There’s a gem of a TV program shown by the BBC here in the UK called ‘The Repair Shop.’ A fascinating insight into some of the UK’s finest restorers of all things old.
Heirlooms For Mending
For those who have never seen it, the format follows a member of the public bringing an heirloom that is usually damaged and beyond repair. It might be a clock, a piece of jewellery or even an old chair. Whatever the item, there will be a story attached, sometimes sad, sometimes happy. “It was me Grandad’s top set of Sunday best teeth! I kept em’ under the sink but they fell out and broke. It would make me so happy if you could fix em, please.” Ok, it’s not quite that level, but you see what I’m getting at.
Quality & Tears
The quality of the workmanship is a joy to watch. My favourite is Will the Carpenter. A young guy who repairs tables and chairs that were destined for the bonfire. Then there is Steve, a former firefighter who can mend a clock that hasn’t worked for over 40 years. Watching these people perform their magic is truly astounding. Of course, the customer has to come back and collect the restored item. The tears that follow is no one’s business. When they reveal what was nothing more than a heap of junk now standing before them as new as the day it was purchased is unbelievable. Quite often, there’s a sharp intake of breath, followed by “Oh my giddy Aunt” then silence, then tears.
Calling Egg Man
Occasionally, they have to call upon the services of a specialist that’s not represented in the usual mix of restorers. Hence, the egg man. We saw a sorry chap who turned up at the repair shop with an old wooden cigarette holder that had an Ostrich egg as a cover. The item had been dropped and the fragile shell smashed into a million pieces. It looked the end of the line for this piece of family history. However, as with all things in the repair shop, there was a happy ending, thanks to egg man.
Another Happy Customer
Apparently, egg man is a master at what he does. What puzzles me is how does someone make a living at mending broken eggs? He wasn’t a young guy so he must have made a career from it. Can you imagine the conversations at a party? “Hi, George and what do you do for a living?” “Oh, I mend broken eggs!” Mind you, looking at how badly damaged this particular egg was, apart from having the patience of a Saint, it must have taken a couple of years to just place the pieces back together. Of course, when the customer returned, (looking a lot older than when he first brought the egg in) he was over the moon with the result. “Cracking job”, he said and after lots of handshaking he left with his heirloom looking as good as new.
Here’s an official clip from the series The Repair Shop
There’s a Wikipedia page about the repair shop here.