The Family China

They all went in the skip, the assorted china and silver plated tat that my mother had collected during her 70 years on earth.

Its amazing what old people will gather around them during their whole life span, more amazing that none of it is worth anything except the memories but mainly they don’t even have half decent memories attached to them, they are “just something worth hanging on to” or as my mother was want to often say, “I think its nice”

A Charles and Diana loving cup for instance, one of those squat two handled mugs with that hastily stuck-on 1981 photograph that was hastily stuck-on to all kinds of commemorative tat and sold to mothers who thought it looked nice.

“It’ll be worth something in future” she’d also say at random intervals, “No it won’t mother” we’d reply, “the whole country owns one” and indeed they did for the two handled loving cup with Charles and Diana’s engagement picture hastily stuck onto it was probably the worlds best selling cup of 1981.

A good assortment of Queens Silver Jubilee tat took up nearly one whole glass shelf of our glass fronted china cabinet, plates, mugs, spoons, 1977 gubbins in commemoration of Her Maj’s 25 years on the throne, my mother bought it all, came home with bags full of Silver Jubilee rubbish for weeks in May of 1977, Ned and I threw it all in a hired skip after our mother died, she probably still hates us for it.

Coins, we had enough commemorative coins to pave our driveway with, in fact having written that I wish thats what we would have done rather than throw them in the same skip as all the plates, mugs, cups and spoons. The Charles and Diana’s engagement commemorative crown of course (for those of a colonial extraction the reference to the “crown” is not one of those fancy hats that monarchs put on their heads, its a coin used purely for commemorative purposes in this modern era), and a Queens Silver Jubilee commemorative crown, the Charles and Diana wedding commemorative crown and a death of Winston Churchill commemorative crown, I can’t believe that someone stamped a commemorative crown for a dead politician but they did and my mother bought it.

A set of decimal coins in a presentation case was another great investment idea, I suppose in 1971 it seemed like a good idea to buy a cased set of the new decimal coinage that was soon to be introduced to a wary population, but if my mother had sat down and thought about it for even a couple of seconds even she would have come to realise that the investment value of something that was soon to be released to the population in billions of items would have to be limited – even now a boxed set of 1971 decimal coinage is worth less than its face value, you’d do better taking them out of the box and spending them on sweets at your local shop.

We had two cases of silver cutlery – we kept the two cases of silver cutlery, I have the two cases of silver cutlery in my garage and we have used the silver cutlery on precisely no occasions since hence the reason why it sulks in my garage with no purpose on earth other than to point at and say “family heirloom”.

The two cases of silver cutlery were not purchased by my mother but by my great-aunt Beattie but as she worked “in service” as a maid in a great house in Collingham during the 1920s I often wonder whether Beattie actually paid for them with her own cash or whether they may have been, shall we say, “obtained by surreptition”, either way they may be worth something after we’ve used a grinder to remove the previous family’s crest.

The glass fronted china cabinet – we have to be thankful in these more enlightened days that women generally do not have glass fronted china cabinets to fill with tat in their front rooms – was cram packed with china and silver plated tat and when the time came to empty our parents house of its contents prior to selling it and divvying up the resultant cash, Ned and I simply took a big box and with one sweep of the arm scooped the whole lot up into said box and thereon into the skip outside – we probably threw a fortune away in commemorative tat that day but to be honest I didn’t have the necessary bold-faced care-less attitude to stand on a car boot sale and flog off the family china to other woman who thought “they look nice”.

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