I had not had any particular interest in china until one day a friend phoned me and asked if I would like to come with her to a lecture on china that evening. "China?" said I, thinking it was a travel talk.... "No" she said "Not China, but china..." Oh, china! I decided to go, and as the lecturer had invited people to bring anything they wanted identified I took a fruit stand (I did not then know it was called a comport) that my mother had passed on to me.

The lecture was very interesting and the lecturer had a look at my comport but said little except that it was English, bone china, hand painted and old. But later as I got into my car he came over and said confidentially "I would look after that if I were you - it could be very valuable." Well, I did not need any more encouragement - from that evening on I haunted antique shops and the library, looking and learning as much as I could.

I discovered that this comport (which was part of a large set belonging to my great grandmother) was made by the famous Minton factory in about 1847. This made it possibly a wedding present of my great grandparents, who were married in 1852.

Of course the more I learnt the more interested I became and I started buying all sorts of pieces that appealed to me. I am sure that every collector goes through these stages - enthusiasm that makes one buy everything in sight, then a pruning as tastes develop and one becomes more discriminating. It becomes necessary to specialise in some way, to keep the collection manageable.

I discovered Spode quite early on and was lucky to be able to buy several pieces. Now, although Spode is my first love, I have some Worcester and Derby too, and the original Minton that started my interest!