Well this is a shame. I had a set of four Chinese bowls, which I must have bought in March 1992 - I can see them in photographs of my home at that time - so they came into my hands twenty-four years ago. And they survived as a set of four for all those years, first as kitchen decoration and occasional bowls for nuts and crisps; then as cereal and soup bowls, a role they have had for a very long time. All without a single mishap. Twenty-four years!
But now I have broken one. I was doing the morning washing-up, and a Pyrex jug slipped from my rubber-gloved fingers as I was placing it in the drying rack. It fell onto one of these Chinese bowls, and that was that.
As you can see, it was a fairly clean break. If these bowls were merely decorative, then I'd have glued the broken bowl together again. But each of these four bowls is used - several times a week - in both hot and cold situations. At least two of them are washed up in hot water every day. Heat weakens household glue. I couldn't see a repair lasting long. So very reluctantly I interred the broken bowl in the bin, and carried on with just three.
They were expensive, good-quality bowls which I originally bought from a cookshop called Scott & Sargent in Horsham. This was in the period immediately after W--- and I split up, and I was looking to buy some things to add a strictly personal touch to what had been the Matrimonial Home. I had no idea that they would prove durable, and accompany me to a series of homes.
Nowadays, if I'm home, it's normal for me to use them for soup at lunchtime:
Or as bowls to place the ingredients for my evening meal in, pending tipping them into boiling water or the wok:
And if I'm entertaining (too rare an activity, I admit), they are used for desserts:
Now, with only three left, I will have to buy a new set of bowls if cooking for four or more. Sigh.