Many years ago, I tied the first millstone around my neck.
At the time it felt wonderful, and it made perfect sense, or I wouldn’t have done it. I am speaking, of course, about the dreaded Mortgage. At the age of 25, I took on my first. It was in a gentler time, when owning property was less sink-or-swim, mortgages were more affordable, and buying a home was a matter of celebration, not desperation. I happily ate mashed potato and baked beans for a year to make the payments till a better paying job came along. One of my sisters gave me a wonderful house-warming present, a canteen of cutlery (flatware). It was thoughtful, and very generous. The knives, forks and spoons were beautiful, Sheffield stainless steel and in the elegant traditional pattern called ‘rattail’, which dates back to the late 17th century.
30 years later, I’m still using them daily. Over the years, two of the dessert spoons and two of the tea spoons have gone astray, which has distressed me considerably. I finally did something about it. Arthur Price & Co were the original manufacturers, but I was deterred and discouraged to find they do not have stockists in this country, nor were they very interested in sending me just 4 replacement spoons by mail. So eventually, I went to The Famous Sheffield Shop, and found they had the same pattern, would mail to Australia (“yes, of course, ma’am, we’d be delighted”), and would individually make the 4 spoons I needed for a very reasonable price.
They were mailed on 22nd July and arrived, beautifully and carefully wrapped. today, 3rd August. That’s only 12 days – faster even than most airmail letters!
And the spoons are beautiful. There are tiny differences in shape between these and the Arthur Price originals, but only if you’re looking for it. They’re glitteringly, immaculately perfect, and make my 30 year old spoons look satiny and patinated. I’d better start using them so they can start to develop some patina of their own!
I’m a great believer in celebrating excellent service, hence the endorsement. They were customer-focused, helpful, efficient, pleasant and speedy. And they also sell a treasure trove of all sorts of other lovely stuff, from moustache scissors to cufflinks, to sharpening steels to quaichs.
I am currently drooling over a pocket knife with turquoise inlay in the handle….
A spoonful of kindness* is hard to beat, whether it’s the generous and thoughtful gift of a sister, or the helpful and efficient service of a big company dealing with a tiny order from very far away.
I have received kindness in spoonfuls, and it would be good to find a chance to pay it forward.
*“Brighten someone’s day by adding a spoonful of kindness”
Tom Baker, the 4th Dr Who – 1974-1981