It takes a lot to break me. I like to think of myself as a relatively strong human bean. If I was Cheryl on the X Factor there would be a lot less crying, and a whole hunk more steely resolution.
Yet last weekend, as we launched Operation Save What We Can, I was moved to quite inconsolable sobs. We have been storing all manner of items left over from the move that we hadn’t quite gotten around to unpacking in a room previously thought to be watertight, but turns out to be running with damp. Boxes had disintegrated, several items were fit for no more than going t’tip – but what broke my heart was when I picked up a soggy box marked FRAGILE. And there was a resounding crunching noise.
I carefully picked through the damp cardboard and found, lying on a bed of disintegrated tissue paper, in a squillion shards, my first ever piece of Royal Worcester.
That plate has been with me through thick and thin. I bought it with one of my first paypackets, on the way home from university when we went on a diversion to the Royal Worcester factory. It’s seen dinner parties galore, hosted cheeseboards, canapes, meringues and even a misguided attempt at sushi. It held the Petite Pommes first birthday cake.
Now it is no more. After years of loyal service, it was with a heavy heart and a sprinkling of really quite alarming large tears that I consigned it to the bin.
It may have been only a plate, and not a very fancy one at that, but it was a plate loaded with meaning and memories. One that I loved using and looking at.
Now the hunt is on for a new plate. A plate which can fill the gaping china hole in my collection. Yes, I have other plates, but none that were so perfectly proportioned for random and different foodstuffs.
I feel a shopping expedition coming on.