Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Double Dutch and Daisies

We had not expected our two Dutch friends to arrive with anything. It was enough, more than enough, that they should take time out from their busy lives and work to fly from Amsterdam to visit us here in Budapest over a long weekend just past.

detail of the daisy [translated into Dutch as 'madeliefje'] vase, a gift from our Dutch friends

But what excitement and joy when they appeared in the drawing room with two large, mysteriously shaped packages which, we were later to know, had been carefully nursed on laps throughout the flight to ensure a safe arrival.

First, an outer wrapping of pretty papers which, discarded, tantalising resulted in layer upon layer of protective 'bubble' wrap which, in turn, the last shreds eagerly torn away, revealed the most beautiful and thoughtfully chosen cups and saucers and, as though they were insufficient in themselves, a further gift of the most handsome and wonderful 'daisy' vase.

two exceedingly pretty 'Limoges' cups and saucers of a floral pattern
the 'daisy' vase catches the eye displayed on a corner of a bookcase in the Morning Room

The cups and saucers, of the finest porcelain, herald from Limoges and date from around the 1930s. Roses abound, set upon a grey coloured background upon which there is a further impression of flowers, the whole effect one of lightness and dancing movement. Held to the light the cups become translucent - a further delight. Too precious to be used we shall, on special occasions, as the days darken, in the manner of Jane Austen characters, sip hot chocolate from them on winter nights and think fondly of our friends, absent but present.

the 'Limoges' cups waiting on a table in the Drawing Room to be filled with hot chocolate!

And how well they know us. For the vase, perfect in every way for the Morning Room, is exactly our kind of thing. Manufactured in the town of Gouda in the mid-twentieth century by Plateelbakkerij Zuid-Holland [PZH] and marked 'Royal Zuid Holland', the pattern 'Sinia' is rare, making this very much a collectors' item. The trademark,  'little house', stamped on the base, depicts the Gate of Lazarus, the stone doorway of the old leper infirmary of 1609.

the maker's marks are clearly visible on the base of the Dutch daisy vase

Today, a wet morning, which matches our sadness at the departure of our friends, the vase's sunshine flowers, against an intense cobalt blue criss-crossed in gold, dispel any gloom and cheer away the clouds.

How fortunate are we.

246 comments:

  1. Such wonderful gifts. The vase is truely beautiful and to have the history attached with it makes even more so. dee x

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    1. We were, of course, absolutely thrilled and, as you say, to know something of the vase's history does, indeed, make it even more special.

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  2. What lovely, thoughtful presents. Friends to cherish indeed.

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    1. Not only 'friends to cherish' but such very kind and generous ones as well.

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  3. Superbly and supremely.

    The richness of such friends in our lives is quite enough, and the rose-and-daisy lagniappe---too much sugar for a dime.

    Will you share the delights of the weekend, perhaps?

    rachel

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    1. Oh, Rachel, the weekend was packed with such goodly things not least because whatever we suggested our friends were hugely enthusiastic. So we 'did' museums, we walked, we visited coffee houses and restaurants, spent time in antique and vintage shops but, above all else, we talked, endlessly. Such enormous fun.

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  4. It sounds like you had a great visit with your friends. I love the shape of the Limoges cups and the little flowers, however, the daisy vase is something that would make me happy to see each and every day. It is very much a fine piece of pottery. Thanks for sharing these.

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    1. The Limoges cups are so very pretty and we shall, on occasion, have such pleasure using them. The 'daisy' vase would, of course, brighten anyone's day.

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  5. Jane and Lance, your cups and saucers are utterly exquisite; my days gains a little beauty and refinement just by looking at them. But please don't keep them for occasions: use them every day and make every hot drink an occasion. Your kind friends would like that, I'm sure.

    I love the happy vase as well, but confess that I would steal the cups and saucers first just in case the alarm went off before I could take anything further.

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    1. You are right, Mise. And as always you speak [or write!!] words of wisdom of which we shall, as of this moment, take notice.

      Steal, Mise? Do you really think that you would be able to scale the electrified perimeter fences, overcome the savage guard dogs, outwit the armed security guards and silence the several alarms, all of which we now employ to protect our newly acquired treasures?

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  6. Dear Jane & Lance. What lovely gifts to receive from your guests. The cups look so elegant on your drawing room table.

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    1. Thank you so much, Paul. We were, and are, totally delighted with our gifts which were completely unexpected but which are so wonderful to have.

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  7. what utterly gorgeous gifts....I do particularly love the daisy vase although a cup of hot chocolate would go down quite well as I am nursing my summer cold!!

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    1. Oh dear, poor you with a summer cold. In our view these are always the worst. Take comfort in a cup of virtual hot chocolate sent with our very best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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  8. What generous gifts from your Dutch visitors. Gifts Purchased (or indeed made) with the recipient’s tastes in mind, always seem to add an extra dimension and seem to imprint the memory of the giver more firmly.

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    1. You are so right, Marilyn. Our friends had clearly been to enormous lengths to discover something which would be exactly right for us. And how they succeeded!!

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  9. Hello Jane and Lance. What a beautiful gift from your friends. The teacups are very pretty and so delicate looking and the vase is a beauty. It's been dull and cool here too. I drink a lot of hot tea to warm me up. I wish you a good week. Pamela

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    1. The gifts are absolutely wonderful, Pamela. But we have taken the advice of Mise [above] and have decided that we shall enjoy using the cups regularly, starting with tea this afternoon.

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  10. What a beautiful gift from great friends with beautiful hearts. You two are blessed to have such good friends, is it not a bliss to have friends who care and know your likes and dislikes.

    Best wishes

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    1. How well you describe the gift of true friendship in the way of 'bliss'. We consider ourselves to be so fortunate in friendship, for us one of life's greatest blessings and joys.

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  11. Your Limoges cups and saucers are sublime and that translucent effect you talk of always amazes me when weighed against their survival and delicate nature. It is yet another rainy day here in the UK and your daisy vase has brought a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day!
    Di
    X

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    1. We were so amazed, Dianne, when we held the cups to the light almost to see through them. Yes, one wonders how such delicate things can survive.

      The rain, or so we understand it, in Britain has been terrible of late. So depressing particularly as summer is advancing!

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  12. Of course you would receive such lovely things as I can only guess you are the most treasured of friends to all that know you... What a beautiful picture you paint of a life well lived... Like a novel.

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    1. That, Cynthia, is such a very kind and generous comment. Friends, as you will know yourself, are to be treasured and count, with family, above all else.

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  13. What a lovely gift!
    And I'm always a huge fan of properly wrapped--UNwrapping is half the pleasure of getting a present.

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    1. A gift which is carefully and prettily wrapped does, as you say, take on an extra dimension and demonstrates so much thought on the part of the giver.

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  14. Mr. Fly collects gouda and had that vase identified as soon as the clip came up....
    What a wonderful present, together with the Limoges, from friends who had clearly taken much thought as to how to give you pleasure.

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    1. How utterly splendid is this! Perhaps, one day, Mr. Fly may be persuaded to allow, through 'The Web', a glimpse into his collection? We do hope so.

      And, of course, we were and are delighted with our gifts.

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  15. Oh hooray! I am so glad that you are going to take Mise's most excellent advice and use your wonderful gifts. My goodness, your friends either know your tastes to a "t" or have wonderful taste themselves--or both!--because I can't think of anything more perfect for you both.

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    1. We most certainly are going to take Mise's advice to heart and are so pleased that you approve of our so doing, Heather. We are certain that our friends went to a great deal of trouble to find such a wonderful gift - and we are so glad that they did for the cups and vase will be a constant reminder of a very, very happy weekend.

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  16. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I am getting all misty eyed sitting here behind my laptop. So much praise....It was a joy to go on the lookout for something I hoped you would like :-).

    The teacup by Huttl and the glass bowl arrived home safe. They now adjourn our dinner table. Such beautiful memories of four wonderful days with you!

    Hope lots more memories will follow in future. Holland first!

    Much love,

    Madelief x



    Say hello to Bruce from me!

    Much love,

    Madelief x

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    1. We have been so sad since you left but whenever we pass through the Drawing Room, or are in the Morning Room, we are reminded of all the fun which we had with you both.

      We are much relieved that your purchases arrived home safely. We are in mind to make a return visit to Pál utca later this week in the hope of scooping up the remaining Huttl. Too good to miss!

      Bruce is causing big traffic jams today - right outside our door. We are less than pleased!!

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  17. What a wonderful gift, Limoges is always exquisite, and as you two love black and white, the vase is just perfect. The translucency of fine porcelain never ceases to leave me in awe.

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    1. We are so thrilled with our gifts which were, are, exactly right for us and so clearly chosen with care.

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  18. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Such sweetness--Will you be reading aloud to each other between sips of hot chocolate? I have a couple of small Gouda pieces and love them--they are not so well known here in the States. Also, how nice to know that madeliefje means daisy--there is a certain blog by that name, and she posts the most beautiful pictures of flowers. I sense a connection here...

    So glad you had a lovely visit.

    Jen

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    1. Now, Jen, that is something about which we had not thought but which, on reflection, will be totally in keeping with the sipping of chocolate from the cups.

      Your powers of detection do not in any way let you down!!

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  19. I love your beautiful gifts, especially the pretty little cups and how lucky to have a visit from the lovely Madelief. Glad you had a good time.

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    1. We are so pleased that you too like the cups, Marina, which really are so pretty - even more so than our pictures show. And, yes, Madelief does have the most wonderful blog and her posts are always beautifully illustrated.

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  20. Totally unexpected gifts are those that are to be treasured, especially when they have been carefully chosen for us with love. When you are relaxing, and sipping your hot chocolate on a cold winters night, may fond memories of your happy weekend be your companion.

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    1. It is so what you say here, Rosemary. And, as we are sure that you will know, we had the happiest of weekends, memories of which will, we are certain, be with us for many, many years to come.

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  21. What lovely gifts from your friends that you can cherish forever! Hope you had a great time together!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rose. We had a wonderful time with our friends and one which we shall not forget for a great deal of time to come.

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  22. Ah, I do believe friends are the most wonderful thing in life.....the cups and vase are beautiful. I can just taste the hot chocolate in those cups. Good china and crystal always make everything taste better. xo

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    1. We do so agree with what you say about friends, Barbara. And yes, it is true that everything tastes so much better when taken from good glass or china.

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  23. The vase is exquisite, I love the bold flowers!

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    1. We are absolutely delighted with the vase, Sue, not least because it is so wonderfully cheerful in appearance.

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  24. those tea cups are awesome as is the vase. what thoughtful friends you have. every time you use them i'm sure it will be with a smile on your face. is it tea time yet?

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    1. You are right, Janet, they really are the most thoughtful, and kind, friends and we were, as you may imagine, delighted to receive such wonderful gifts.

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  25. How completely delightful. These really ARE lovely gifts. I often don't like receiving gifts that are bought from a catalogue, however expensive. But something chosen with care and an eye to my taste and interest - well, it's just what a gift should be.

    I liked them both, although the tea cups perhaps had the edge. I am sure your friends absolutely loved coming to visit you and are thrilled to have had the chance.

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    1. We do so agree, Jenny, with all that you say here. And we know that these were really sought out and chosen with us in mind which makes them so very special. We did, indeed, have the most wonderful weekend with our friends and were so very sorry when they went.

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  26. It's always sad and a bit flat after friends leave. There's a big echo in the house for a while. But you clearly had a good time - and have lovely memories - and then there are those super gifts. So pretty and so well chosen.

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    1. Yes, we do have the memories and there will, of course, be future occasions but that does not totally take away from that 'flat' feeling which you describe when friends depart.

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  27. The tea cups and the vase are both amazing pieces, I have never seen a vase such as the daisy one and it has it's own unique and remarkable style.

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    1. As for you, Linda, the vase is our first introduction to items produced by the Gouda factory which has now, or so we understand, been replaced with apartment blocks.

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  28. How thoughtful! The teacups are beautiful. My mother had a wonderful collection, and I inherited some of them (lucky me). The sight of yours reminds me of her :) I'm glad you had such a nice visit--your sad feelings at their departure is a testament to it!

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    1. How wonderful that you should have inherited teacups from your mother. They are lovely items to collect and use, and we rather like having a mixture of china on the tea or dinner table.

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  29. They really are beautiful gifts. Our Dutch friends make a big thing of coffee and cake at around 8pm every evening.

    They also like to use beautiful china and savour the moment.


    Enjoy...

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    1. We too rather enjoy coffee and cake in the evening and will, quite often, go to a nearby coffee house after dinner and before it closes at 10pm.

      Really good china does always make every occasion, however simple, special.

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  30. Replies
    1. Indeed. We are so very fortunate to have such generous friends.

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  31. How wonderful to have something not only beautiful but which means so much because it reminds you of special people and special times.

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    1. Apart from the beauty of the gifts, their value is, as you say, the way in which they serve to remind us of a very happy occasion.

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  32. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What wonderful friends you have to bring you such perfect gifts. The colouring on the daisy vase goes so well in your morning room and the cups and saucers are a delight. I can just see you both sipping your hot chocolate from them in deepest December !!
    Absolutely perfect gifts for you both ..... your friends are so thoughtful and know you very well, I think. You will think of them everytime you use them which will make up for their departure. XXXX

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    1. Jackie, we are so lucky and, as you will know, so delighted with both the vase and the teacups, which we will most certainly use. The vase is perfect and not least for the way in which it picks up the green of the lamp base and also the green of the Suzie Cooper china which we keep in the Morning Room. Nothing really was expected, but they could not have made a better choice.

      We do hope that you too had a really enjoyable weekend.

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  33. Dear Jane and Lance,
    wonderful friends, and to put cream (double) on that cake: with presents that show they know you well and have thought how to please you! The cups and saucers are so beautiful - and very well kept for special moments! What I like is that every time you'll drink your cocoa from it you will think of your friends - a perfect gift!
    And the vase is ornament in itself!

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    1. What a wonderful way of expressing it for it really was adding 'cream [and 'double' in every sense] on that cake'. It is true that, as you say, each time we drink from the cups we shall think of our friends and this particular weekend.

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  34. Flowers and friendship to cherish year-round!

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    1. Indeed. And we shall be the richer for it.

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  35. As I read about the gifts, I was so excited. I LOVE bubble wrap. But then even better: the vase and cups/saucers. Really beautiful! Disappointed, however, no photos of the bubble wrap.

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    1. We agree, anything which comes in 'bubble' wrap is especially exciting. And these were certainly no exception.

      But, Mitch, you will have to remain disappointed. You cannot have all of the sweets in the bag all at once!!

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  36. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I am in awe about this presents! They are not only so pretty but priceless as well, especially because they are coming form such good friends.

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    1. We too, Petro, were and are in awe of such kindness and generosity. Gifts to treasure for years to come.

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  37. Exceedingly fortunate, Jane and Lance. What wonderful friends - what wonderful friendships. Never having met you, I can tell just from the way your friends treat you that you and Jane must be very special people. I'm so happy I found your blog. :)

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    1. We are, indeed, Yvette, blessed with the most wonderful friends whose generosity and kindness continually enrich our lives. And now we are so very touched by what you say here. It is deeply appreciated.

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  38. What great gifts.I have spent many hours walking around the pottery from Limoges, there is some really exquisite china still made there. You are a lucky pair. Diane

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    1. How lovely, Diane, to have visited the china factory at Limoges, something which we should much enjoy. We are, naturally, delighted with our teacups.

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  39. When i see those presents i know who was their by you.....it was Madelief !..she is such a great woman.......nice to hear she was by you in Boedapest......love love love Ria...xxx..

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    1. Ria, of course you are absolutely right. Madelief is indeed a wonderful person, hugely kind and very generous. We are so very lucky to have her as our friend.

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  40. Dear Jane and Lance,
    What wonderful presents Madelief bought you, she is always finding such wonderful tea cups, but yours sound extra special, glad you all had such a wonderful weekend.
    Sarah x

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    1. You are absolutely right, Sarah. Madelief has the most wonderful eye for attractive and intriguing things and we are thrilled with the gifts that she chose for us. They were just perfect in every respect and now they are here with us to remind us of the wonderful time we all spent together.

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  41. Oh my, what lovely presents, and what lovely memory creators. The daisy is my most favorite flower, next to the snowdrop. Both flowers of my childhood.

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    1. Daisies are indeed such cheerful flowers, we think, guaranteed to make one smile whatever the weather or one's mood. As you say, perhaps it is their links with one's childhood that makes one smile!

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  42. I'm looking for my stripey jumper, black eye mask and bag marked "swag". Could you leave the window slightly open...please? I promise to cherish those cups and saucers......

    What visions of beauty your guests brought with them. Good to hear you all had such a wonderful time.

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    1. You might have some difficulty, Cathy, climbing up the drainpipe to the second floor....especially as we shall now be on the permanent look out for a striped jumper and eye mask!!

      Yes, the gifts are beautiful and generous. We are thrilled with them, but even more delighted to have forged a friendship that goes beyond the bounds of our countries.

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  43. I like the cups very much - it is the shallow shape as well as the pattern which makes them interesting . You seem to have so many lovely and well chosen possessions; they must bring you great joy.

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    1. Yes, Mark, the cups are a very pretty shape. They are incredibly elegant and delicate and one can well imagine their being used in a most refined manner over the decades!

      Most of our possessions hold such poignant memories and connections for us that they really do give us great joy!

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  44. What a striking vase, Jane and Lance. I've never seen anything like it. Impossible to find any flowers that won;t compete with it! Have you any other pieces from the same maker?

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    1. It is not our intention, dearest Faisal, to place any flowers in the vase. We are too concerned that we may spoil it and, as you say, it is better to look at the vase as an object of beauty in itself rather than having the distraction of flowers.

      We have no other pieces of Gouda pottery but this delightful gift has certainly piqued our interest and we may well now look out for more!

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  45. Lovely gifts. The simple daisy flowers are very cheery against that beautiful cobalt blue on the vase and the cups and saucers are perfect. I love the image of your friends so carefully nursing the packages on the aeroplane.

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    1. The cobalt blue does make a very striking contrast to the white daisies which are decorated with gold flashes. As a result, the vase catches the light beautifully and really does make the room come alive.

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  46. I am all astonishment. You never cease to amaze me Jane and Lance.
    I am absolutely thrilled about your cups and saucers, they are beautiful. And even a Jane Austen character, such as Mister Darcy would be much honored to sip his tea from one of those cups. Kisses and salutations to your great Dutch friends :).

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    1. Well, Petronela, we should, of course, be delighted to entertain Mr Darcy to tea, especially if it were Colin Firth! Sometimes, we think that the whole of our lives sounds like something one might read in a Jane Austen novel!!

      We are sure that you would have loved our Dutch friends too. They are simply delightful!

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  47. What beautiful gifts! The cups are so pretty and I agree - they look to good to actually use! But you should definitely use them for special occasions! And the vase is fabulous!

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    1. We too originally thought them too good to use, Clare, but have decided that we shall use and enjoy them, but perhaps not every day. Yes, the vase is lovely.

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  48. These are indeed wonderful presents to receive, your Dutch friends must value the two of you highly to part with such treasures with a glad heart. I would have been so tempted to keep them for myself. (I admit to being utterly selfish). I hope you will derive many years of pleasure from them. (I also admit that such items tend to get put behind glass in my house and rarely see the light of the tea table). Perhaps I should start to think about using them?

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    1. In the main we are always on the side of using the things which we have and do not, generally, go along with putting things away or having them for display purposes only. Of course we have exceptions to this. Often, like you, we find it difficult to give away something which we really like. Our Dutch friends are exceedingly generous.

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  49. Jane and Lance, Such beautiful treasures your friend brought with them. The vase is amazing. Is it not true that only the finest porcelain (such as Lemoge' becomes transparent when the light shines through? I am almost certain I read that somewhere. Now when you are missing your dear friends you need only look at your lovely gifts. Bonnie

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    1. We certainly think, like you, Bonnie, that it must be very fine porcelain which takes on that translucent quality which certainly our Limoges teacups and saucers have. As you say, when missing our friends we have only to look at the wonderful gifts.

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  50. I do love the detail on the vase. I was out walking today and noticed a woman who a large daisy on her shirt, I thought of your new gift. Beautiful!! And to have such wonderful friends who come to join you. I have never seen such a beautiful shape in tea cups. Yes, and drinking hot chocolate is perfect.
    I met Colin Firth some years back as his son is from Victoria, BC, where I live. He was going in a bookstore in town. He is very quiet, but nice.

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    1. It is really odd, Suzanne, how one thing can lead to, and make connections with, another as in the case of the woman's shirt which you noticed when out walking.

      How interesting that you should have met Colin Firth!! We have always imagined him to be quite reticent, something which comes over when he is interviewed.

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  51. They really are friends,because they have chosen the perfect presents for you. These gifts are absolute treasures, as indeed your thoughtful,generous friends must be.

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    1. It is, as you say, the care with which the gifts were chosen, with us obviously so much in mind, which makes them very special indeed.

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  52. Hello, Jane and Lance:

    Your friends brought lovely gifts. Two things that stand out to me — I think the green daisy drop-shadow is the crowning touch on the vase, and the shallow but wide proportion of the cups is especially elegant, just how I would want every cup to look!

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    1. You are always, Mark, a very close observer of things with, we believe, a very keen eye for detail which is so often reflected in your own posts. The cups are indeed truly elegant.

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  53. Dear Jane and Lance, How lovely to have such thoughtfully chosen gifts secretly enter your home via treasured friends. A fun entrance . . . with "mysterious packages" and I can imagine the double delight in having such friends visit and then unexpected precious gifts . . . the unveiling must have been a joy for all. I also imagine that the friends are quite charming, cultured and generous . . . as their exquisite presents reveal. I LOVE the vase and the cups . . . hot chocolate sounds perfect. The sweet arrival of these new members of your household will always . . . as you say . . . keep your dear friends nearby.

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    1. The opening of the gifts was, Carol, an absolutely joyous and magical moment. We had expected nothing and could not, for one moment, imagine what the parcels might contain. It was all so very exciting and now, as you say, the gifts remain as permanent reminders of a wonderful extended weekend.

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  54. For most art history faculties, there are three important types of object: painting, architecture and sculpture. Everything else is Applied Art or, worse still, "Decorative Art".

    Yet good porcelain is beautifully crafted, transluscent and individually painted. Along with gold and silver art, I think porcelain art is arguably the most beautiful.

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    1. We do agree about the inherent beauty of all types and forms of fine porcelain which, in our view, takes on an added loveliness with time and age.

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  55. What lovely gifts from your friends. They must have been so excited to give them to you knowing how much they would be appreciated.
    I think that daisy vase in particular is stunningly beautiful.
    The teacups are so delicate, amazing they were able to get everything to you in one piece, travel being as hectic as it is!
    Thanks for sharing with us and I hope you are both well.

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    1. We too were amazed that such delicate items as the teacups and saucers should have travelled so well and so safely. But we do know that they were held at all times during the entire flight, not for one moment trusted to the overhead lockers!!

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  56. Oh how lovely.... I believe it's of utmost importance that we imbibe with style... I'm a slight tinge of green - they are just so pretty. Isn't it wonderful when friends give us what they "just know" we WILL treasure. XX

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    1. Friends are always in our experience wonderfully kind. But on this occasion we were, and are, overcome by so much generosity. True treasures!

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  57. The vase is very nice and the tea cups fine. How intriguing are the vase maker's marks, especially the little house. It almost looks to be a naive Japanese mark.

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    1. Yes, Andrew, the mark of the Gate of Lazarus could so easily be seen as Japanese. It is, we think, so very attractive and of interest since the factory is no more.

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  58. Charming gifts for a charming host and hostess. When one talks about Makers Mark here in Kentucky, one means bourbon- don't you think you have a lovely container for such a drink? Yes, I am saying you should drink bourbon by the vaseful. You friends would want it that way. Well, THIS friend would.

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    1. How very kind, and generous, of you, Helen. What a wonderful idea to own to drinking bourbon, or anything else come to that, by the vaseful. Now that is indeed stylish and we shall get started right now!! Cheers!

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  59. Dear Lance and Jane,

    The gift of friendship is so precious. You seem to have such interesting and caring people wIth whom you surround your lives. How lucky you are!

    The gifts you received are beautiful. Although the cups and saucers are precious, you should use them often (although carefully). It will make you feel good, and your friends would enjoy the thought of you both having something lovely to drink from their elegant gift.


    A present left on a shelf or stored away for a special occasion is a lost opportunity. Life is too short not to use the best that life has to offer.

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    1. We are indeed most fortunate, Arleen. Over the years we have been so privileged to have met and formed friendships with so very many interesting and very individual people, all of whom have contributed to the enrichment of our lives.

      We shall use the cups! They are too pretty to put away and we shall have such pleasure drinking from them. Decision taken! Your final sentence, which is so very meaningful, convinces us. Thank you.

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  60. How lovely, and how nice to have friends that know you well enough to understand you taste. What a wonderful time you must have had. Good friends add so much to the joy of life.

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    1. Yes, we really do feel, Adrienne, that our friends knew exactly the kind of thing which we should like. The weekend sped past but we had great fun even though we did not do all that we had planned. Another time!

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  61. Civilization had to show somewhere after all. Everything cannot be about risk premium :-).

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    1. No, you are right. And how good that it is not!

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  62. Beautiful !
    The cups and saucers are indeed charming but the vase is lovely on it own no flowers needed !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. We decided, rather as you say here, Gayle, that the vase would not be used for flowers as they would, almost certainly, compete and we actually prefer it as it is.

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  63. I remember the first time I saw teacup with a delicate pattern inside as well as out, how lovely I thought that was. The ones you received from your friends are magnificent!

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    1. What intrigues us, Susan, is that when one looks at the pattern of the flowers carefully, it is then that one notices that they are set against a background in which the outline of more flowers may be traced.

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    2. Oh, thanks for pointing that out--wonderful!

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    3. The more we look, the more we see, the more the bring us joy!

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  64. Hello Jane and Lance

    Your weekend with Madelief and friend sounds very special.What a dream come true. The gifts are so generous,unique and beautiful, just like the giver and the receivers.

    Wishing you a week of joy

    Helenxx

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    1. Madelief came, of course, with her husband, as we trust, dear Helen, you will come with yours. Although only here for four days, we really did have a wonderful time, much of which, as you may imagine, was spent talking!! But we did, of course, also see the sights!

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  65. Hello, Jane and Lance! I`m so glad to visit you here. Love your blog and I`m already a newest follower :o)
    Beautiful gifts you`ve got there! Love the blue cobalt vase and the teacups with saucers as well. You know so much about Fine China, I want I will someday :o) Madelief such a lovely lady!
    P.S. Thank you so much for following me too and for your kind words. I`m so glad to meet you :o)
    Wish you having a sunny week in Budapest
    lot of love from Russia
    Natasha

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    1. Thank you so much, Natasha, for becoming our latest Follower. We are delighted to have you as also we are so pleased to have discovered you! Although they are now living and working in London, recently with a very new baby, two of our very best friends are Russian and come from Moscow, a country and city which, one day, we very much hope to visit.

      Madelief is a wonderful person and we are so lucky to have her and her husband as friends.

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  66. Hello there! I have always been a huge fan of floral motifs, and those cups just take my breath away. And so, I can't help but envy you! Their oozing prettiness and your Austen allusion reminds me of her description of the Bath Pump Room in 'Persuasion'. Just some good home-made scones for tea, and what joy!

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    1. We too love patterns of flowers and so, as you may imagine, these cups and saucers, and the vase, are absolutely perfect for us.

      And now you have put us in mind of tea in the Pump Room in Bath, somewhere we used to go many years ago. You will have us making scones, Suman, before the day is out!!

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  67. Dear Jane and Lance
    Your friends gave to you wonderful gifts. The cups are wonderful and the vase with beautiful daisies is amazing. These gifts are full of love!
    Have a nice day
    Olympia

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    1. We are, of course, thrilled with the gifts, Olympia. It is such a very special feeling when friends bring one gifts that one would have chosen for oneself. It is if a lasting connection has been made and we are certain that this is the case!

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  68. Such beautiful gifts from what it seems to have been a lovely visit : )

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    1. We enjoyed every moment of the visit, dearest Demie. Our Dutch friends were so enthusiastic about everything that it made the time fly by so very easily and pleasantly.

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  69. What a lovely pair of Limoges cups--drinking hot chocolate out of them will be a treat! And super vase! It just goes to show Gouda produces more than cheese :-) How wonderful to be given these.

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    1. We have to confess that we only associated Gouda with cheese [and very good cheese at that]before the arrival of our Dutch friends. Now, a whole new world has opened up for us and we shall be seeking out Gouda pieces with great enthusiasm from now on.

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  70. Your lovely friends came bearing gifts - and what delightful gifts they were Jane and Lance.
    They are gifts to make memories with - just delightful.

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    1. Rose, you are absolutely right. These are gifts which we shall certainly treasure and they will continue to act as wonderful reminders of our time spent together.

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  71. Hello Jane and Lance

    I always think that the aroma and flavour of tea and coffee is somehow heightened when it is served in porcelain but hot chocolate, the ultimate luxury, deserves the best china. So, how perceptive of your Dutch guests to bring such pretty and useful gifts.

    Anna

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    1. We certainly agree, Anna, that a drink seems to take on a whole new level of luxury when it is sipped from a beautiful vessel. We shall reserve our Charbonnel and Walker hot chocolate for the Limoges cups. They deserve only the best, we feel!

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  72. ...think of me supping my cocoa from my spotty Emma Bridgewater, tough as old boots, crockery...
    Sx

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    1. ......but, so very stylish, Miss Scarlet, just as we should expect from a hip, urban girl such as yourself!!!

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  73. Very thoughtful and well chosen gifts!
    I love the way the china cups have the rose pattern inside. I have some beautiful china cups and saucers that belonged to my mother but don't use them, which is a bit of a shame.
    The pattern on the vase reminds me of Clarice Cliff pieces. It is fabulous!
    Penny

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    1. The china cups are beautifully decorated. We fear that our photographs do not do them justice. And, we shall most certainly use them as we feel it is good to feel and touch them rather than merely admire them from afar.

      Yes, the vase does have 'shades' of Clarice Cliff about it. The bold pattern and striking colours certainly do remind us of her work.

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  74. Utterly gorgeous! How wonderful, good friends and such beautiful gifts. Does it get any better? I am so glad you enjoyed your weekend.

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    1. No, Tracey, it does not get any better in our book! The weekend positively flew by, but we made certain that we reserved some sights for future visits....many future visits, we hope!

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  75. What a keen-eye your gusts have, such exquisite teacups,and what a striking design the vase cuts with delicate daisies and navy, beautiful.
    I too would be loathe to over-use the teacups, as they are irreplaceable. There's no mistaking that drinks taste better when the glass or china is of a high quality though.
    When a gift looks as though it belongs, and always has been a part of your home, then it is for me, the perfect gift.

    I hope the sun has returned for you, no such luck here.

    Lucy x

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    1. We absolutely agree, Lucy! Somehow the cups and vase look as if they have always been there, so that must mean that they fit in exactly with the rest of our things. As you say, the mark of a truly perfect gift!

      Although we have resolved not to use the vase for flowers, we shall not be able to resist sipping from those delicate cups. And, we are sure that whatever we drink will taste delicious!

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  76. It must have been a wonderful weekend-getting together with friends from so many different places.I have really enjoyed 'meeting' Madelief through her blog.
    I love the treasures they brought you.

    Thank you for visiting me.

    Carolyn

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    1. We are so thrilled to welcome you, Carolyn, as our latest Follower. Madelief introduced us to you and now we are connected. How wonderful is that?!!

      Madelief in reality is truly delightful, totally charming and absolutely full of fun, exactly as her blog would suggest. We shall certainly cherish the gifts which they so generously brought.

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  77. Dear Jane and Lance, i'll be straight with you - i am positively jealous of you. These presents are so unique and beautiful. I feel they would look so good in my sitting room :-)
    You are lucky with such generous friends that obviously know you and your taste so well.

    Enjoy the rest of the week.
    I am on half term, so i having the best week in a long time.

    Red

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    1. Having been warned, we shall most definitely keep our gifts under lock and key should you ever pass this way, dearest Red!!! Yes, we are certain that you would love the china vase and cups too, but we cannot bear to part with them!

      We do so hope that you are having a relaxing time during your time away from the chalkface. Teaching is so exhausting, so take care to recharge the batteries!

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  78. I LOVE <3 daises, they are my most favorite simple flower:)

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    1. There is something very appealing about the simplicity of the daisy flower, we do so agree.

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  79. Oh what wonderful and thoughtful friends you have! Such pretty cups and I am endeared to the reference of Jane Austen. :)

    Sincerely,
    Joy

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    1. The cups immediately put us in mind of Jane Austen. Although dating from the 1930s, they could so easily be eighteenth century.

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  80. Your friends brought you really beautiful gifts. I was given a small piece of Limoges a few years ago and I always have it out on display somewhere in the house. I like the idea of drinking hot chocolate from the cups on cold winter evenings. All the best, Jx

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    1. How lovely, Jan, to have your own Limoges. It is a factory which has always produced items of the highest quality. We look forward to winter nights!!

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  81. Nice! Those piece are truly works of art:)

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    1. We are absolutely thrilled with these pieces, Mark.

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  82. Anything porcelain and that gorgeous deserves a post! Thank you for sharing these, the pieces are not only very original but beautiful!!!!!!! :D

    Hugs,

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    1. We are, we feel, extremely fortunate to have been given such lovely pieces. An original gift in every sense.

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  83. Drinking hot chocolate from Limoges cups, what a life you lead. What gorgeous presents, thy have obviously been chosen with great thought and care. I would be happy indeed to receive such beauties.

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    1. They have certainly added a great deal of glamour and style to our lives. Yes, wonderful and very generous gifts.

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  84. 166 comments !!!!!!!! you have very specail friends and love the little cups & saucers also the special pottery they brought you

    I don't think I have ever read a blog with this many comments . Am I on a royalty blog ? LOL

    enjoyed the read

    Janice

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    1. How delighted we are to have your comment, Janice, and with no wish to disillusion you, we have to admit to not be connected with any of the crowned heads of Europe or, come to that, anywhere else for that matter.

      We are very, very thrilled with our gifts - too generous on the part of our friends.

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  85. The daisy vase is exquisite. May I suggest some Red Hot Pokers with a few plumes of pampass grass as a filler, for a truly breath taking arrangement, it'll be like having a home-grown Aurora Borealis displayed in your very own Morning Room.

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    1. Dear Mitzi, as with all matters where decoration and taste are concerned, we shall be guided by you!

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  86. What wonderful gifts from your friends! No doubt you'll think of them when you're enjoying your hot chocolate.

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    1. Absolutely! We were totally overwhelmed by their generosity but are already thoroughly enjoying the treasures.

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  87. What lovely new toys! Enjoy them!

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  88. Heavens, what brilliant friends you collect! A) to have such brilliant taste and B) to have such brilliant generosity.

    And it is so true that a cup of tea, or a cup of hot chocolate for that matter, tastes so much the better when drunk from a vessel of exquisite beauty and fabulous history.

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    1. We are indeed so very fortunate to have such discerning, kind and generous friends, Virginia, who are also enormous fun to be with and who thoroughly enjoy all that life offers.

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  89. Hi, Jane and Lance! I know how it feels when your friends appeared with such nice presents fitting to your taste. These are priceless as given in such a way. Thanks for sharing your joy and lovely porcelains with us.

    Yoko

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    1. This is absolutely so, Yoko. The gifts, so carefully considered, become priceless and will, on every account, be much valued.

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  90. What lovely gifts - and such consideration from your friends. Thoughtfulness always adds to gifts and lifts the heart in such a way that memories drawn from looking at the vase and using the teacups is to savour. Enjoy.

    Celia

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    1. You are so right, Celia, with all that you say here. We know that both the teacups and the vase will give us endless pleasure and spark many memories for years to come.

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  91. What a lovely surprise and how exciting to open up a gift. To undo the layers of bubble wrap and wonder what is their in.
    Your gifts are so beautiful ..very thoughtful .. I love them both
    When its time for cocoa in winter , I will join you. look forward to seeing the beautiful vase in its corner or place ..you will always remember this time.
    Such wonderful friends are rare.. to fly all the way from Holland.
    Delightful post
    happy thursday Jane and Lance..
    val

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    1. Friends with whom life is easy, always interesting and good fun are rare indeed and we do treasure those who cross our paths. Our Dutch friends are no exception and it is uncanny how well they know us and to choose gifts which we should certainly have bought for ourselves.

      Almost, dear Val, we anticipate cocoa on chilly autumn and winter nights with some pleasure now at the thought of using our beautiful Limoges cups. It is so true that although our friends have returned to Holland, the warmth of their presence stays with us.

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  92. Oh, how I loved this post! The idea of your friends cradling these true treasures on their laps in flight, the thought that they bring you cheer, now, on a soggy, grey morning with the promise of continued comfort in their absence when the weather turns cold. And to all of this, add the memory of the eras from which they hail -- and even before -- wrapped in each delicate bud of the Limoges, as well as the bright, lively blossoms of the madeliefje vase.

    It is a wonderful thing to have friends with generosity of spirit and excellent taste. It is no surprise to me that this is most certainly the case for you!

    Sending you love and lemonades, this day.

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    1. Today, dearest FG Suze, we welcome the thought of iced lemonades as we swelter in the heat. That they would come with your love would make them special indeed.

      Yes, we too thought it such fun and so very kind that our friends should come with such beautiful treasures cradled in their arms all the way to Budapest. As you say, it is a wondrous thing to have such generosity showered upon one, but,even more wonderful that they should spare time from their very busy and demanding lives to spend it with us. The conversation was relaxed and easy, the laughter ever present and the warmth and kindness overwhelming. We are blessed indeed!

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  93. What lovely and thoughtful gifts - they will surely bring many fond memories in years to come. The history behind the vase's markings is especially fascinating. Thank you for sharing these photos!

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    1. We have never seen let alone owned a piece of Gouda pottery before and so looking up the history of the vase was most intriguing for us. Indeed, it has opened up a whole new set of collecting possibilities, we shall be on the look out from now on!

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  94. Good Evening, Jane and Lance, what lovely gifts your friends gave you, and great that the china was so beautifully marked, so that you could research it. I hope you had a wonderful time with your friends. I rather fancy the daisy vase full of white flowers.

    Thankyou for your recent visit, it is really good to hear from you. I have missed you too. Isn't it a small world, that an image I find on Pinterest was taken by the very photographer who photographed your garden? What a wonderful credit to you and all your hard work.

    I am so glad that you enjoyed my virtual alfresco lunch, unfortunately it has rained here all day long for 3 or 4 days, that's probably why I posted about dining in the garden, as it is one of my most favourite things to do. Needless to say, I am eating fish and chips indoors, and my 'stiff drink' is weak tea! (Shame).

    Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot, with much love, Linda xx

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    1. How lovely to hear from you, dearest Linda, it does seem like a very long time. The Blogosphere is nowhere near so much fun without your presence.

      We love your idea of white flowers in the daisy vase. We had thought to leave it empty but are now reconsidering. White flowers would, we agree look simply delightful in it if in a mass.

      Yes, how extraordinary that you chose one of Gary Rogers' images. His work is exceptionally good but mainly appears in German magazines as he is based in Germany.We have not seen him for years and your post has prompted us to think about making contact with him again.

      We hear awful tales of the weather in the UK and are pleased to have avoided it. Although there have been some mixed days here in Budapest, it is generally warm and sunny, today being exceptionally pleasant.Sorry!!!

      Take care of yourself, Linda!

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  95. I love you Jane and Lance honestly, you're so dear to me...besides being astonishingly interesting you are so kind...and that is so rare. Really..

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    1. Dearest Petronela, how absolutely delightful of you to have taken the time and trouble to write such sweet things. You have such a creative mind and vivid imagination. We are in awe of your talents and wish you the best of luck with the competition.

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  96. Hello Jane and hello Lance,
    I know you have been anxiously awaiting my comment. You can now relax and immerse yourselves in the joys of having this comment from shy and humble me.
    What a lovely gesture by your Dutch friends to lavish you with such fine china. Me, I'd be honoured if somebody gave me a paper plate! And no, no reference to the last photo. Oh, you 'Gouda' be kidding...
    And with that, I shall now return to my shy and humble blog...
    Your starstruck fan, Gary!

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    1. Dearest Gary, it is indeed a joy when you arrive here!

      Surely, it is you who 'gouda' be kidding about the paper plate....we can recall so vividly all those lovely garden gnomes, now where exactly did they all come from?!!!!

      We do so hope that you and your son are keeping well and cheerful in spite of the awful English weather that we keep hearing about. Just 25C here, sunny, blue skies.....just thought that we would mention this!!!!

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    2. Actually, I did catch the 'wee folks' in my kitchen, sipping the finest coffee out of my "Harlow" Royal Doulton cups.
      The enchanting little folks were already in my garden spreading the words of peace and goodwill to all who would listen :)
      Thanks for the weather report! You are most kind!

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    3. Well, it is a relief to know that all is well on the 'wee folk' front but how often are they allowed to take a tea break?!!

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  97. What a lovely and thoughtful present - your friends clearly know you very well and found the perfect thing to give you.

    Melusine

    PS: I love your blog and I too love Brighton and Hungary: the former since I have family who have lived there for many years and the latter since I spent five wonderful months living in a village near Budapest. I can't wait to go back one day!

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    1. We do so agree with what you say about the gifts - we are most fortunate in every respect.

      How very intriguing that you know both Brighton and Hungary. We really do consider ourselves most fortunate to divide our time between the two although increasingly we regard Budapest as home. You must certainly return!

      Thank you so much for becoming a Follower; it is much appreciated.

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  98. Hello to you Jane and lance!

    What a beautiful vase from your friend, a wonderful way to brighten a day with a large bouquet of flowers.

    And the Limoges tea cups...stunning. I love Limoges porcelain and the ity itself. I have spent a lot of time there visiting fiends, it is a beautiful area.

    Have a wondeful weekend, Elizabeth

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  99. Hello Jane and Lance,

    What beautiful gifts your friends brought...and with so much history it seems they know you well and chose the perfect items.

    I have a few treasures from far away friends that bring a smile to my face every time I see them. I'm sure your treasures will do the same.

    annie

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