Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Out With The Old - In With The New

"So very newly married," an aged parent used to say, with not a little touch of scorn in her tone, when looking at one wall of a room painted in a contrasting colour to the others. Over time we have adopted the phrase as our own, meanwhile taking great care to avoid this, and hopefully other, decorating downfalls.

As the years have passed, so we have extended the scope of the 'newly married' phrase beyond wall finishes, applying it with equal measure to matching curtains and cushions, colour co-ordinated bed linen, bathroom 'sets', which may well include loathsome lavatory seat covers, and almost anything from Marks and Spencer, Laura Ashley and the British Home Stores. We are not without opinion!!

the dining room showing chairs in variety, a collection of glasses and an assortment of china 

Now in our 33rd Wedding Anniversary year, it would require some stretch of the imagination, if not to say entry into the realms of science fiction, to describe ourselves as 'newly married'. And yet, lurking in the deep recesses of the sideboard cupboards, are to be found our fully matching, flamboyantly floral, many pieced 'Floradora' dinner and tea services which might, we are alarmed to think, suggest otherwise.

the table set for a recent dinner party with 'Floradora'  in evidence, but mixed if not matched 

'Floradora' with its red and blue flowers, swags of foliage and gilded, scalloped edges has served us well over the years but change is in the air. It is for Herend, the porcelain of Hungary since 1828, that we are now, to borrow a Betjeman term, enthusing and mix, not match, is very much the order of the day. A start has been made with soup and dinner plates, appropriate enough, we feel, as soup is a delicious stalwart of most Hungarian lunches and dinners. Tiny, stylised deep pink flowers are the sole decoration on the otherwise plain white china with a delicate, basket-weave rim. 

a glimpse of one of our  Herend purchases - a 1920s soup plate with delicate flower pattern

Dating from the 1920s and purchased from our favourite Budapest antique shop they, like us, or so we trust, wear their age well. We think fondly of the dining tables which they will have graced with their simple elegance over the decades.

And so future dinner parties will take on a new look. More Darby and Joan than newly married, perhaps?

266 comments:

  1. Oh Jane and Lance how lovely your home looks. I love the eclectic look, mixing and matching china and chairs. Yes John and I have been there with everything co-ordinated and matching sets of this and that. But like you say styles change and we just go with the flow. If we like something then we buy it, matching or not. Lovely post. Have a great week.
    Patricia x

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    1. As you say, Patricia, there was a period when it was the height of fashion to have everything matching. Happily times have changed for it is so much easier, and more fun, to go for the 'eclectic' look of which you speak. Like you, we too tend to buy things if we see them and like them - finding a place for them afterwards!

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  2. Your table setting is so beautifully elegant and the china is just lovely. I enjoy thinking about the past life of "new found" items. Greetings from Scotland.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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    1. Yes, Liz, it is so interesting to consider the past history of older items, where they have been, by whom were they treasured, and from where they originated.

      We do hope that you are managing to keep warm in what we imagine at the moment to be a very cold Scotland.

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  3. Oh no, not a lavatory seat cover. Please don't say there is a matching mat. The 'new' china does look quite understatedly nice. Our first requirement for china? Dishwasher proof. What isn't has been stacked away.

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    1. We fear, Andrew, that in all probability it is impossible to have a lavatory seat cover without one of those ghastly mats which go around the base.

      For reasons best known to herself, Tímea has never used the washing up machine which is provided. So now we do not consider that aspect when buying new china.

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  4. Congratulations on your Herend purchases. Although old, they have a much lighter look than your existing pieces, and additionally serve to honor your adopted country. However, I wouldn't be too quick to disparage or put away the "Floradora" pieces--they are part of another tradition, and thereby have earned their keep and can contribute to your increasing eclecticism.

    At this moment, of course, the Floradora song (Tell Me Pretty Maiden) is running through my mind: "...Kind sir, their manners are perfection, and the opposite of mine."

    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. You are absolutely right, Jim, when you say that the Herend is much lighter in appearance than the 'Floradora' - possibly this is why we prefer it. In our Brighton apartment we have all white which we rather like for its modernity. Also, generally speaking, food looks much better on a plain surface.

      But let eclecticism be the order of the day!

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  5. Hello jan and Lance,

    The "new" platesare simply stunning and I am convinced that you need to change sometimes things in life, so is it mostly just pleasant!

    Greetings from a snowy Belgium
    XX
    Jérôme

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    1. We are so delighted that you like the Herend soup plates, Jérome. We are really pleased with them and are now on the look out for more, but of a different pattern, of course!

      Greetings from a bitterly cold Budapest. xxx

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  6. Dear Jane & Lance - lets not talk about toilet seat covers!!! but what about that lovely tiled stove in the corner of your room. I have often wondered how they work having come across them previously in eastern european countries. Your table must look a picture in the evening light with the added sparkle from your beautiful glass Victorian lustres.

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    1. The stove, Rosemary, which could still be used, dates from the time the apartment was built around 1880. It is stoked with fuel which then warms the bricks with which it is lined which, in turn, give off heat through the tiles. We have others, which we retained, in both the Morning Room and the Drawing Room but they are of a later period, replacements of the 1930s, and are less attractive.

      We are so pleased that you like the lustres.

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  7. How I long to set a table, just like this. I do not own a 'matching' set of....well, anything! I do like an element of coordination, and feel the dinner table is the one place uniformity can feel anything but stifling and controlling.
    Though neither married or in the habit of hosting dinner parties, yet, perhaps there's nothing stopping me from stocking up on china in.preparation?

    Your home leaves me feeling that if I begin to start reeling off superlatives, I'd be in danger of sounding rather like a fawning fool.

    Just lovely.

    Lucy x

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    1. But how wonderful, Lucy, that you do not own a matching set of anything. And your point that too much uniformity can lead to a stifling effect is one with which we very much agree.

      We should certainly suggest buying odd pieces of china which appeal to you as and when you can afford to do so and in that way you will build up an interesting and varied collection. The only provision we should make is at least to purchase everything in pairs - in that way one can turn the informal into the formal.

      And thank you for such a generous comment.

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  8. You do wear your age very well, I dare say. I take great pleasure in admiring old furniture, I like sensing its history, it can even speak to you if you listen really really carefully :).

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    1. Ah, Petronela, one can but try. Perhaps the secret is never to think one is old!!

      You are so very right about history 'speaking'. The problem is that none of us listens enough.

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  9. Dear Jane and Lance ,
    Happy Aniversary to you ! This table is so beautiful and your dining room so refind ! I liked so mush this floral plates !
    Olympia

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    1. Actually, Olympia, our anniversary is not until the end of March, but this is so kind of you. Thank you. As yet we are unsure what we will do - doubtless a party of some kind.

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  10. What an elegant table setting - your home looks beautiful. Too much matching makes me uneasy, for some reason. Congratulations on having been together for so many years. Clearly, you are a great "match" for each other.

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    1. 'Uneasy' - such a good expression for summing up the feeling when too much matches. We should agree with you entirely. And thank you - one 'match' which does seem to have worked well!

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  11. Bill and I have been married only 2 years, so I suppose that will excuse the burgundy wall in our grey living room. Your table looks lovely. Is that white tile in the corner something to do with heating? We saw some amazing stoves in Prague on our visits there. The china looks lovely; I'm nuts about most things inter-war. The flowers aren't what I would expect, but the shape and texture seem fitting for that period. I'm not above purchasing from M&S, etc., but I agree that everything matching is beyond boring. I always shop second hand first, as it is often kinder to pocket book, environment, history and aesthetics. What did you have after the soup?

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    1. We do have to say, without any attempt at backtracking, that burgundy and grey are the most wonderful match of colours together. Indeed, grey is a wall colour by which we are often tempted.

      Virtually everything we have in the way of furniture and household items has been bought second hand and is so much better for all of the reasons which you give.

      For that very recent dinner party we followed the soup with a main course of salmon fillets served with a lemon sauce. All cooked by Tímea, our wonderful cook/housekeeper.

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  12. There used to be an upper-crust insult whereby someone would whisper to another about a self-made acquaintance, "He had to buy his own furniture!" Happy anniversary.

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    1. Indeed! And was in not said of one Cabinet Minister of another in the Thatcher government? The anniversary falls at the end of March, but thank you.

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  13. "We are not without opinion!!" - well I never would have guessed, ha, ha! Actually your opinions are always interesting and make me ponder, even if I don't agree - in fact especially if I don't agree, obviously. Mis-matched china is VERY trendy at the moment - you're so cutting edge! Your new china is very pretty. Hope the dinner party goes / went well. Do you have snow there? Keep warm!

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    1. This is so very kind and sporting of you, Abby. And is it not always better when people disagree with one's opinions which, so often, can be based on fluff?

      We are so pleased that you like the Herend china - we are now seeking out other patterns [the new is fearfully expensive] from second hand shops.

      The recent dinner party was enormous fun. We had ten round the table which works well with us. Another party in a week's time!

      Much snow over Hungary - we imagine the same with you - but not much in Budapest. But bitterly cold.

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  14. Being very clumsy - I have never been able to carry off matching china. I like to collect china teacups and saucers - if one hits the deck, no one but me notices.

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    1. We do so agree that inevitable breakages are a very good reason for going for an eclectic mix. Since the gift last year from our Dutch friends of some lovely china cups and saucers, we too are now collecting!

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  15. Oh god, toilet seat covers! There should be a law that says you're only allowed to have them if your entire house is decked out in 50's kitscharama! You should only get to have one if you're willing to commit to the concept.

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    1. Now that is a consideration, Kellie. They are most likely an essential for the 1950s, even 1960s, look - something to which, at present, we lack commitment but do admire it in others. Indeed, we yearn for a 50s, self-standing, kitchen cabinet, the kind with a pull down front with metal sheet for pastry making.

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  16. First, Happy Anniversay :)

    Second I don't believe in being all matchy matchy either... I love different things together.

    I LOVE you dining room, so beautiful<3

    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog:)

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    1. Thank you so much, Launna, but not until the end of March.

      We are delighted that you like the dining room. We love it best when it is filled with friends around the table.

      Do take care. We know things are not easy at present.

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  17. It is so interesting that in spite of ourselves not at all being into antiques, your dining room, with all its elegance and style, has always appealed to us. With the smart lighting and warm colors it gives a very pleasant ambience - in fact I am holding a picture of it in my smart phone, downloaded from a very early post. We shall also mention some very interesting photographs on the wall. Buying new pieces on occassion is something we also like to do - now with your valuable advice in our mind to buy everything in pairs. I was always wondering how one can be patient and confident enough to pick the few interesting pieces from an antique shop (usually piled with worthless things) but you have been obviously mastering this.
    One cannot but learn from you! Keep up with it!

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    1. How very sweet of you, dear Fiúk, to remark that you admire the dining room particularly when, as you say here, that you are not at all 'into antiques'. The photographs on the wall are principally of friends although we are currently considering placing a recent purchase of a painting over the sideboard.

      We have certainly always found it easier to place things effectively when they are in pairs. This is something which dates back to our days of designing gardens, that or in threes or multiples thereof depending on the purpose and/or effect one wishes to create.

      But, be assured, our teaching days are long since gone.

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  18. Ha :) I do remember your comment about the walls at 16 KFT. I think 2 were in purple and 2 in cream. I remember it because neither me, nor Natalia had noticed it before you point it out.
    But it's all about F&B paint and the right kinds of shades and light bulbs since we know you. So very newly married indeed.

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    1. Dear, dear Konstantin, there are never any flies on you, nor indeed on Natalia, which is why we love you so much!!

      Yes, we do now recall the horror of the walls in 16KFT but they were not, in fairness, of your doing but rather reflected the taste, or otherwise, of that 'wide boy' of a landlord you had [whose name we can never recall] but who wisely took himself off to Boscombe, taking his decorating ideas, we assume, with him.

      Your wonderful Christmas card, of such uncertain taste, has a permanent place in the Morning Room. We may even have it framed!!

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  19. Dear Jane and Lance,
    your dining-table look ravishing! The 'new' Herend porcelain is beautiful, and I love mixed matches. More lively! Years ago I had the chance to buy a Rosenthal made exactly in the year that our house in Hildesheim was built: 1902. But there it still is - we used it for festivities, but of course it meant: washing-up by hand (and though I mentioned the meditative side of that craft in a chapter of my book, I have to confess that in Berlin I use my Spode 'Blue Italian' every day, and put it into the dishwasher). But I see the advantage of (almost) white over blue: more delicate, more genteel - less 'newly married' (if I understood that saying right.

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    1. Britta, your 'Rosenthal', as also your 'Spode', sound absolutely wonderful and not at all 'newly married'. We love the idea of it being of the same period as your house in Hildesheim which dates, of course, from a period which we so much admire.

      We are very pleased with the purchase of the 'Herend' and are now on the look out for more, but of a different pattern, in our various local Budapest haunts.

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    2. And that, dear Jane and Lance, is one facet which makes live so thrilling, isn't it? (Almost) Everybody can buy some plates in a shop - but to hunt them down, that's so exciting.

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    3. We absolutely agree with you here, Brigitta. The fun is so often in the looking for, rather than the actual acquiring.

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  20. I enjoyed this, Jane and Lance, even if I don't agree with every word. :-) When we were first married, DH and I didn't have two pennies to rub together, so our furniture and china was a heterogeneous and often battered mixture of whatever we could afford or beg from family. Then of course we aspired to have everything matching and eventually came to the point where we could afford it. Now, in our almost dotage, we have stopped worrying about trends of any kind and happily use the all the china and glassware which already fills our cupboards without seeking to acquire any more. That said, your dining table is a feast for the eyes and your whole apartment both beautiful and comfortable.

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    1. And how wonderful it is, Perpetua, that you do not agree with every word. Indeed, you should certainly not condone our various prejudices.

      Like you, we really do not have any concern with keeping up with whatever trend may be of the moment and, to be more serious for a moment, we do accept that all of these thing upon which we once might have placed a value, matter not at all. Such is one of the great compensations of becoming older. People, of course, matter even much more than they ever did.

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    2. With your last sentence I agree heart and soul, Jane and Lance.

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    3. But as we all know, Perpetua, it is so true and all that really counts.

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  21. I think mix and match is just the ticket, as with each use or view of the item memories anew are fixed in our minds or thoughts from the past become fresh, brought to the forefront to be enjoyed again. Thirty three years, congratulations to you both and many more to come.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda. We do so like the idea which you put forward here of disparate items conjuring up many different memories. And, of course, it is so true.

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  22. Dearest Jane and Lance

    If only that table could talk. The setting is special and original and your new Herend dances beautifully with Floradora. Your combined exquisite taste creates beautiful spaces. Are the two large goblets in cranberry glass? We kick ourselves for letting a lamp of cranberry escape us at our first auction. We were very self-conscious and innocent and Mike reminds me I once bid against myself. "Some Mothers "av 'em"

    Helen xx

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    1. Oh, Helen, how wonderfully put. Forever more we shall think of the different pieces of china 'dancing' together when in use and, perhaps, sitting it out when returned to the cupboards.

      The lustres are of cranberry glass and are late Victorian. We had them from parents and, for the present, they are kept on the dining table. More traditionally they should be on a mantelpiece.

      Oh dear, how sad that you let the cranberry lamp go. One always remembers these things.

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  23. Dear Jane and Lance,
    first, I'd say that you two, to me, appear to have been made for one another, so any mention of 'newly married' is irrelevant, if not rude.
    Secondly, we all make apparent mistakes, in the way we express ourselves; there is no such thing as an ultimately perfect style, and mistakes are a sign of growth, not of negligence.
    Thirdly, I hate matching things, but they happen, and they invariably happen when relatives and 'friends' get involved. Fearlessness is the answer. An indomitable fearlessness.
    Fourthly, you have to go with the flow: I do, you do, we do, go with the flow of things one way or another.
    Fifthly, I want that stacked white sandstone corner chimney thing you have behind your dining table, far more than I want your dining table.
    Bon appetit.

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    1. You are, as always, so very kind, Faisal. We do consider ourselves to be so fortunate to have each other and they have been thirty-three wonderful years.

      We so admire your 'fearlessness' approach to life. You are so right. We did, in fact, hold a garage sale, shortly after we were married, to dispose of most of our wedding presents. In the main they were ghastly but, in writing this now, it does seem a rather callous thing to have done.

      Yes, you are again correct. We, and we know you to be the same, do go with the flow, embracing chances as they come our ways.

      The dining room stove we should most willingly will to you. But think of the transportation costs!

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  24. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Reading your post I could not help but remember my first months in the US when overwhelmed with homesickness I was browsing and picking out china patterns, needless to say from Herend, for my future cottege-to-be. While I do still adore simple painted patterns, especially when there is a bit of edge or wit mixed in (see Jardin de Reve nano 1860), for my own collection I always settled on gold lined white plates so popular around the 20s and 30s. One exception might be Zsolnay's Autumn Decor set. Art Nouveau gets me. Every time...
    I love the idea (and the look) of the mix and match 'Floradora' and the newly aquired little rose china. You are right in it being more of a match then giving any feeling of a "mix". I am looking forward to our next dinner, wherever it might be!

    Happy Anniversary!
    David

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    1. Dearest Dávid, how wonderful to see this comment here, even though we were at the very start somewhat mystified as to the identity of the unknown Geaard!!

      We can so readily imagine the homesickness which you must at first have felt in those early months in the United States. Indeed, we readily identify with the feeling for even now a small thing can trigger a moment of deep sadness for a country which we have, for the most part, chosen to leave.

      Your own collection of Herend and Zsolnay sounds wonderful and, one day, we should hope to see them. We are only at the start of our romance with these Hungarian porcelain manufacturers.

      Tamás will be here for our next dinner party. Be sure to know that we shall raise a glass to you and, be assured, there will always be a place for you!

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  25. Everything is always such a matter of current taste and the taste police making sure that we all follow the rules. I can well remember that Laura Ashley period when flowers on everything and anything was the order of the day.

    The period of mixing and matching, particularly in the rustic style, has come and gone in the UK, I believe. We are now in plain mode (Beloved and I always have been) and white is called for. As for matching ‘bathroom sets’, spare me. White, white, white, as far as they eye can see.

    We go for shabby in our house, worn and unmatching, and a bit of space too. Cramped and filled with ‘things on show’ is too museum-like for us. Not that we actually ever really think about such matters.

    Like you, we have opinions. I love people with opinions.

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    1. We absolutely endorse your favouring white, and especially where the bathroom is concerned. There one really cannot have too many whites, as with bed linen, although of course there are those who would disagree and argue the case for coloured towels and floral sheets and pillowcases. Alas, we shall never be won over.

      We have long embraced 'shabby' throughout the house. Kind friends are generous enough to add 'chic' but we suspect them of humouring us!

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    2. O no, dear Jane and Lance, not shabby, not you. Your photographs show a very elegant environment, delicate and eye catching and most certainly chic.

      I only wish I could aspire to your excellent taste.

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    3. You are being more than kind. In truth most of what we have has come to us second hand from shops which can hardly be called 'antique' or bought for very little money at auction. 'Scratch Tops' is one of life's essentials for covering a multitude of faults, if not sins!!

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  26. I personally prefer the eclectic mix and match of table decor, different glasses, plates, flatware and even chairs. Each piece with a story attached. When inevitably a piece breaks, one is not then so driven to find a match. Something similar will suffice. Anything for an easy, not so OCD life suits me. Your table looks divine. Hope there was much chatter and laughter.
    Di
    X

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    1. We do so agree, Dianne, give us eclecticism at all times and, indeed, everywhere. You are so right about OCD, which passed us by many years since.

      Always, thankfully, much laughter and talk can be relied upon around the table. The food, at least to us, matters much less.

      Incidentally, we do hope that you are, so to speak, keeping afloat in all the snow and ice.

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    2. Tee here, we are still afloat and John is spending many hours brushing snow from our wooden decks. If left too long it tends to seep through. Someone once said "if you're gonna live on a boat, you're gonna get wet". How annoyingly right they were. It's all good fun though and in our dotage we will look back and laugh!
      Stay warm dear ones!
      Di
      xxxxx

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    3. What prompted the thought was that we saw a rather splendid image of houseboats and barges almost completely covered in snow and wondered how you were managing. Take care on that gang plank!!

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  27. Blimey, I struggle to get my knickers and bra to match let alone my crockery...
    Sx

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    1. Wonderful. And this has so made us laugh. Also relieved to have spotted today's image!!

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  28. First i would like to say what a beautiful home you have built together over the years. And 33 years of marraige is truely wonderful and you have been very blessed. I love your 1920's soup bowl its so very pretty. I actaully like crockery that doesn't match i think its rather lovely and chic. And also makes for an interesting discussion at the dinner table im sure. dee x

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    1. This is more than generous of you, Dee. We are more than touched. Thank you. We very much hope that you will have the same amount of happiness with Mr. J.

      Yes, like you, we much prefer a miscellany of furniture and effects.

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  29. I love dining rooms lit with lamps and the basket weaving around the edge of your new dinnerware is lovely. I can well imagine many a scintillating conversation around that beautifully set table.

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    1. We have no central lights in any of our rooms, Teresa, believing that a dim and religious glow is possibly the best way to be seen!!!! Certainly, everything looks prettier in lamplight we feel rather than with the glare of a harsh overhead light.

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  30. Your dining room table looks so inviting--I imagine hours of conversation, laughter, occasional arguments, and many toasts to dear friends. I love your philosophy, and it would ease the lives of so many brides and grooms if they shared it, and didn't worry about all that "stuff".

    The Herend is beautiful and will mix nicely with so many things, just as flowers from a garden do.

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    1. Oh yes, dearest Jen, the hours of dialogue, din and debate around the table. How we love it!

      We have certainly learned over the years that very little is actually of importance in life but friendship is very high upon the list of essentials.

      How right you are about the mixing of flowers from the garden. We always think that the casual posy of seasonal blooms is so much nicer than the stiff bouquets encased in cellophane!

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  31. Dear Jane and Lance - praise God for 33 wonderful years of happiness, love, like, weathering the storms of life and celebrating the joys! I'm happy with, and for, you both.

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    1. Thank you so much, dearest Sandra, for your kind wishes.Yes, we do give thanks for our lives together and shall celebrate in style on the actual anniversary day at the end of March.

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  32. What pleasure it must be to be a guest seated at your very grand dining table in your beautiful home. Back in the 70s when 'playing at houses' - as I call it now - I would have aspired to set such a posh dining table with my Villeroy and Boch dinner service. It took me a while before realising that I could never live up to the Laura Ashley catalogue pictures - and that phase soon passed. Completely forgot that we used to have those ghastly bathroom sets as well - yeeeeuck! Thanks for the reminder!!

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    1. Well, Isobel, we do so hope that it is a pleasure to be seated at our dining table. Fun, after all is the name of the game in our book!

      'House and Garden', 'World of Interiors',how those glossy publications seduce us, but we have never aspired to copy, merely to plough a different furrow. This, we are certain is also your philosophy and how wonderful that is. In a world of increasing uniformity, how lovely it is to have an individual style, no matter what that might be!!!

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  33. Dear Jane and Lance,

    In the 90's, my home was Laura Ashly throughout. Oh, how I loved the romance of her patterns and colors. When we moved into our new home 12 years ago, and it was more modern, I mixed the old with the new and they blended nicely. Now, I am updating/changing certain pieces and I am unsure of my choices. It might have something to do with age and the fear of making a costly mistake.

    Your dining room is lovely and I can just imagine all the wonderful parties you and your guests have enjoyed around that perfectly set table.

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    1. Perhaps nearly everyone, Arleen, has had a Laura Ashley phase at some point!!!Whatever, her smocked frocks and florals were and are so much worse than the home furnishings in our view.

      We shudder at the thought of the cost of our 'Floradora' , bought so many years ago now but, these days, we find it so much more fun [not to say less expensive] to shop at second hand stores, especially small family owned businesses, and mix and match at random!

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  34. Dear Hattatts....I love this entry! I too have a sideboard full of a young girls idea of everlasting china. Mine is a Wedgewood pattern. Over the years I have picked up odds and ends, at various antique shops and flea markets, that are more to my liking.I now advise young brides to not fret over a china choice for their registry. It will come.
    Your dinner table pictures look beautiful. You set the stage well for a lovely meal. k

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    1. Oh, Kathy, how we love that phrase 'a young girl's idea of everlasting china' for that describes perfectly our own 'Floradora'!!!

      We never did have a 'wedding list' so that did avoid matching sets of everything. However, we must confess that,as our wedding gifts were in the main so awful, we sold nearly all of them in a garage sale. [This does, we reflect, say more about us than said wedding gifts!!!!]

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  35. Hello Jane and Lance.

    Your dining room is so festive and inviting with a wonderful mix that surely pleases all fortunate to sit at that table.

    I also love mixing up many styles, whether it's layering clothes, furnishings, recipes. It can be great fun to explore uncharted territories, and a way to find what our individual tastes might be.

    It's likely that many folks who might begin their adult lives being careful of rules and adhering to matches might eventually realize that there are many other freedoms available. Realizing that we might have the opportunity to make choices can be an important part of growing up.

    Or so I think! xo

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    1. Dear Frances,when we set the table for ten, we deliberately place ourselves in the middle of the two sides in order that we are the only ones obscured from seeing to the opposite side of the table by the flowers, vases, lustres, salts and pepperpots!!Everyone else can, at least, see each other and, hopefully, enjoy themselves too.

      We are sure that you have hit the nail on the head here, Frances, when you say that one generally starts off following 'rules' but, gradually, discards them for a more individual style. We can totally empathise with your ideas of layering clothes and furnishings but, when it comes to food, we stick to every letter of a receipt or the end result is even more inedible than usual!!!

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  36. The Herend china is very pretty. When first married we had a dark blue Denby dinner service. Over the years pieces have been broken and we now possess just two bowls, about which I am rather glad as I really don't like it anymore!

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    1. This comment really made us laugh, Marina! Yes, we can surely all identify with the sense of relief when a particularly unattractive item lies in pieces on the floor with a poor guest, covered in embarrassment, not realising that one is grateful to them for the breakage!

      And, we do know, Marina, that in your house,you have the most wonderful pieces of china and a deliciously eclectic mix.

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  37. Coming up to 40 years, with the memory of many apartments and houses, and looking forward to a move in the not-too-distant future, we are far from newly-wed. When we were at that stage we spent our few dollars in auction rooms, at farm auctions and at second-hand stores. Wedding china, silver and crystal contrasted oddly with our shabby (no, it wasn't Chic) bits and pieces. Of course, we became attached to the old things and still have them, and time and the breakage from many moves has made mixing and matching an everyday occurance.....that, and an addiction to old and beautiful porcelain and silver.
    Trends come and go, and the newlyweds' glossy-magazine style will, in time, acquire a patina.....and of course, the bottom line is measured more by the skill of the host at creating an atmosphere of generous hospitality than his/her skill at decorating.

    Of course, this comes from a woman who is addicted to old porcelain!

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    1. Oh how beautifully your comment captures the wisdom that comes with age and the comfort and confidence that comes from a marriage which has weathered good times and less fortunate ones. How well we can identify with this.

      And, yes, what matters above all else are the people.The ways in which people are made to feel welcome,to enjoy themselves, to develop friendships and to feel valued are, as you say, so much more important than decorations.

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  38. What a beautiful, and very elegant dining room. The way you have mixed the patterns and styles only adds to the richness. Herend makes lovely dishes and object d'arte, I don't have any of their china but I do have a small collection of animals: two bunnies and one cat, all in white rather than patterned.

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    1. You are so very generous in your comment, Adrienne. Herend china is lovely but very, very expensive to buy here. We know of the animals which are absolutely delightful and which we are sure fit in well into your own beautiful home.

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  39. Dear Jane and lance,
    Your dining room looks like the PERFECT place for hours and hours of lovely food, drink, and, most importantly, conversation with dear friends... It is obvious from these images that you are generous and welcoming hosts. How lovely! I adore the phrase "so very newly married", and hope you won't mind if I adopt it--sadly, there are many occasions for it here... I often think that the desire for all-new, matching things comes not only from a lack of creativity but also insecurity. So sad! Those people will never know the joys of antique Herend china (sigh...Herend china is one of too many things I covet...)or a room filled with art.
    Warm regards from your like-minded admirer across the pond,
    Erika

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    1. Dearest Erika, how wonderful it would be if you were able to join us at the dining table since we are sure that we should have much to gossip about and laugh over!!Perhaps one day we can make this idea a reality?

      We tend to agree with you that, for many people, branching out with an individual style is something that they shy away from, preferring to blend in with the crowd. Thank goodness, however, that free spirits still exist with whom one can share enthusiasms and debate differences. Long may these people beat a path to our door!

      As for the antique Herend, it is, we agree, stunningly beautiful and a friend of ours here in Budapest has the most heart-stoppingly glorious collection. We are particularly drawn to the design commissioned by Queen Victoria and which to this day still bears her name.

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  40. I always love to see Herend china! =] I wanted to carry it in our little shop/tea room so earnestly and, yet, could never convince my mom of it. I think it was the prohibitive amount of the opening minimum order. =/

    pffft! If only I could ever, ever have something that matched - or purposefully and completely did not match! ;) If only my curtains could ever not look like they're ready for a flood and could be lined (especially in this subzero weather!) My, oh-so-out-of-style denim skirt that I love to death, too, come to think of it, could be a titch longer, these days - just a tasteful titch - enough so that, when paired with my lace ended long johns, they wouldn't make me look like a shepherdess. Hm! If only I could ever pick out any china pattern that I wanted instead of just taking what has come to me... I have no idea what I would choose... and, yet, living with all the things that have come my way, there's some reason that they're still there and I am SO grateful to have them. The more I live with them, the more I love, appreciate, know what to do with them. I think that is how I am slowly advancing from not looking 'newly married'. ;) =] But, now, the name of the game is 'trying to shake things up' so that I can still see the things around me freshly and without a glazed over look. I think that the journey from not looking 'newly-wed' is knowing what to do with it. Not sure... ;)

    I have been in the process for a decade, now, of accepting and embracing the flaws. ;) 'Perfect' is, first of all, bitterly unattainable and boring and, frankly, too twee! So, I set out on a mission to consciously bring earthiness into my decorating scheme and I tried so hard to make it look like I hadn't tried too hard - like it wasn't contrived. Now, THANK GOODNESS! I have said, 'pfffft!' to even that. and, Now, if only we could sustain the 'lived in', comfortable look that naturally comes with this family without going immediately to the 'get-rid-of-that-ratty-thing-PLEASE!' stage that inevitably comes from having three dogs, three monkeys and a rabbit - life might turn on it's head and be a different kind of 'perfect' after all.

    I have so many feelings about all this. It's a subject that keeps coming round to my mind often and it compasses everything from interior decoration of my home to my inner soul. ;) Although I have definite feelings about it all, I hardly know what I think. and, as I'm trying to wrap my words around it, I feel a little like I'm digging up the seed planted in the ground to have a look to see if it's growing. But, once again, I'll just be reckless and live a little and share them anyway! ;)

    I've reread your post a few times, now - to take it all in and there are so many turns of phrases that I've appreciated! "A work of science fiction" particularly struck a smile into me in the light of my recent first exposure to the classic Dr. Who! ;) So much food for thought!

    Love to you both! =]

    xxoo

    PS the plethora of smileys are always there to hopefully communicate that I don't take myself too seriously and that I'm more often than not, writing with tongue firmly in cheek. =]

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    1. Dearest, dearest Katy, thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful ideas and thoughts with us. There is so much to write, oh if only we could be in the same room, perhaps at this very dining table, and then we could discuss it all at length....at HUGE length!!!!

      So much of what we have has come to us in mysterious and roundabout ways and what never ceases to amaze us is that somehow we still find a place for it. Everything, pretty much as you have, reminds us of people, times and places that we have special memories of or associations with. It is as if we live with our friends around us every day. That, of course, is particularly comforting when many of them live at a considerable distance from us and whom we miss terribly.

      What fun that you considered Herend for the tea room and how splendid it would have looked. But, we can believe that the logistics would have been horrendous and the costs prohibitive. However, we know from your own blog what delightful china you have and how pretty it all looks together. You, of course, are so much better at decorating a table than us.Your table settings always look like a beautiful still life, waiting to be animated by the invited guests. What lucky people they are to have such hospitality waiting for them!

      And, as you say, what fun it all is to be able to move things around, unearth some long forgotten treasures and, hey presto, suddenly everything looks different. Magic!!!

      Stay warm, take care and love to you all, J and L xx

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  41. Dear Jane & Lance,
    I love the style of table that you present to guests. Are the glasses Georgian by any chance?

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    1. Thank you, Gary. Yes, the glasses are Georgian, bought many years ago now from friends who had an antique shop in Malvern. They really do make the wine taste better!!

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    2. Yes, but we could always do with more!!

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  42. Wowwww is that your home ??? what a beautiful table setting darling !!!...love it !!!...love from me Ria...xxx...

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    1. Yes, dear Ria, we do live here. This is our dining room and we do eat in it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is eaten at a smaller oval table, also in the dining room, but which is not visible in these photographs.Thank you for your kind comment.

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  43. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Good old Floradora. I am glad you are not getting rid of it. Perhaps it will sit sedately in the sideboard, dreaming of its past successes, until it is called upon, like a faithful servant, to grace your table once more.
    Having some Herend porcelain pieces ourselves, we know the excellent quality and workmanship that will be found in your beautiful dinner service. It looks delightful!

    PS
    Will you look askance if I tell you that my ancient yet faithful Harris tweed cap came from M&S back in the early 80s?

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    1. 'Floradora' will only be retired from service [please forgive the pun], dear Kirk,and not consigned to the pawn shop for one never knows when one might be called upon to serve a battalion at short notice!!!

      How interesting that you too collect Herend. We wonder which design for there are so many charming ones from which to choose.We are sure that you would love to see our friend's Herend collection which is truly outstanding...perhaps on your next visit....we can hope...!!!

      P.S. We shall not mention the cap.

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  44. My dear mother loved china and she desired a change often, only to my father's chagrin. He use to say they could have traveled the world many times over with the money that went for china and other tabletop treasures. I think your new Herend sounds delicate and lovely and your table is beautiful. My favorite table is set with a mixture of styles and eras. How I long for the day I can set a beautiful table again. It's one of those pleasures in life that make you feel, well...civilized!!!

    Here's to future entertaining and gorgeous dining! xxx

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    1. There is, as you say so perfectly, something incredibly civilised about taking time and trouble to set a beautiful table and then to surround it with lively and interesting people. These are, for us certainly, some of life's most treasured moments.


      What an amusing story of your mother's china collecting habits. Travel would definitely come ahead of tableware in our book, but we like to think that you are now the happy recipient of some lovely and treasured pieces.

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  45. Lovely, lovely, everything just right! Now then, I find myself mixing and matching all the time -- but mainly because what I might have had a complete set of -- I no longer have complete! My husband spent years a slave to the auction room and we acquired some very incomplete sets of various pieces of china -- much of which I adore -- including some 'floradora' which I love to eke out over the dinner places. I must confess though that while I have no trouble mixing, I do have an inclination toward matching. Thanks goodness for an almost complete set of white porcelain that matches perfectly! The other 'thank goodness' is that my husband loves to set the table. But I'm in charge of the china!

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    1. Oh, Katherine, what fun that you have 'Floradora' too!We have never seen it anywhere other than here and so it is amusing to think of it being laid on your table too...great minds!!!

      In Brighton, all our china is white and we do quite like that. It gives a modern and fresh look and, even our awful food tends to look quite reasonable on it!

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  46. Possibly so, but absolutely beautiful!

    A friend of my late mother decided for her 40th wedding anniversary to send to a charity shop all of her china (no longer a full set but lovely) and buy a new dinner service of inferior quality. Madness!

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    1. We are so pleased that you like it.

      That is so sad about the dinner service and what special memories must have been dispatched with the china. We certainly could not have done it!

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  47. My beloved Jane and Lance,

    This post was not only in fabulously good taste -- the mark of the many-moons married? -- but so clever and sweet and, how did you manage this?, even poignant.

    I am happy this morning, with the light feet of direction and answers to prayers, and reading these words cements what lingers gaily in my chest: All is well.

    Thirty-three years. Such joy in knowing, just a small bit, what you have overcome to see the dawn of this year as a pair -- and one of infinitely better decorating acumen.

    Love,
    Your Fairy Goddaughter

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    1. And this comment 'lingers gaily' with us and will, dear FGD, for much time to come. To add to that is our own joy that today you are with 'the light feet of direction' which will, and of this we are certain, lead you along those paths which you so much desire and of which you are so deserving.

      There have been, and continue to be, difficult times but, in all the thirty-three years we have known with the upmost surety that, whatever we have had to face, we have been able totally to rely on the support and love of each other. We should wish nothing less for you and Shawn in the years which lie ahead.

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    2. *Tears.* (The very best ones.)

      xx

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    3. Oh my, excuse my rude interruption but that made me cry too. So beautiful.

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    4. Are we all the last of the romantics? In which case, we need to form a club....Romantics Anonymous!!!!

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    5. No, no, no because that would be to cure or control our romantic tendencies and I for one would prefer to let them run until my last breath!

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    6. You are right. Let us all remain free spirits to the very end.

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  48. in with the old in with the new...just in!

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  49. Happy Anniversary. Your home is gorgeous and although I do have a matching set, I often mix and match just because I think it looks more interesting. I love your table. We have a very nice oak table which seats 8 fairly comfortably, but it is narrow so I cannot put flowers in the middle which I find sad. Then of course if I put candles, I get asked if the electricity has gone off :-) Keep well Diane

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    1. Thank you so much, Diane, although our actual anniversary is not until the end of March. In many ways we are simply doing as you do, using what we have but mixing it together rather than keeping each dinner service for use on its own separately.

      The disadvantage of a wide table is that on occasion it really is quite difficult to talk across it. Your narrower one is probably more practical.

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  50. Happy 33! That is an impressive anniversary and well worth celebrating. I love your eclectic mix and match design sense. It feels very European. The ceiling of my office is painted forest green but the walls or white and I rather like it that way.

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    1. We shall, in all probability, arrange a party for the end of March which can then double with our birthdays around the same time. We shall have to see - nothing in mind yet.

      We very much like the idea of a ceiling painted a different colour and have seen some very effective examples.

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  51. That looks a most welcoming table....the sort where the eye is caught by so many lovely and different items.

    In the days when we held ...I won't call them dinner parties...but big evening gatherings to talk, to eat and to drink I used to enjoy setting a table and while in France in December I was decidedly miffed to find a very large Limoges set for twelve in a depot vente at a very reasonable price...and to realise that I could not ship it home!
    It might have galvanised me into organising big evening gatherings again...

    Lavatory seat covers...yes. Two years ago Mother won one such in a raffle - no one has ever discovered who contributed it - and passed it on to me - motive unknown.

    Having opened the parcel to find that it depicted Santa Claus I in turn passed it on to the lady who kindly mucks us out once a week, knowing her to be somewhat addicted to Christmas items.
    Clearly I had not adequately explained its function as for the past two Christmas seasons it has adorned her front door.

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    1. We are so sorry that you had to leave the Limoges behind in the depot vente. We know only too well the frustration of having to decide against things simply on the grounds of the logistics, and often expense, of transporting them from one country to another. And in your case, as we know, it involves shipping across continents.

      Why is it that one's domestic help always falls with such glee upon unwanted items? We love the thought of the Christmas lavatory seat cover being used as a seasonal front door decoration. And how could you explain its real purpose now?!!

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  52. I can only imagine the interesting people who would be invited to grace that exquisitely adorned table ....Oh to be a fly on the wall. Happy Anniversary you two!

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    1. Thank you so much, although in truth we do not celebrate the actual date until the end of March.

      We are most fortunate to have many lively, intelligent friends of all ages so dinner parties, which we love, are always the greatest of fun.

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  53. Third time lucky...with the commenting that is...I have found that the iPad sucks for blog commenting and only the Macbook will do. Grrr!

    Love your dining room - actually I always like looking at your rooms, when you show pics..such classic style - enduring and timeless and just FAB!

    Those two purple/red/brown glass 'goblets' (??) in the centre of the table....they are stunning...droolicious.


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    1. Oh, Wendz, we are so sorry. It is infuriating when one's comment simply disappears which, believe us, happens so very often. We have a theory that 'Blogger' is overloaded and simply goes down and then everything is lost and one is left to start again.

      You are most kind about our rooms. Really they are, in the main, furnished with finds bought cheaply or at auction for very little money. The lustres which you like have been in our family for many years.

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  54. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I love your rooms and mixture of china, your recent purchase of Herend porcelain is a wonderful way to remember your 33rd year together, congratulations to you both. Lavatory seat covers that takes me back, I haven't seen one for years hopefully they won't come back into fashion!
    Sarah x

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Sarah, and we are so pleased that you like the latest purchase of Herend. Obtained, we assure you, for very little money when compared with the price of new.

      As for the lavatory seat covers, happily we too have not encountered one for years. But could they become 'vintage' property?!!

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  55. A Happy Anniversary to you lovebirds! What to wish you guys? The biggest gift is you being together, so I guess all that's left to wish is more fabulous adventures and many smiles! :) Oh, I think the mix and match of different sets is a lovely addition! My parents used to mix them as well, as do I, on occasion, since they inject so much memory and love into the celebration! As for the walls, I tend to favour having the ceiling in the same colour as walls, but one wall you can definitely do in a different, bright or interesting tone, for example, a deep burgundy or pine. One different wall adds an interesting touch to any room! :)

    Hugs,

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    1. How really sweet of you, Kasia, but we are a little in advance of ourselves as the date is not until the end of March.

      We can readily imagine your own table settings for we know you to have such an eye for detail combined with enormous creativity and great practical ability. And we are certain that the same may be said of your decoration skills throughout your house.

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  56. I know it's going to be a good day when I see a new post from the two of you!

    I think that your table-setting is absolutely lovely. I happen to be partial to rose-painted china, so I adore your Floradora pattern. The Herend coordinates beautifully!

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    1. Now that is most generous of you.

      We have always liked the Floradora and now, mixed with the Herend, and any other pieces we can get hold of, we like it all the more.

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  57. ~ How very beautiful and elegant....I wonder too, which interesting people will be your guests! Sending kind thoughts, Maria x

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    1. Thank you so much, Maria. The table as shown was in readiness for a dinner party held very recently. We have another next week to which we are much looking forward. Ideally we like to have a mixture of young friends and those more of our own age. We find it works well.

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  58. I do love opinionated folk! Especially when they can put together such a beautiful dining table. Utterly beyond reproach.

    Scarlet Blue beat me to the underwear comparison - she sounds like my sort of girl!
    Axxx

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    1. We are certain, Annie, that you would make an ideal dinner party guest. Full of ideas, conversation, and fun. What we should describe as "excellent value". Are you free next week?!!

      We are sure Scarlet Blue is absolutely our kind of girl too.

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  59. Elegant,sophisticated, yet attractively simple .. Such a charming delightful setting. One could imagine sitting in those divine chairs at your table and chatting the night away..enjoying one of your wonderful Hungarian dishes and a glass of excellent red.
    Discussing your nights at the opera and all your travels.. a divine night indeed.
    Of course that is not to forget my elegant hosts .. It would be unforgettable I am sure.
    I have passed through many of these phases. Like Rosemary..I question the toilet seat cover!!!
    I once went through a phase of painting a wall a different colour.. I remember my bedroom at the time.. we painted " quince green" and the dinning room "Sherwood green".. Oh gosh what memories.
    Best of all dear Jane and Lance are the 33 years of happiness and recalling all those wonderful years.
    A most lovely post.
    val xx

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    1. We do have the most amazing evenings around the dining table, Val, but we are so fortunate to have so many lively and interesting friends, all of whom can be relied upon to have much to impart. And a glass or two of Hungarian red certainly helps things along!

      How honest of you to retell tales of 'quince green'. Our all red dining room of years ago could never be admitted to now!

      And yes, we are so fortunate to have had 33 wonderful years; we keenly look forward to those which are yet to come.

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  60. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I am writing what I think might be the 123rd comment, so your posting is obviously striking a chord with a lot of people!

    As a teenager I once admired the home of newlyweds that was expensively decorated to a very finished state. My mother said that the obviously wealthy young couple were actually disadvantaged in their decorating. She noted that taste is refined with time and editing, and in my own case, I've found that to be true.

    Looking at you place settings, I see the beauty of things loved through a married lifetime.

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    1. It is always, as you yourself must know only too well, a delight when people are kind enough to take the time to write a comment. It gives to a post real meaning.

      We can totally identify with what your mother said of the newly married couple and their furnishings and decorations. It is so true that it is never a question of how much money can be spent. Many of our favourite interiors have been achieved on very low budgets.

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  61. My Grandma was very fond of saying something about a mantlepiece and the stoking of a fire? I love the table in all it's mis-matched glory and I'm pleased to see it without a tablecloth. I've just examined the underside of my crockery "Poole Pottery" in a mustard colour circa 1960 they were hand me down from a Great Aunt.

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    1. 'Poole Pottery', dear Mitzi, is, as we are sure that you must realise, highly collectable and to be treasured. On our forays around antique markets [you know the kind of thing, in redundant churches or warehouses] we are so often tempted with pieces of 'Poole' but, alas, are never prepared to pay the rather steep asking price.

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  62. Thirty three years of contented devotion . . . Dearest Jane and Lance . . . is it a Happy Anniversary soon? You have a unique love that seeps out into the world in a most joyful way . . . in other words it cannot be contained. It was a joy to witness your comfort, acceptance and devotion to one another. Your table looks so lovely with all the mix of china and crystal . . . if only I could have been there to do the flowers. Your home displays an exquisite taste in every way. I could never imagine a matching bath set in even your newly married wc. If it is your anniversary, I do so heartedly wish you a joyous thirty-three more. Hugs and love from frigid Massachusetts. C

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    1. Dearest Carol, as always you say the kindest of things and with such generosity of spirit. We have been hugely fortunate to have had each other over the past thirty-three years and to have known, at all times, that we could rely on the other for love and support no matter what.

      How we need you here for each dinner party, and not of course just for the flowers although we know that the table, and the rooms, would be elevated to another level with your magical and artistic touch. But next time you are here we will have a huge party and we shall fill the apartment with flowers - what fun it is going to be.

      Our Anniversary falls at the end of March - doubtless we shall do something to celebrate. Perhaps a 'do' at the Four Seasons?!!

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  63. You are so stylish! I shudder to think what you would make of our version of mix and match, which consists of replacement plates when some of the originals have bit the dust. I sometime swindler what guests, You are so stylish! I shudder to think what you would make of our version of mix and match, which consists of replacement plates when some of the originals have bit the dust. I sometimes wonder what guests, who set such a nice table, might think, but this is us (just over 33 years, as it happens, and congrats to you), so there it is!

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    1. Many, many congratulations to you both, Susan. And it is never the china, the place settings, the table or the chairs which matter, not even we feel the food, but ALWAYS the company. Give us lively, intelligent minds, a love of conversation and banter [with some gossip thrown in for good measure] and we are as happy as Larry [whoever he may be].

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    2. I just have to note, coming back here, my paucity of typing skills when it comes to using my new iPad. My comment above, for example, is hardly in English. Ah we'll, it seems you were able to decipher it, more or less!

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    3. No problem at all. And it always takes time to adapt to a new piece of technology.

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  64. Lovely post Today. Your table is set beautifully.
    When I set my table it seems to be a little bit this and that.
    But I like it.
    Some one commented on grey walls. In of my home I painted one wall grey and it changed colors during the day from a light grey in morning to my favorite deep lavender at twilight.
    I think it one of the most underused colors.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. We do so much like those paint shades which alter as the light changes. Here in Budapest our entire apartment is painted with Farrow and Ball 'Limewhite' which is constantly altering and looks very different in the various rooms - sometimes a completely new colour.

      Grey we hugely favour and have used it extensively in our Brighton home.

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  65. You set a beautiful table. I, too, have been married for 33 years. I adore that things have relaxed through the years. You will share with us the details of your dinner party?

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    1. Bonnie, how wonderful that you too have been married for the same amount of time. We send you our warmest congratulations.

      The table, as shown, was set for a recent dinner party. Next week we are holding another but with a completely different set of friends.

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  66. I imagine myself sitting on the table sipping a glass of "Shiraz" steam rising from the beautiful white soup bowl............an aria from Puccini........

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    1. Wonderful, wonderful!And, perhaps a glass of Tokaj with the pudding?

      The only thing missing is you....but, perhaps one day? Oh, what fun that would be!

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    2. I completely agree with you, no doubts at all. :) :)

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  67. There's a comforting circularity in giving new life to pre-loved possessions! And there's a fine line between 'antique shop' and 'op shop', as less upmarket 2nd hand stores are known downunder!! Either way, it looks like our respective dining rooms are tarred with the same brush!!!

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    1. We have to say that our favourite port of call in Budapest is probably more 'op shop' than antique and, as it is absolutely packed to the rafters with 'treasures', it is a whole day adventure to uncover any finds!!!

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  68. Your dining room looks beautiful, the perfect setting for a lively dinner party, but I must confess that what first caught my eye was neither glass nor china, furniture or flowers, but the beautiful parquet floor. Being confined, budget-wise, to cheap laminate (which was already 2 years old when I bought this place 10 years ago), I always admire beautiful old (and sometimes new) wooden or tiled floors.

    Another confession I am making to you today is that my bedroom has three walls in vanilla and one in duck egg blue, because I wanted it that way - it didn't have anything to do with the number of years I was married at the time!

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    1. We were very lucky that the original parquet floors were still in place when we bought the apartment.Although a certain amount of restoration was needed, in the main they had stood up well to the wear and tear of neglect and multiple occupancy that they had endured. It was interesting that when new wooden blocks had to be added they were far thinner than the original ones and so the levels had to be built up with some concrete.

      Vanilla and duck egg blue sound to be a wonderfully pretty combination and perfect for creating a restful ambience in a bedroom, we are sure!

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  69. China and glassware an abiding passion. My mother (then a young girl) was invited to tea by an aunt, ever hopeful, said aunt suggested my mother might help wash the dishes afterwards. My mother was flabbergasted when the contents of two cupboards came into view, for when one set of china was used the aunt merely moved on to another, such was her intense dislike of anything domestic, although she would cook for England if given a chance.

    33 years a fine vintage, may many more joyful years stretch out in front of you.

    PS Hattatts and Darby and Joan do not belong together in the same sentence.

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    1. Oh how we absolutely and totally identify with the aunt. Indeed, the only difference that we can see is that we do not cook either!!!In the nine years that Tímea, our cook housekeeper has been working for us she has never once used the washing up machine. Now, she would have made your aunt a perfect companion!

      Thank you so much for your kind wishes. We feel very fortunate in our marriage and, at the risk of sounding trite, we absolutely do believe these to be the best years of our lives. And, how happy we are to think that you, dearest Susan, a connoisseur of all things stylish, do not regard us as Darby and Joan. For that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!

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  70. Wow!! What a room! Love all the pieces and the story that comes with them, such a grand setting. I adore the flooring to, so fine!! Thank you so much for your kind words, I'm a big fan of Gloria Swanson :) I wish you a beautiful day xx

    The Dainty Dolls House

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    1. We were so fortunate to find this C19 apartment some years ago and whilst it required huge amounts of work, having been in multiple occupancy for fifty years, we were drawn to the very large, high ceilinged rooms. The parquet floors throughout are restored but all original.

      Happy days to you too.

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  71. I do love the name of your original dinner set and hope "Flora Dora" is enjoying the new company.
    Congratulations on the marvellous achievement of 33 years of marriage and I hope you have fun gathering the lovely new "set". I wish I had some purpose to my collecting, rather than the absolutely random approach I take.
    Oh and Happy New Year! x

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    1. The name is, we agree, Penny, rather romantic in a nineteenth century kind of way and we have never tired of the china only now enjoy mixing it in with other pieces.

      Thank you for your good wishes. Actually, we think that your 'random' approach to collecting is often the best and most successful.

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  72. I, for one, would be most delighted to sit at a table where variety and integrity in design were celebrated. I chuckled at your description of 'newly married'...because at 34 1/2 years married I recognized myself. what a fun post. thanks

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment.How lovely it is that even at 34 years of marriage you can still think of yourself as newly married!!!

      Whatever the china, it is the people around the dining table that make the occasion and that is what we value most. And, as in all things, a variety of opinions and ideas makes for the most lively and interesting of dinner parties!!

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  73. 'so newly married!' what a quaint expression. Unfortunately it was not such a great time for me! but I do like the expression and do still believe in love....even after the shine has worn off. As for those mats around the toilet, I don't know where I would be without it with my 14 year old boy and all his friends! Heather x

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    1. We are so sorry that things did not possibly work out so well for you. But yes, one must never give up on love although at times it can, as we all know, be a little elusive.

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  74. Happy Anniversary! Your "mixed" settings are beautiful. Hugs, Cindy

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. We are so pleased that you like the different makes and patterns of china.

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  75. I was moved by your post today. Thirty-three years is an awesome achievement. I wish you many more years together. I love your eclectic dining table as I do the idea of using mis-matched dinner plates. It makes for a more interesting table set-up, I am sure.

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    1. Thank you so much, Loree. This is most kind and generous of you. And they have, without exception, been the most wonderful years.

      Like you, we tend to think that a mis-matched [splendid description] dinner service can make for more interest and we now rather enjoying collecting odd pieces of china.

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  76. oh sigh.....you have such beautiful things...
    Happy 33....

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    1. You are very kind, Suz. Everything gathered up slowly over what is now rather a long time!!

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  77. That is so funny.. lurking in the deep recesses of the sideboard cupboards are to be found fully matching, flamboyantly floral, many pieced Floradora dinner and tea services which might suggest that you are indeed newly married :) If not newly married in years, then newly married in taste ha ha.

    In November last year, I started clearing out everything in this very large house that had not been worn, slept on, read or eaten off in the last 10 years. So far I have removed crate after crate to the auction houses or charity shops, with more to go. After 42 years of marriage, I did love most of it but some was truly cringe-worthy.

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    1. How absolutely splendid, Hels, that you have been married for 42 years. We wonder if you did something rather special in celebration of the fortieth?

      Your purge of all those things which are unwanted or no longer of use sounds to us to be an excellent way of going on. Generally we tend not to hoard and do actually have periodic clear outs. So very therapeutic!!

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  78. Jane and Lance,

    I have said this before in my comments but each time I visit you I feel as if I have stepped back in time and have a "fly on the wall" view of a glorious salon filled with musicians, writers, philosophers, and many more interesting people. You dinner party and table setting look beautiful. Your collection from 34 years must have many stories to tell of both your happy life and also from the people who had the items before you.

    I hope you have a wonderful week, happy anniversary to you a bit early. How wonderful to know that you have had one another for so many adventures, highs and low in life and now to go forward to the best years of your life!

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    1. We are, Elizabeth, so very fortunate to be able to count as friends so very many interesting people, both young and old, which always makes for a lively and fun mix around the dinner table. And also, as you say here, those things collected over a relatively long period do have particular associations and their own stories to tell.

      And thank you so much for your kind good wishes which we do so appreciate.

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  79. One can never have too much china dear Hattats...especially when you have such a lovely dining room to use them in!
    Happy 33rd Anniversary year to you...
    xo J~

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    1. Well, perhaps one could reach the point of having too much - but we are not there yet!!

      Thank you so much, Jessica, for your good wishes. It is so very kind of you.

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  80. A very happy anniversary to the most elegant blogger couple out there. Keep up the awesomeness!

    Ah, how warm and well-matched everything looks on that table! Being an ardent lover of anything floral and vintage, I am in love with your old china. I'm sure it must have been a lovely evening.

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    1. This is so very sweet of you, Suman, and so very much appreciated. Thank you.

      It was indeed a really fun evening made up of friends whose interests were, and are, as wide ranging and different as the countries from which they originate.

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  81. Happy Wedding Anniversary, well done & may there be many more.
    I do like your dinning room, it looks homely.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment and good wishes. Although our actual Anniversary date is not until the end of March we intend to make this a celebratory year!

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  82. The antique plates look utterly lovely and suit your dining table and setting perfectly.

    An an IKEA and second-hand 'brocante' expat, I can only blush in shame at my own shabby household finds, but you'll be relieved to know that even I am horrified at the thought of toilet seat covers!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and generous comment. We do not know you well enough yet to comment upon your own 'household finds' but are sure that if the keen eye for detail which you show in your wonderful writing is anything to go by, then your house is bound to be filled with treasures.

      And, we are mightily relieved [no pun intended] that you share our views on lavatory seat covers!!!

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  83. What a fabulous phrase! I shall adopt it if I may. I have to say your dining table puts my pine table with its oilcloth and piles of tools waiting to go out to the workshop to shame. I do have proper china and crystal but it doesn't come out more than three or four times a year. The rest of the time I ma likely to be moving seed catalogues to make space for ironstone plates. Love your latest acquisition. I must resist the urge to go in for more china purchases. Must. Must.

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    1. You are welcome, Elizabeth, to use the phrase at will and we are delighted that it appeals. We do find that it can be used in any number of situations and is rather amusing, especially when, like us, newly married is very far from the truth!

      We too really should resist any further china purchases. But, when one sees a treasure in need of a good home, well.....need we say more?

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  84. Dear Jane and Lance, everything speaks to me, starting with your attitude about the one predominant wall color to the ideas about mixing and matching, trends and the not so trendy details, which are rather timeless and wonderful. I adore your additions to the china cabinet, the fabulous cut glasses and the entire atmosphere in your lovely dining room. As a child growing up in Dresden, we as well had an enormous dining room and these huge stoves in every room.The only important thing on winter nights were to keep them going and every early morning my father would go down three flights into the coal cellar to carry up at least four or five buckets full with so called 'brickets' - coal logs - which would burn slowly and create great heat. There was no central heating.
    We had a bench in front of each of them to warm our backs and one of them sported a covered little cave in the middle to keep a coffee pot warm, or gloves before heading out into the snow for play. This brings back a lot of fond memories! Be good, lot's of love to you both!

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    1. You paint such a very real picture here, Victoria, of what life in these kinds of apartments was like in the past and before the advent of central heating. We too own cellars here, several flights of stairs down as it was for you in Dresden, where the coal would have been kept. We inspected them once, some years ago, and have not revisited them. Such a labyrinth underneath the building! We love the idea of the nook to keep things, such as the coffee, hot.

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  85. Happy Anniversary 33rd

    I can't imagine living with the same partner (man) 33 years. LOL

    You can tell I am divorced and widowed also and feel free as a bird LOL

    I love your dining room table , chairs and dishes, just beautiful

    I am not an awful person just very independent and hard headed and want it all my way.

    cheers to you & yours

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    1. We suppose that we cannot imagine what it would be like not to have one another - but that is what works for us. At the same time, we really do believe in the individuality of the individual, but perhaps that is something different.

      Thank you so much for your kind remarks about the dining room. We shall hope to welcome you here again.

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  86. Love your post, you elegant pair, you! We too are deeply unmatched and - also in our 33rd year of marriage - revel in miscellany, so although your dining table puts us to shame with its stylishness, it would very much recognise ours as a distant cousin! The new rose pink china looks delightful, and 'Floradora' is such a splendid name, it must certainly never be parted with!

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    1. Many congratulations to you both in your 33rd. year of marriage. And may you look forward to many, many more.

      We are delighted to learn that you too 'revel' [what a splendid word] in miscellany and can easily imagine what fun your own house must be. On balance we think 'Floradora' is with us for all time! But with additions!

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  87. PS - I am still shuddering at the thought of loo seat covers...

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  88. Hahaha :) Don't hold back, friends! Lavatory seat covers, Marks and Spencer, Laura Ashley....okay, it's safe here.....just checked our place. Please come in :)

    And, so very newly married: gotta remember this phrase!
    Cheers,
    Loi
    PS - Your dining room is lovely and very gracious.

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    1. From all that we know and have seen, Loi, we know that we are on perfectly safe ground where the two of you are concerned.

      And such kindness about our dining room which, we can guess at, must represent a living nightmare to you!!

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  89. PPS - Can Tom and I come for dinner? ;-)

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    1. Now would that you could. That is something we should really love. Any time!

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  90. Married only twenty-three years, what's all this talk of 'age'?
    The soup plate looks delightful, give me a mixture of family pieces and just plain beautiful anytime.

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    1. Alas, 33 years and counting.....!!!

      We are so pleased that you too like mixing styles. We were really taken with the Herend soup plates and intend to collect more as and when funds and opportunities allow.

      Delete

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