The children and I spent a lovely day yesterday with Uncle Robber and granny, going to Stoke on Trent to do a bit of pottery browsing. Uncle Robber has taken over the mantle of chief Emma Bridgewater purchaser in our family. He collects the blue Starry Skies pattern and is steadily building up quite a magnificent collection. His current interest is the new season’s ginger beer bottle, of which he wants eight.
I think he’s having the Famous Five plus friends round for dinner.
Lashings of ginger beer.
Tallulah added a saucer to her fledgling Hellebore pattern collection and the rest of us resisted with might and main.
Although we didn’t manage to resist the cakes. Not even for a nano second.
I was tempted by this year’s collector’s year jug, of which they had a few kicking around. But I decided to save my money.
Mostly because I knew that we were going on to the Burleigh factory after we’d finished in Bridgewater and granny and I are having a bit of a retro moment in our china collecting careers. We are going in for a more traditional look.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Burleigh ware. I have been trained by mum to love most blue and white china variations, although I can happily live without willow pattern. If you look closely at my dusty shelves you will see a fair few pieces of Burleigh dotted around here and there.
After yesterday you will find three more bowls and a mug.
Our final stop of the afternoon was to Trentham Gardens. We didn’t actually do the gardens, although they are rather gorgeous, we just went for a wander around the strange log cabin style shopping centre that has sprung up there. Usually when we go to Trentham, we are always en route to the gardens or to see the monkey sanctuary next door, and we’ve never really stopped to see what the log cabins contain. We wanted lunch and thought it might be a good place to find something.
We were rather disappointed. It is sort of like a massive outdoor garden centre concession area. You can buy four thousand Yankee Candles (which I hate), some comfy shoes, some knock off Build A Bear’s and then buy a sandwich for seven quid, which still comes out of a chiller cabinet wrapped in plastic. Then there were the odd sculptures, which would have been quite nice had they not all been festooned with polite notices exhorting you not to ride them like ponies.
I admit that I had never even thought about trying to saddle up a wicker dachshund until I was asked not to. It’s the polarity responder in me. Now it’s all I want to do. All the time.
We spent the whole time we were there saying: ‘This is odd, isn’t it?’, and ‘Is it just me, or is this place very weird?’ and choking on the overwhelming aroma of massed Yankee Candles.
We resisted everything on offer apart from some cheese from the deli, and scarpered home via the pub for an enormous late lunch. Much more satisfactory.