Does anyone else have a house full of “The Good Stuff” aka random household items that are taken out for special occasions or when visitors come to call?
I think it’s probably a particularly Irish custom that originally sprung from our need to impress people like the parish priest or the local doctor once upon a time.
For example – the good towels. I had a set of pink Tommy Hilfiger “good towels” that only got put in the bathroom when visitors came to stay. Everyone in the family was warned not to wash and dry their mucky paws with the good towels – they were only for guests.
I learnt the hard way when I put them out one weekend when the Eldest’s friend was visiting from college. He puked on Tommy after too many pints and broke my hand rail to boot. I now only take the good towels out when responsible visitors stay.
I also have the “good soap and shower gel” this is expensively fragranced and to be used sparingly and again only comes out for the guests. The rest of the time we make do with whatever shower gel is on special in the supermarket.
My son queried why I didn’t just leave “the good stuff” in the bathroom. I explained that one time I was at a party in my husband’s aunty’s house. I was hugely impressed that she had Jo Malone hand soap in her downstairs loo and kept going in to wash my hands because it smelled so nice. It was only the next day she admitted she had borrowed the soap from her neighbour for the party and had been sweating buckets all night that I would use it all!
Then there’s “The good sheets” and duvet sets that only get put on the beds at Christmas or for state occasions. There’s also the good wine glasses, the good crockery and tableware all of which come out at Christmas and then get packed up and put to the back of the cupboard until the following year.
Last week I decided to throw caution to the wind and use the good glasses for Wednesday night wine which is usually a bottle from Aldi, that is perfectly drinkable but cheap nonetheless. I can tell you one thing, that €8 bottle of rose never tasted so good as it did out of my “good” Waterford Crystal goblets.
And I vowed – no more good stuff. Everything that I have been saving for special occasions is going to be taken out and used on a regular basis.
We’ll be eating chips off china, drinking water from Waterford and sleeping on 300 thread count sheets. After a week I can guarantee the Irish in me will rise to the surface and I’ll panic that my “good stuff” is not good anymore. It will all be packed away again and order will be restored.
You can’t really teach an old dog new tricks.