That’s what I want from my local haberdashery. Everything on my list, plus things I didn’t know I needed but had to buy immediately, gossip galore, and to be told with good authority that one of my purchases signified the end of the recession.
No-one who enters Bonds of Farsley ever comes away the same. It’s an assault on the eyesight, but in a good way, as if all the colours in the world have come together, had a meeting about how they could mix better, clashed, then done their own thing before coming back and doing it all over again.
Never in my life have I seen so many bobbins, buttons, netting, needles, ribbons and ric-rac braid. And there’s two floors and a landing of it, every square inch of space (there’s none of those new-fangled centimetres here) is taken up with stock, piled high and spilling over, little treasures everywhere.
But the best treasure of all isn’t the shop itself, with its higgledy piggledy floors, walls and stairs, it’s the staff. Warm and welcoming, interesting and interested and what they don’t know about local life isn’t worth a button. Every time I’ve been, and I have lost count, though my over-full sewing basket is a bit of a clue, I’ve been warmly welcomed, and treated to tall tales and good-natured gossip. On my first visit to buy a length of wide red ribbon, I was told of a man who’d bought a whole batch of the stuff to tie a bow around the car he’d bought for his wife, I couldn’t help wondering what she’d done with it afterwards and if there was any chance I could have it, but the moment had passed.
This time I was on a mission, I wanted to test out my new camera on the riot of colour, shapes and textures… and hear the latest gossip of course. Linda, who’s been in the business set up by her mum and dad in 1964 for more than 40 years, was very happy to oblige. There’s a stream of photographers and students drawn to Farsley, they are never disappointed, and as with everyone who comes through the door is welcomed.
We got talking. She asked if I was doing a degree like the many photography students who visited regularly. No, I said, just someone with rather too much time on my hands in these times of joblessness, and wanting to keep my spirits up by doing something creative. I then went on to make my purchase, three zips (one is never enough), a yard and a bit of interfacing and a few feet of petersham, a stiff ribbon used in waistbands.
Linda smiled as she measured out the ribbon and informed me that the recession was on its way out. I asked how she knew that, she replied it was simple.
“When people start buying petersham again, like you are, they are sewing again and that meant the economy was on the mend.”
I guess that having seen a fair number of recessions over the years, she knows what she’s talking about. In the meantime, she said, if the whole lack of work thing was getting me down, I was welcome to just go down there and hang out, which is an offer I’d be daft to refuse!
My photos are on Flickr