Animal Alphabet: 2018

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For anyone who is a regular reader of this blog, they will know that my favourite china shop is Cosmo China, in Cosmo Place, just off Queens Square in London.  I discovered it back in about 2004 when I was visiting the London Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery.  Every hospital appointment since has involved a quick visit there.

What I love about the shop is that all the china is hand-painted, unique and definitely quirky.  I have bought Christmas china there: mugs, dinner plates, tea plates and even a tea pot.  I have also bought china for the rest of the year which includes a beautiful fruit bowl covered in fuschia.  They even sell hand designed tea towels which I am very attracted to!

Cosmo China make personal commissions so a commemorative plate for Jai’s wedding and a celebratory plate for David and Dorothy’s 60th Wedding Anniversary came from there.  Even Jean Adcock’s 60th birthday present was designed by them.

For me, what is special about Cosmo China is the close association with Peter Firmin, the artist who created Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog and the Clangers; you can see pictures of Bagpuss in the shop.  This is because one of his daughters, Josie, is the founder of Cosmo China.  A visit there always brings back good memories.

My last visit was at the beginning of September.  This time I was there with a purpose!  About 12 years ago, I bought a beautiful, 6 cup tea pot decorated with chickens, definitely quirky chickens, black with white spots.  It is a tea pot that I use most days.  I noticed, as often happens with well used tea pots, that there were two hair line cracks in the lid.  I knew it would last sometime yet but because I only visit there twice a year, I decided to take the lid and see if they could paint me another.

Served by Josie, I was intrigued when she went into the basement and came back with a basket of various sizes and shapes of lids.  They still do a ‘Chicken’ tea pot but it is not the same shape or size as mine.  This basket had some plain white lids but also some that had been part-painted with a mistake.  This was fascinating.  We found one which was the right shape but with a blue knob on top.  “Can’t you just paint the blue with black?” I said.

”It won’t be the same as your existing lid” Josie said

”Doesn’t matter, gives it a bit of extra life”

So we agreed that she would redecorate the lid which was completed within a week and just perfect.  Now that is what a good china shop should do, be able to give added length of life to a piece of china.  Demonstrating that we are not just living in a disposable world.  And now I know about Josie’s basket of tea pot lids I wish I hadn’t given the tea pot with no lid to a charity shop.  I know what to do in future.

But with respect to the tea towel, don’t you love the drawings.  The cat is replicated in many of Josie’s design but my favourites have to be the Hedgehog, Quail and Vulture; I think maybe I need to commission some plates with those animals on them, something unique.

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