Milk Jug And Sugar Bowl
Dear diary...To remind myself next time to get a professional painter in next time I need to freshen up the decor.
For days with brush and paint it seems our sprucing up of the kitchen is now completed, though I have to say it's not a challenge I'd take on lightly again, you're getting to old for such malarkey Jenny, with all that arm waving, bending and stretching and awful smell of paint lingering.
While cleaning out kitchen cupboards, I was surprised to discover a royal vale bone china milk jug and sugar bowl from when we moved into our house fifteen years ago, I wondered why I'd just left such precious items to sit way back cloistered behind old oven cake baking tins that haven't been used in over fourteen years...sadly my baking days are over, just haven't got the inclination when it's just me and my partner. But discovering the china did bring me closer to my grans old dresser cabinet she left me that sits proudly in the living room, though sadly hidden behind armchairs, long forgotten and gathering dust.
Peering through the glass I remembered there were crystal candle holders and crystal dressing table pots, mother of pearl teapot with cups, saucers, sugar bowl and milk jug that were made in India. Also a curious animal skull my partner dug up from the garden when we first moved into our house, and some other little collectibles from my past travels.
I decided with curiosity to take a look inside, turning the fancy old metal key in the lock, it came as no surprise to find sitting on the second shelf down the rest of the matching set of royal vale cups, saucers and plates, decorated in a country scene of old house with beautiful cottage garden flowers, a mass of colour from times past.
It brought to life a childhood memory not thought about for many years. I was suddenly transported back to number 3 double house, Bower Ashton Bristol, at about seven years old in my gran and granddad's huge lounge, or so it seemed to me at the time, playing with my cousins on the well trodden rug in front of the fire.
We quite often went there for Sunday dinner which would be a big event. Granddad was a tall proud man who would always say that children should be seen and not heard, but on some rare occasions he'd crouch down on the rug with us, where we'd play at horses riding on his back. Poor granddad, we wouldn't let him be till that expression of; 'I've had enough!' Spread across his face, then we knew to leave him alone.
He'd either plonk himself down in his favourite armchair with pipe and tobacco, or retire to what he called the gentleman's room where children were not allowed, not even grandma could show her face, apart from letting him know that meal times were ready. All I do remember was glancing a peek at a huge snooker table through a gap in the door, and a room full of smoke.
I recall once asking why we couldn't come in? But he would just close the door refusing to answer my question, with gran telling me to come away and not bother granddad. It was only later that I discovered his business dealings with other men that would come and go from the house.
Granddad had a brilliant mind for figures and making money, he would dabble in stocks, shares and was a true genius when it came to keeping my gran in the style she was accustomed. Gran never had to lift a finger all her married life. Her friend next door came in to clean and cook for a wage, while gran attended to her hobby of looking after Persian cats...her favourite being Fluffy who would curl up on her lap and gran would spend long hours grooming.
Gran also loved entertaining and enjoyed it when all the family got together. She would get out the best cutlery and the obligatory John Constable dinner place mats, she loved those old paintings of the 1900s which never failed to catch her eye.
Sitting around the huge table in the dining room for Sunday lunch and eating off grans best plates was somewhat awkward, us children had to be careful and weren't allowed to talk or move, so we'd become fidgety, giggling at one another which didn't amuse my granddad in the least.
When dinner was over me and my cousins were like hysterical energetic monkeys running around the huge rambling house, though I can't seem to remember much about the upstairs which was on two floors, I do remember there were many bedrooms all of which we weren't allowed to enter, especially the attic which was my aunt's room right at the top of the house, she eventually left home and became a nun which my aunt made her vocation for a while, but it didn't last.
The kitchen is also a blank canvas, I suppose because we were so young it wasn't a place I wanted to venture into. I do remember the large hallway as you entered through the front door. There were shiny copper bed pans hanging on the walls. Chime of an old grandfather clock would strike on the hour, its charismatic appeal always left an impression on me. There was a great place to hide under the stairs where you could loose yourself in among the many boxes stored away with Christmas decorations.
In the lounge were armchairs, settees and early Victorian antique occasional tables. There would be starched linen tablecloths and dainty lace doilies, with the best bone china and plates of sandwiches with the crusts cut off and mouth-watering cakes made by the lady next door, a domestic atmosphere of bliss for gran, as flames flickered in the crackling sound of the fireplace.
I remember gran would spend her time pottering around the house, while granddad would spend much of his spare time down at his enormous allotment which wasn't far from the house, where we would go and dig for treasure, granddad would bury coins, it was his way of getting us to help turn over the earth, it was hard work but the effort was fun, especially when I dug up a sixpence or thruppence, I remember feeling really rich.
When granddad died I think it was pleurisy that took him, it was so sad because gran eventually sold double house, of course all our history of that period went with it, now the many memories are just fleeting, but of which I'll always be grateful for.
Photos my own.