A rattail teaspoon
It is Mrs Pudding's birthday this week. I had a brilliant idea to buy her a voucher for the massage of her choice. However, when I asked if there was anything she wanted for her birthday she told me she would like some new teaspoons.
Several years ago and at some expense we bought a full set of Sheffield-made cutlery in the famous rattail design. Only three of the original eight teaspoons have survived. Who knows what happened to the other five - probably accidentally tossed into the kitchen waste bin or taken out of the house in lunchboxes - never to return.
Anyway, over in the Hillsborough suburb of the city there's a business called The Sheffield Cutlery Shop. They have a website - see here. This morning I phoned them. Though they normally sell their goods through online orders, the respondent at the other end checked his spoon stock and said that they did have six rattail spoons in and I could come over to buy them directly.
As I drove over there in Clint, my luxury South Korean automobile, I expected to soon be standing at a shop counter, whipping my bank card out and simply paying for the six spoons. But it wasn't like that.
First of all, there was no actual shop. It was a workplace dedicated to cutlery with machines, lathes, boxes, polishing instruments and different types of cutlery at different stages of preparation all over the place. The owner was a man of around fifty called Lee. His father and grandfather had owned the business before him.
Lee made a very positive impression upon me. He was infectiously passionate about cutlery and very much a hands-on boss. In half an hour I learnt so much more about making and finishing cutlery as Lee whizzed me around the premises randomly pointing things out including packages containing knives and boxes of cutlery that were about to be dispatched around the world.
He told me that he has recently taken an order to make six thousand serrated table knives to be sent to Irish embassies and consulates around the globe. He also showed me an antler bone handled carving set to be sent to a customer in Minneapolis. Wistfully, I told him that I had been there and thought of it as a beautiful city with its lakes and spacious suburbs. Maybe George Floyd saw it differently.
You might say that the work environment was chaotic but everything had its place. In one room, Lee showed me boxes of antlers - some from Scotland, some from the Woburn Abbey estate in Bedfordshire and some from Scandinavia. I wished I had taken my camera but the last thing I was expecting was a guided tour. It was utterly fascinating and I would have happily spent the rest of the day there.
One of the rattail spoons had not been "stamped" so Lee did it there and then using an amazing laser machine. I reminded him that I needed to pay for the teaspoons and he said I could do it online when I got home. He didn't even know my name but he trusted me to do the honest thing which of course I did this very afternoon.
Oh and shhhh! Please don't tell Shirley that I have bought her spoons as requested. Being the perfect husband can be quite demanding I find.
Inside R&R Polishing Ltd premises at Jericho Works, Malin Bridge.
This was the only picture of the place I could find online.