Our New Year’s dinner party was so nice that I thought I’d show you a few photos of the table setting.
We have a rather grand dining room here at Hilltop House, but unfortunately it isn’t in use very often. So, when there is an appropriate occasion, it's nice to lay the table with damask, crystal, silver and all the trimmings.
My theme for this table was hope for a happy new year, and in Norway we say that the colour of hope is light green. The fact that light green is one of my favourite colours as well also plays a part. I think that New Year's Eve is not only a time for looking ahead, but also for reflecting over the past, so the table is laid with memories.
First, I covered the table with a large white damask cloth and then a smaller green one across the middle. I have had these tablecloths for many years. I bought them in Prague at the Christmas of 1989. Those of you who are old enough will remember that this was an incredibly exciting time. I'll never forget the intoxicating sense of freedom that swept across Europe that Christmas. To travel to the capital of the Velvet Revolution when it was actually happening, is probably one of the smartest things I've done in my life.
On top of the damask, I have put a white translucent table runner with thin golden threads. That also decorated our wedding table when we got married, and is obviously a very good memory. :-)
The light green celadon plates were brought painstakingly back from Thailand. I had such trouble bringing them with me on a crowded airplane, where I was almost the last one aboard. There was obviously no space left in the overhead compartments, and I argued with the flight attendants who wanted me to send the plates as checked baggage. There was no way I was going to have my nice plates broken, when I had spent half my holiday budget on them, so I ended up sitting with the box on my lap the entire flight from Bangkok to Copenhagen where we transferred to Oslo.
I got the Czech crystal for my 30th birthday, when all my friends had chipped in to buy these lovely glasses for me. The cutlery is called Admiral from Hardanger Cutlery and the set includes gifts from friends and family who keep supplementing me with serving spoons, which suits me very well.
The jade grapes are a souvenir from Hong Kong. I bought them in 2001, when I celebrated Chinese New Year there. It was quite an experience, especially when we realized that the Chinese not only invented gunpowder, but knew how to use it too. I have never before or since seen the likes of those fireworks that they launched from barges in the harbour.
The silver napkin rings are Hubby’s contribution. They were apparently a flea market bargain. The linen napkins are probably the only new things on the table.
It is not a proper party table without flowers, I feel. In the middle of the bouquet is a small light green Christmas tree bauble that I inherited from my grandmother.
The flower vase is also celadon from Thailand. I inherited that from a friend who sadly departed life too all too soon. I'm so glad I got this vase from her family, for she was my travelling companion on that trip to the Orient, and I remember all the fun we had together.
The dinner plates are heavy and rather unpractical, because I dare not put them in the dishwasher, but they are so lovely that they must be used anyway. I really like the cracked glaze that characterises celadon.
The salt pots are also celadon. They are a gift from a friend who had taken them home from Bali. One of them originally had a lid, which I unfortunately managed to break because it fell to the floor as I unpacked the gift. That made me decide never to have hard tiles on the kitchen floor again. I broke so much stuff during the years I lived in a house with terracotta floors. If you have wood or vinyl flooring, a cup or a glass can actually survive being dropped on the floor, but drop it on a tiled floor and it’s had it.
The candlestickholders were given to me by my father many years ago. They’re only silver plated, but they still have a nice lustre. Around them, I wrapped garlands of white roses. (Yet another memory from our wedding table.) When I see the picture now, I think that maybe it was a bit over the top, but what the heck.
A New Year's table must also have some guardian angels. If they are going to look after us in the coming year, the least we can do is let them join in the celebration, right?