I've never bought a dinner set ... but our old china girls have stories to tell.
First, a ramble from long ago, when three of us cooked dinner for (then) Australia's wealthiest woman, Janet Holmes a'Court.
There we were, in my friend's Hobart kitchen ... it's at this point, delicious reader, that I disclose I have failed to remember what we cooked.
It was late summer, the Hobart sky was pink.
My friend had popped upstairs to ready herself as hostess. Two of us were cleaning the kitchen for prep.
We were not ready to 'receive' our guests - ie. Still in aprons, no makeup or frock up ... just a pair of ninnies at the sink sharing pre-Janet nerves.
There was a bang of brass knocker against heavy oak front door. Merde!
I should disclose delicious ones, that I was at my friend Maree's home - you might remember, Maree is Joanna Lumley elegant to my Jennifer Saunders uncensored.
Sandra, another friend (like another British comedian Jenny Eclaire but with a Cornish accent) was washing and I was drying.
She nudged me to answer the front door.
Merde! There Janet stood - taller than I expected, more casual than I expected, with a giant bunch of flowers which were thrust in my direction.
"Thank you for having us Maree,'' she said.
I apologised for not being Maree and muttered something about just being her friend, Danielle.
That chance moment set the scene for one of the most perfect evenings.
And, yes, I still don't remember what we ate.
I can remember drinking sparkling Alexandra wine at the water's edge.
I can also remember boasting about Tasmania's pink blush, late summer clarity of light and wisp of cloud.
Upstairs the table was set - I think we numbered 14 - including our kids.
Only a discerning eye would have noticed 'the napkins'.
A shortage of napkins saw us make use of blue hospital surgical napkins (beautiful cotton). Don't ask. (Well, okay ... apparently, they were discarded, unused and our wily host thought they might come in handy.)
They did (come in handy) and guess what, it didn't matter.
That evening was perfect.
Which brings me to my dinner sets and perfect imperfections.
When I was 18, mum gave me the prettiest pink Royal Doulton dinner set 'Flirtation'.
Aged 20, my parents gave us a '70's-inspired Royal Doulton setting 'Morning Star' .
When I married for the second time, 1993, the journalists in this newsroom pooled together and we were gifted a very exotic, Portuguese blue, orange and yellow, chicken design dinner set with mugs and a water jug.
Two of our group, Bernadette and Ellen, had returned from Portugal and with our mates Clea and Christine, the gift was chosen with love and inspired by Portugal.
Those three dinner sets, like those naughty napkins, have stories to tell.
They have been matched and mismatched and stretched to serve up to 30 people, in days when dinners started small and often stretched out onto the terrace and when we knew, like the napkins, that matching china didn't matter.
In those times, tables were pushed together - an old round table from our hippy days, our large tenth wedding anniversary table, and, if we were desperate, a legacy table from previous home owners, which weighed a ton and was dragged from the side verandah when numbers hit more than 20.
None of our tables or chairs matched.
Like that Hobart evening, those mismatched evenings were sublime.
Last month, with our gifted porcelain patterns fading, we bought ourselves a dinner set.
It took us weeks to choose.
It is simple, creamiest of white and random shaped - a setting for eight.
The old girls have been stacked safely away.
There's something quite renewing and promise-filled about these creamy, dreamy, matching plates and bowls.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.