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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Becoming Hyacinth Bouquet

I was indulging one of my passions at the weekend, bidding on eBay for Royal Albert Old Country Roses salad plates. John merely rolled his eyes upon hearing that "I had won" (it sounds so exciting, even if it was "buy it now" which this one wasn't).

Those dear readers who know me may think it a trifle Hyacinth Bouquet to have such an extensive range of Old Country Roses china. Surely a bit twee for someone who likes minimalist and rarely wears florals?

True, and yet I still think it's wonderful (I love roses) and I can't stop collecting. Fortunately I have drawn the line at the more twee items like telephones, trinket jars and dorothy pots (whatever that is) but I do have salad servers, cheese knives and a bon bon dish in addition to all the usual plates, tea pots and tureens.

It all started when my mum had an Old Country Roses tea set many years ago. It stayed in its box, was referred to as "the Crown Derby" and was never used. She gave it to me about five years ago and since then I had added to the collection with gay abandon. It usually comes out twice a year, certainly at Christmas, and recently for a dinner party. The only drawback is that you can't put it in a microwave (the gold leaf) and I have never put it in the dishwasher.

You can still buy OCR in the shops. The Royal Doulton website has it. But as affectionados will tell you, the more recent china is made in Indonesia, so you have to look out on eBay for first quality, made in England, which takes it back to the 60s and 70s.

To complete my collection I'm looking out for a full set of cutlery (very rare) and to buy a couple more tureens. Then I can bustle around like a real Hyacinth Bouquet.

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