The (Country) Squire’s Tale


Shortly after Mike and I got married, his mom started getting me pieces of pottery with subtle watercolour sunflower pattern in the glaze. I thought she got them from a friend of hers, but in the time since, she said that she bought them at a gift shop. And again, I understood that she had a friend who had converted carriage house/barn into a local maker’s shop. But again, apparently I make things up, and that was not the case at all.

Anyway, I have several pieces of this pottery – a gravy boat and saucer, a chip-and-dip platter, a large round casserole, a mortar and pestle, a garlic keeper, an unglazed warming thinger that you put in the oven to heat up and then put in the bottom of a bread basket, and a slightly-larger-than-soup-can sized pot with a lid to hold a can into which you can drain grease out of pans.

But alas, the collection has stopped growing. And truth be told, I don’t use the grease holder, because we don’t have canned soup in my house very often. I need to find a way to repurpose it for something else. But I digress…

The one clue on the bottom of the pieces is the maker’s signature, “Country Squire”. Searches on the Googleverse toss up many things, but none of them have provided a lead to more of my beloved pottery pattern. In the meanwhile. I’ve gone to the Waterloo Potters Workshop sales in the spring and fall with friends. And beyond the excellent day out with my girlfriends, I have many lovely ceramic Christmas ornaments, and dip spreaders, and even a few things that kindasorta match the colour of the sunflower pottery. But it’s not the sunflower pottery.

Sunflower pottery (or sunflower anything, really) has an unfortunate way of turning into country cutiepie painting most of the time. For the love of all that is holy, I don’t want kitchy farmers in patchwork overalls with smiling cows wearing Minnie Pearl straw hats. No. So I resigned the fact that there would be no more Country Squire sunflower pieces for me. Alas.

Last week, though, Mike and I stopped at the Stratford Antique Warehouse. Mike likes wandering through antique markets. He looks at woodworking tools and planes, and trunks and tool boxes. I look to see if any of my grandmother’s china pattern is there (it never is), or any of my other grandmother’s teacups are there (they sometimes are).

You see where I’m going with this, right?

There were 2 vendors with the Country Squire sunflower pattern. I know it’s stressful for Mike to not be doing his Christmas shopping if it’s not Christmas Eve, but oh happy day, I have a round covered casserole dish, 4 nested mixing/serving bowls, and a shallow soup bowl waiting to be wrapped. Thank you Santa! I left behind a few pieces that I either already have or don’t see myself using (like GIANT salt and pepper shakers that are seriously bigger than a cappuccino cup. Ain’t nobody need that much salt and pre-ground pepper in their lives).

Of course, now that I know where they are, if I start pining for them (which may be unavoidable), I could go back. Because, you know, the Squire’s Tale was never actually complete.*

*wordnerd alert.  Bonus points to you, peeps, if you get the reference. OK, it’s Chaucer. This is twice in a few weeks that I’ve been able to take my Baccalaureate out for a spin, so I’m totally doing it.

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