Sunday, 17 February 2013

Spoons for sale.....

With it being half term holidays I would usually have hoped to get a little carving or making in (I have a few projects in mind that have been on the back-boiler, waiting for holidays). However, this past week I have been lucky enough to be at Euro-Disney with my wife and two of my kids (a fairly surreal journey into consumerism, that I don't think I would ever wish to repeat, but that I found oddly enjoyable - though mostly due to the examples of old-world arts and crafts that make it an 'authentic' experience) and so haven't managed any.

Really nice benches in arcades of Main Street USA Disney Paris

On our way home, we stayed over in Hastings for the wedding oF Ruth's cousin, and so had a short hour in Rye, a town I have never been to before, and also Old-Town Hastings - both of which I loved and can't wait to go back to for a proper look around. We stopped on a whim in Rye, simply because of the beauty of the old warehouse type harbour buildings which have been turned into antique shops, which I'm sad to say in the end we didn't have time to look around. We did walk along the high street, however, and found a shop that sells military collectables and painted metal soldiers called Soldiers Of Rye.

I stood my little boy on the window sill so that he could see into the window better, when I noticed the chap (proprieter Chris Viner) inside making his way out to us, I guessed in order to tell me to take Jude down. I was thrilled to be wrong, and the man invited us into his magical little shop where he made such a fuss of Jude, told him lots of stories about the characters he had painted, let him hold a cavalery sword, a 1914 Lee Enfiled rifle and told him that he had three eyes - two to see with and one for his imagination. Jude was rivetted at the way this kind man brought history to life. What a lovely, genuine man - if you're into collecting militaria or war gaming, you must go and see Chris. If you teach in a school near or around Rye, pay him to come into school as he will bring history to life for your students.

In Hastings I was thrilled to find a number of lovely shops, in one of which I found spoons for sale, so I bought one. It's a nice, simple serving spoon, but I must say, it's left me feeling a little ambivolous. I'm always happy to see hand carved spoons for sale, but these were so cheap (this particular one, the most expensive, was £3) they can only have bee imported from an eastern European country, or perhaps India or China, where they have been mass produced for peanuts - not really any better than a Wilkinsons wooden spoon. On the other hand, it's given someone in one of those countries gainful employment - on the other hand again, has my buying the spoon added to their servitude?

This looks like the cafe I always dreamed of owning - walls lined with books.

Spoons for sale

Not sure where it was made or what it's made from?

Suffice it to say, I bought the spoon and overall I liked the shop. I guess with the whole 'horse meat instead of beef' fiasco I can't help thinking that we don't really have a clue where what we buy comes from any more, nore the conditions under which they are produced.


  1. Hi

    I just came across these spoons at a local organic market in Adelaide Australia at a Moroccan stall… they are from Morocco and made from orange wood… the ones we bought were made by a 90 year old man!!

    cheers from Oz

    1. Hi Trevor, well spotted. I came across a website after writing my post that had an article about an elderly Moroccan gentleman who carved spoons from citrus wood and I thought they looked the same - thanks for confirming that for me. I still worry a little about the whole 'westerners exploiting third-world workers' question, but on the article I read it seemed like he made a good living, relatively speaking. Thanks agains

    2. Hi Richard
      do you still have the reference for that online article you found… would be interesting to read it
      cheers from a very hot Oz

  2. Hi Trevor, I have scoured the web and can no longer find the original web site I was looking at - it was linked from a site that was selling them and had a picture of an elderly man working in a wheel chair and his son who worked with him. I did find these web sites that might be of use:

    On a different note, my 16 year old just returned last week from three weeks in Brisbane and said how glorious the weather was out there. All the best

  3. Hi Richard

    thanks for the links, the pinewoodforge one was especially interesting seeing all of the variations that the Moroccans do for the spoons.

    Brisbane weather is meant to be good (they used to advertise it as "beautiful one day, better the next" but they do get a bit of flooding there and the humidity can get a bit much. Adelaide where I am can get very hot… up to 46°C on the rare occasion and at the moment we are in a heat spell of 6 days in a row over 30°C and they are expecting it to get to 12 in a row! A couple of years ago we had 5 (I think) days in a row over 40°C… so somewhat warm here at the moment :-)

    cheers and all the best