The story of a soap dish!

It must have been the result of watching too much daytime TV; Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt, Flog It and Cash in the Attic – I’ve seen them all! Now completely convinced that I could do better than the ‘TV experts’ and pockets stuffed with cash, I headed off to my first car boot sale…….it was never going to end well!

My fundamental error was that I bought what I liked and clearly not what anybody else liked! This included (what I still think is!) a rather nice Piquot Ware tea set. But as it is made from an uncoated aluminium alloy I would not actually want to use it, just in the same way you probably should not use uncoated aluminium cooking pans. I also bought (for no other reason than that they were very, very cheap!) two odd sized and coloured Murano glass candle sticks (or possibly vases….I never was sure)! A plant pot in what could very loosely be described as ‘Majolica style’ in the shape of a boat. My final ‘treasure’ was a small Royal Copenhagen dish commemorating the Sail Training Ship Danmark.

STS Danmark

Yet despite my most florid and lavish descriptions, lowered prices – even less than I paid for them and weeks on eBay, nothing sold with the exception of the hideous miss matched glass candle sticks! Clearly I am not destined to be an antiques expert and I will just have to find a use for these things! The plant pot should have been easy to deal with but it is just too small for a hyacinth and too big for the croci, the shiny aluminium tea set now brightens a dark corner in the kitchen and the Royal Copenhagen dish has become the front line in my crusade against plastic packaging! A soap dish for real bars of soap!

Real soap – no more plastic bottles!

The dish tells an interesting story and was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the STS Danmark in the 1970s. The ship was built on the island of Lolland at the Nakskovs Shipyard in 1932 by the Danish government to train officers for the merchant navy. It is still owned by the Danish government and until very recently officer cadets for all the major Danish shipping lines had to undertake a training voyage in her before they qualified. The ship is a 3 masted barque of approximately 200 feet in length, she displaces about 750 tonnes and has a crew of 80.

In 1939, at the outbreak of the second world war she was in New York at the World’s Fair to represent her country. She was ordered not to return to Denmark to avoid capture by the Germans and was then offered to the US Coastguard as a training ship and was then based in Connecticut for the duration. By the time she was returned to Denmark in 1946 over 5000 US Coastguard cadets had been trained on her. It was this last fact that convinced me that I would be able to eBay my dish for a small fortune to a nostalgic American with a happy memory of her!

Flying our N flag

Last August we sailed quite close to where she was built as we explored the Smaland Sea on our way to Nykobing F. The ‘F’ being very important here so as to distinguish it from the other Nykobing on Mors! Also, it was the bridge at Gulborg that links the islands of Lolland to Falster where we, for the first and only time, got to use our ‘N’ flag to signal that we wanted the bridge to open! Nerves of steel were required as the bridge keeper resolutely refused to open his bridge until he could almost touch our mast! By then, we were so ‘gung ho’ that there was no chance of us blinking first…..throttle open with Grace hurtling towards the bridge at 6 knots. That made him shift!

The bridge keeper blinked first!

I never learn! I’m going to my first auction next Thursday. I am bound to forget everything I learnt from the car boot sale!

Plastic packaging: When shopping in Waitrose, everything we bought was wrapped in plastic bags, sometimes double wrapped and even the loose stuff! How can that be right? Also plastic bags and bits can block your seawater engine cooling intake. Something I am a bit obsessed with! It is particularly troubling if you have a sail drive like Grace.

1 thought on “The story of a soap dish!”

  1. Thanks for the latest episode, suggest that you keep to the day job and leave the antiques to the “roadshow”! Nice soap dish though.Be sure to let us have your new address and an alternative email address as the Ibstock one will be past it’s sell by date. Love Jan & John.


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