Somehow December just flew past and January appears to be following suit as sales on the website grow. Most days now entail a trip to the post office with packages of linens and things destined for far flung places and some nearer to home.
I did manage a day off in late December to accompany New Zealand friends on a visit to Hampton Court Palace. It is years since I had been and I had forgotten quite how fascinating a place it is. In addition to Henry VIII's quarters there are also the Georgian apartments to explore.
Of course, wherever I go, linen seems to follow me around and as I entered George I's dining room I was amazed to see the most intriguing display of folded napkins.
Yes, that really is a turkey made from linen napkins! Apparently such displays were quite "the thing" in the mid 1600s and1700s with the German town of Nuremburg even boasting a school entirely devoted to teaching the art. So when the Hanoverians arrived in England they brought with them this new way of impressing their dinner guests!
The intricacy of the pieces on display in Hampton Court was most impressive! Quite origami-like, the various pieces on display represented various vegetables and game in an incredibly lifelike fashion.
Artichokes, a plate of asparagus spears, a cob of corn and even a hare in pride of place to the centre of the table.
We should remember that at that time the grand banquet was a lavish affair, not only intended to feed the diners, but also to ensure that they were fully aware of their host's wealth and status. By creating these amazing displays, the guests would have been left in no doubt as to the grandeur of the occasion.
So I am feeling the pressure to make my napkins look a bit more special on the dining table, but then wonderful Irish Linen damask designs are so impressive in their own right.......I don't think they really call for any extra pizzazz!