As regular readers may have picked up, I am a big fan of English china, the more antique the better, and am collecting bone china cups and saucers. Perhaps I should have gone into the antiques business or worked in a museum – or maybe I still can?! Anyway, back to the cups.
When I flew over to England a couple of weeks ago, I had hardly set foot in my mother’s house before I asked if I could take one of her Spode Mayflower tea cups back to Australia to add to my somewhat eclectic collection. Spode Mayflower is a particularly pretty with a purple floral design on the outside, red poppy-like flowers on the inside and scalloped edges – see picture – and one that takes me back to my childhood. My parents received a set of Mayflower tea and coffee cups as a wedding present in 1951.
But there is a bit of a hiccough in this nostalgic reminiscing; one day in 1970-something we were expecting people to afternoon tea and the tea trolley was laid up with the silver tea pot, the Mayflower tea cups, saucers and side plates and a freshly baked Swiss roll oozing raspberry jam. My brother Tim and I were larking around playing with a bouncy ball. I don’t recall who threw it in the direction of the tea things or who dived to catch it, but one of us collided with the trolley, one of the wheels came loose and the whole thing toppled over scattering broken china, milk, sugar cubes and Swiss roll across the linoleum floor.
But I do remember that my mother was furious, and rightly so. Although we managed to salvage some of the tea cups and still have all the coffee cups, we are now down to one tea cup. Mayflower is a discontinued line but I’ve been on Google and discovered that we could order some replacement tea cups from eBay in America. Meanwhile we had my uncle and aunt for lunch on Sunday and I made chocolate pots which I served in the Mayflower coffee cups and saucers. It was so lovely to use them, cherish them and give them a bit of tlc; cups needs to be used as much as a house needs to be lived in!
Mayflower aside, I’ve also found two new bone china cups to add to my collection – yes I will need lots of bubble wrap for the journey back to Melbourne – one purchased at a bric-a-brac shop in Knaresborough in Yorkshire and one in an antique shop near Darlington in Teeside. I’m hoping to find something in Poland and Zurich too, more about my travel plans in my next blog.