Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Report from Honiton

It's market day, traders lined up along the high street with their goods--fresh fish, printer cartridges, homemade scotch eggs, rolling papers, mismatched dishes, greeting cards, secondhand furniture, vegetables, vintage electronica (Teasmades, etc.), clothes, dog beds. I buy a battered willow basket (£7.50), and a laminate tray with a 'Beautiful British Columbia' map on it (£1). This town has about a baker's dozen each of charity shops and antique merchants, and a few shops occupying the grey zone in between the two ('Gerry's Tat and Treasure', removals and recycling services). I spot two shoe repair shops (including the one run by Norman Sparks, suggested by his customers early on in the project). The old pottery is now a milkshake bar/paint-a-pot craft workshop. The antique toy shop is closed until further notice. The clock and watch repair shop on the corner of Silver and High seems to have recently closed as well. But on the whole the town is hopping, with an overwhelming sense of a place that knows how to take care of itself. I get the sense that not much is thrown away.

After a wander up and down both sides of the high street I stop in to the Honiton Clock Clinic. A sign on the locked door directs me to ring the bell for the workshops, so I do. I'm greeted by a friendly man who says that his brother, the owner, is away on holiday at the moment but he doesn't think it will be a problem at all for them to participate in the project. He takes me back into the workshops for a look round--tiny room after room of clocks, finished clocks and broken clocks, pieces and parts clocks, all snaking back into the rear of the building and other buildings beyond. He says he's been repairing clocks for 16 years, and the business employs four people full-time. I leave my self-winding watch with him for a new pin and strap and promise to be back soon with the camera and Steve.

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