One of the things I love about my corner of London’s East End is the local high street, 30 seconds from my front door. Visiting the row of independent shops is like stepping back in time – the Brothers Fish Bar, the hardware and decorators Colvins, the Eel and Mash place, the covered market selling old vinyl records and second hand furniture… And then there’s the cobblers:
The shop’s been here for 100 years; Johnny’s worked here for 30. I nearly fainted when I saw the machine he was using:
‘That’s not a sewing machine, is it?’ I spluttered.
‘Oh yes, it is,’ Johnny told me proudly. This is one of the big boys. It does the stuff other sewing machines tremble in the face of. It’s industrial.
The photo of Johnny and I was taken by another customer, sporting a beard stained yellow from cigarettes. I’m sporting one of my most successful knits ever, completed two years ago and going strong. It’s a pattern called Surface by Norah Gaughan. I worked it in Rowan Pure Wool DK, which suits the make perfectly. This cardigan often comes out when I’m at home and the weather has turned a bit chilly.
My two new friends were utter delights – real gentlemen.
‘I’m 66 and my new girlfriend is 39,’ the customer told me proudly. He raised his hands in the air and beamed. ‘Women are wonderful!’
I couldn’t disagree.