Saturday, 6 August 2011

Saving the best till last

Years ago my sister started a catalogue book, selling stuff to her friends to make a few bob. I ordered a matching tea and dinner service with all the additions, to get her started, place mats, condiment set, large teapot, gravy bowl etc. All very lovely, I had enough crockery to hold a banquet.

It was put away in the cupboard for special occasions, too nice to use every day, I was saving it for best. Every time I moved it was all packed away again, then unpacked in the new house and put away in the new cupboard. There were very few special occasions, I have never been one for entertaining guests.

The crockery I used every day was a mish mash of anything which was given to me, or I picked up cheap at a market. Nothing matched, everything was odd but functional. Did it matter that I ate off a plain white plate which was donkeys years old and passed down from relatives? I got some of my crockery, pots and pans from jumble sales, it was good enough for me, and I kept my posh stuff for best.

I remember we always saved things for best, it was normal, best clothes, best underwear, best tablecloth, best glasses, best shoes. Remember the glass fronted display cabinets we had in the best room, the front parlour which was kept to entertain visitors, with tea from the best china.

When I was younger it was nice to have best things, but now I am older and time is running out, what is the point of saving things for best? Before you know it you find you have loads of things you have never used. When I last moved house, I chucked all my crockery oddments and started using the best stuff. And now my best china has loads of chips and cracks, it is no longer stored in a cupboard, I am using it every day. I am finally getting to use all my best stuff. Have you got something hidden away that you ought to be getting out and using it? What are you waiting for?

21 comments:

  1. Very good point Ilona! I can think of one or 2 things right now that could be put into use.
    I was brought up exactly the same and even now, I hang up a new t shirt "for best" and carry on wearing the tatty ones!

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  2. I can't see the point of 'best' - my mum has a set of cutlery (a wedding present) which is used once a year at christmas and that really irritates me! Personally, if something does not see regular use it's just junk you don't need. I like to have good quality products that are good for everyday use as well as nice enough for 'best' occasions!

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  3. I inherited my mothers silver cutlery and lugged it home in its fancy box which took up space on my counters.
    I recently bought it all out and chucked all my cheap knives and forks to the charity shop and now use the silver which gets better with age. I have to clean it very occasionally but it is so much better to use it and get pleasure out of it every day rather than feel guilty storing it.

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  4. I was brought up the same way but I don't recall anything that was very special. It was mostly clothing - 'best' was for wearing to chapel and visiting the relatives. I always had 'second best' shoes that I wore to school.

    Yes, use it and enjoy it there's no point in keeping it hidden.

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  5. I use things and enjoy them...no good to me sitting in a dusty old box!
    Jane x

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  6. I had to use my 'best china' after a fire totaled my house. (Luckily, I had all the 'best' stored out in the shed.) It made me realise that having lots of things really isn't important and that there was no good reason I even bought 'everyday' dishes in the first place. It was all a waste of money collecting stuff. We still use the 'best' everyday. I'm now more grateful for what I have like family & pets. My dishes are also chipped, the fancy embellishments wearing off, and they are so totally dated, but they always remind me that life is too precious not to use the 'best' now and to focus more on the 'people' both two & four legged that dine on this dinnerware.

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  7. This reminds me of when my parents cleared out my nana's house. She had so many things boxed up and "saved" for best. So much of it was beautiful and just wasted.
    Wonderful Post as usual Ilona
    x x x

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  8. When I was first married my inlaws were conventional farmers and insisted that I was bought an best tea set, even though I said I had already got a tea set. How many *** tea sets do you need hey?

    I use everything but obviously clothes wise some things aren't suitable for everyday, when I go around wearing my usual rags. (charity shop finds)

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  9. We had things for best, that was only used for high days and holidays when I was growing up too. As I get older, nothing is saved for best. I use everything as and when I want, be it jewellery, crockery or clothes. If I lose something or it gets broken at least I've had the pleasure of using it and not keeping it packed away in a cupboard. Sally

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  10. we are a long time dead, life is to be enjoyed, like you i have no best, but use what i like now :)

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  11. Hi Ilona. Love your blog, which I've just finished reading in full. I share your values and believe that the best things in life really are free. I'm reading War and Peace at the moment (from the library, of course!) and a quote from it really hit home with me: '... a surfeit of luxury takes all the pleasure out of satisfying our basic needs'. How true that is, and how full your life is, because you get so much pleasure and enjoyment from the simple but important things in life. Look forward to reading what new adventures you'll have in days to come.

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  12. Excellent point me dear,
    I've long suffered the wailing and gnashing of false teeth from my parents for using stuff they regard as 'for best only'. But if the item, say a cup, feels right in the hand, holds the brew as it should and the tea tastes fine then it should be used after all that's what it was bloody well made for. The only thing that I keep for special occasions is a single suit with two ties - one black and one not black!
    Best regards,
    John

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  13. Just remembered, my Mum of 91, always has a plastic mat under the dish drainer to stop the sink from scratching! The sink has been there for years! I tried to tell her years ago to enjoy the sink when it was new and then when it became scratched cover it up if you must but SS sinks will always scratch a little due to the nature of the steel.

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  14. I do like having "best" things, and use them often enough they are not useless. I made a scarf from my grandmother. When she died it was returned to me--unused. I was so hurt as I imagined she wore it. Mama told me she treasured it and did not want to lose it or ruin it. That took the sting away, but I really knew better even though I was only ten at the time.

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  15. I was brought up the same way too but can't think of anything I don't use now.
    My MIL has lots of unused new towels, but uses bits of old curtains and t shirts to dry her hands on in the kitchen! Similar to Campfire's Mum she protects the settee from getting dirty by putting curtains over it and then protects them with even more curtains and sheets, making it so high your feet dangle off the floor when you sit on it! And of course the actual settee is never seen so is never appreciated!

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  16. this is sort of a reverse answer--but when we got married 40+ years ago my mother in law gave us the sterling flatware she had received as a wedding present. We have used it every day we've been married, it is beautiful and I love it. I actually feel sorry for friends who only use their silver for best, not least because their children probably won't want it because they prefer stainless.

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  17. Excellent post! I was the same - never using my "good stuff" for normal use...then my dd had a brush with cancer (all clear now) and it really does make you think....so now I eat off china plates and use my expensive smellies I have been given as gifts every day!

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  18. Never had the money to acquire anything that special in the first place. So whatever we use now has to make do for everyday use, special or not. But, I do have a small coffee pot and filter holder that`s made from china. I bought those in a charity shop, and they looked perfectly new. Now, that I keep using for a special treat on Sundays, to brew a good coffee in the afternoons. I`m not a horder of things, so the need for things to be kept for special occassions never even arose.

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  19. Brilliant post. I use my 'best' all the time, if I buy anything it is to be used NOW.

    When my Nana died I helped go through her house, sorting things out. In the chest of drawers were all the lovely pillowcases, tableclothes, scarves, gloves etc etc that we had bought her over the years after noticing she needed them. She had continued to wear/use the old ones and saved our gifts for 'best'.

    'Best' never came.

    It changed the way I thought and acted immediately.

    Enjoy using your 'best' china everyday, even if it gets worn and chipped it is still loved.

    Sue xx

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  20. Always had a sunday best coat and clothes, when I was growing up, and because it was your sunday best what happened you grew out of it, and it was still like new, so whats the point of having things and not using them.

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  21. It seems people save all sorts of things for best. Some very interesting comments here, thank you. Now everyone sort their drawers out and start using your best stuff, every day. Go on, you're worth it.

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