontinued … I’ve been looking for a Denby dinner plate for nigh on 10 years with no luck. But the (very expensive) service is in daily use and has had only that one casualty.

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