After sending out some invites for a tea party that I’m hosting in a couple of weeks, I realised that none of my tableware matches. And not in a cute, thrifty way. At the very least, I needed some plain white porcelain plates so headed out to The Reject Pot Shop in Chalk Farm to pick up a bargain. The shop stocks stacks of china seconds which are slightly misshapen or irregular (apparently) for less than a couple of pounds per piece. Most of the tableware is plain white and therefore easy to match. The shop also houses a small but well stocked cookware section. There is nothing fancy here – don’t expect to find designer or witty objects. Do expect to find a tool for every cooking task: sea food crackers, egg timers, lemon zesters, garlic pressers, can strainers, mango stoners, onion savers, cheese graters, butter melters, pastry blenders… the list goes on (and on)! I picked up a sandwich tin and some baking beads for a vegan bakewell tart that I’m planning to make this week.
As I was handing over my pennies, I asked the gentleman behind the till if there had ever been an accident resulting in a stack of plates toppling over. He informed me that in 30 years, there had never been a single breakage! He also suggested that this is an example of a general life lesson: the more careful we are to protect something, the more likely it is that it will be damaged. How true! When he mentioned to me that a man had been in the shop earlier that day for the first time, despite working up the road in Marine Ices (a yummy Italian restaurant with a flavoursome ice-cream bar) for 28 years, I suggested a life lesson of my own: sometimes we fail to notice the fabulous things on our own doorstep. We nodded at each other, smug at our own observations! I’ll remember them every time I use the plates.