When I moved back home to live here, it nearly broke my heart to have to get rid of my grandmother's sideboard [a woodworm tenement] and my late Father's wardrobe [first cousin worms to the sideboard tenants]. Mum's eyesight had been steadily failing and the little puffs of woodworm dust went unnoticed. No amount of Cuprinol was going to revive these pieces so out to the bonfire they went. I saved the handles and have used them on the replacement furniture. It has worked well.
I'm a blue and white ware-aholic. I love Spode, Burleigh, Willow Pattern, you name it, and I get a tingle when I come across some in our local auctioneers. Aside from what I have inherited, I have built up a collection from presents from family, relations and friends. At one stage in the past eight years it looked like I was becoming the dumping ground for all those "unwanted old stuff" from those who prefer modern or chain-store "stuff". What I don't want myself I pass on to a local charity shop, which is another tale in itself. I rarely come home empty handed. Still it benefits the charity on the double.
Some of my favourites:-
an acquisition from an antiques warehouse, Indian Tree has always appealed.
A junk-shop find, this planter holds the poinsettia at Christmas, and fruit in June and July
A corner of my study. This jug belonged to my grandmother, the first "Chatelaine" of this house. The box with roses came from a supermarket with sewing things inside. It now serves as a tea caddy for when I "escape" to the study. The little delft jug on the shelving unit is part of a set of three that Mum brought back from a holiday in Holland. The picture is an enlargement of a photo of the Blasket Islands, Kerry, taken with my camera phone. The roses were a birthday present.
My dresser in its first incarnation in a corner of my then "new" kitchen. After I had the extension built I brought out all my pieces which had been carefully stored and put them in temporary accommodation. The smaller of the two vegetable dishes was inherited from my Great Grandmother, and the modern Spode was a present from my youngest daughter.
A couple of years later the dresser has moved to another corner, a Rossmore cabinet, bought when I first got married and was setting up my new home, holds the every day used Willow Pattern. A mix of new and old Spode and Willow Pattern graces the overmantle. The salt and pepper set were a "find" present from youngest daughter who, coincidentally shares the same taste.
There is a tradition, in Irish homes, of placing a statue of the Sacred Heart somewhere in the home. This is a statue which my Mother inherited from her Aunts who had a massive collection of them placed around their home. Two spinsters, who lived together in acid harmony, they had a houseful of antique and "vintage" pieces. I used to spend happy hours browsing around the house as a child.
There is something magical about "vintage pieces", be they inherited or bought - maybe on a whim, maybe to grace a particular area in the home. Whatever the reason for having such pieces, it is continuity that makes the impact. It is the fact that these pieces once were very special to someone. If they could talk, the stories they could tell.
I love to think of my gentle Grandmother, a legendary apple pie maker [in the family], sitting looking out of her kitchen window, nibbling on a slice of freshly baked in her range, slice of apple pie and sipping from one of the cups I have inherited. She would have looked out upon almost the same vista as I do when in my study. What was once her kitchen is now my study. Where once cows stood, lowing gently as they called to be milked, there is now a flower bed. The main cow-house is now a garage/workshop for Himself.
Times have changed, the third chatelaine of this house though is very much in tune with the first chatelaine. In between came Mum, lover of Ercol and all things modern. I guess I am a throwback.