Toast & Marmalade And Other Stories by Emma Bridgewater

We have an unending problem. Both Matthew and I buy more china than any kitchen can hold. Every likely place has rows of extra jugs, plates, mugs, coffee pots. There was – is – continuously so much china in the house that it is silting up in boxes, in cupboards, and even spilling outside into the barn and sheds. We tried to call a halt to the shopping but it was no good, neither of us could pretend to be indifferent when passing a new junk shop or market. And besides, we realised that if we stopped feeling acquisitive about it, this had a negative effect on our designing; it seemed to be a vital part of the creative process to keep one’s eye in and keep shopping. Indifference to an antique shop, even if completely feigned, is reflected in stilted design and much less of a feeling of happy anticipation at sitting down to create anything new.

 TOAST & MARMALADE AND OTHER STORIES by Emma Bridgewater. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2014.

One afternoon after a muddy day out on the marsh, we stopped at the house of an old friend of Mum’s. The children were prompt to wash their muddy feet and legs and shed their filthy plimsolls, as Mary’s standards are high and her teas legendary. Once they were all munching on home-made scones and jam around her kitchen table, we took our cups of tea next door into her lovely sitting room and flopped into her extra comfy sofas and chairs…

 TOAST & MARMALADE AND OTHER STORIES by Emma Bridgewater. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2014.

As we talked I noticed for the first time that the room had an elegant, narrow shelf running all around it, about 7 feet from the floor, above the picture rail. It was filled with Mary’s collection of beautiful china, including a lovely dessert service, with assorted hand-painted flowers and deep green borders, as well as copper lustre and other pretty things. She said that the china had belonged to her mother and she liked having it out or harm’s way, well above grandchild level, and not in the kitchen where it was likely to be put to use.

This was an idea to be copied as widely as possible…

 TOAST & MARMALADE AND OTHER STORIES by Emma Bridgewater. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2014.
 TOAST & MARMALADE AND OTHER STORIES by Emma Bridgewater. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2014.

Extract from TOAST & MARMALADE AND OTHER STORIES by Emma Bridgewater, published in hardback by Saltyard books, priced £25 and also available as an ebook.