A fine hand with the delft

Sunday Blog 51 – 22nd August 2022

The sound of my darling husband emptying the dishwasher always puts me in mind of this description. The bashes and crashes of the mugs being returned to their spots, the plates slid into the drawer all summon up visions of chipping. (I know, just shut up already, he’s emptying the bloody dishwasher!)

But hear me out. When we married nearly 14 years ago I was gifted a set of six wine glasses and a matching water jug from my workplace at the time, and within six months every single one of the glasses had been broken. To be fair, the set had been bought by the Executive Assistant who barely knew me, but still.

I first heard this description of someone’s dishwashing abilities in 1979, when my eldest sister spent some time in Ireland living with our Irish grandfather’s relatives.

I have been watching my social feed awash with images and stories of Ireland as a friend of mine has been touring there this Summer. I’ve been reminiscing.

Back in 1979 my sister was staying at the ancestral farm with our second and third cousins twice removed or something – I can never keep track of these things. She was 22 and single at the time, and our relatives were casting around for potential suitors for her in their small town. A diminutive 50-year-old man with not much in the way of beauty or charm was suggested by one of them. It took some creative embellishment to dream up a selling point for such a bizarre (and ewww) pairing. But with some confidence, my sister was advised that “he has a fine hand with the delft.” She was not convinced, and it was not to be.

As a young person, this anecdote to me was just screamingly funny. But over time, (and my match-making relative was mature and so presumably had some life perspective), a find hand with the delft seems to be something not to be so quickly overlooked.

But on reflection, I didn’t like those wine glasses that much, whereas the husband, who perhaps does not have a fine hand with the delft, is a keeper.

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