Unwanted Gift

My godmother is a larger than life character, kind, generous and always smiling. Once, when I was very young, she asked me what sort of tea service I would like if I had my own; "Would you choose a pattern with birds or flowers, or insects or butterflies" she asked, "or maybe a pattern that tells a story?" She had me there, stories were my thing, but not great at making decisions in those days, I said I liked everything she suggested. The first brown box arrived for Christmas.  I ripped it open and inside was ... a teacup and saucer. I was only six and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't want it and I didn't really look at it. From then on, every birthday and Christmas, a disappointing brown cardboard box would arrive with yet another teacup and saucer, or a couple of tea plates, or a teapot or a milk jug. I was far more interested in Lego and Sindy, and a less interesting gift was almost impossible to imagine - but luckily these precious boxes were kept in a safe place for me. When I finally had my first home many years later, I opened them all and was entranced and delighted by their contents. She had given me a complete tea service from Herend, the world-renowned Hungarian porcelain manufacturer - what a wonderful gift - and when it came to the design, she had taken me at my six year old word. Created in 1860, the Rothschild pattern tells the magical story of a lost necklace and is exquisitely painted with everything I had asked for all those years before. I knew nothing about Hungary then but as so often happens in life, this 'unwanted' gift which had seemed so dull to me as a child, was the first piece in a bigger jigsaw that no one could have foreseen or imagined. The first time I made a cup of tea for my Hungarian mother-in-law I was able to use my beautiful porcelain, all the way from her precious homeland.