Time for another Herbie Award for 2007. Best shop near the canal, i.e. within a couple of minutes stroll. What makes an award winner here? Well, chain stores won't win it that's for sure. I'm looking for shops with a bit of character, with great personal service, and that you can't find just anywhere. Shops that sell the things others don't bother with. The contenders for this year are:
1. The lockside shop at Denham Deep Lock on the GU. Hidden at the back of the lock cottage where you can not only get an ice cream, but also lovely home made jams and chutneys.
2. Tradline Fenders at Braunston. They sell every kind of rope, shackle, cleat, pulley etc etc you can think of. They'll splice eyes on ropes while you wait and dispense all kinds of advice. We got good service and a bargain set of centre ropes. I feare thoug that they are not fully eligible because we went there by car, not on Herbie.
3. The ironmongers (I've forgotten their name) in Fenny Stratford. Not only have they got everything you can think of in ther hardware line, but they are really helpful and jolly with it. "Mops, have I got mops? I've got more mops than you can shake a stick at. What do you want 12oz head or 8oz head? Shall I fit a handle on for you? . . . " Screws, nuts bolts, taps, dies, the lot, and all come singly, no having to buy pre-packs. If you want one 6mm stainless screw, you can have one - for a few pence.
4. Uxbridge Boat Services -chandlery - because you can moor outside and they seem to have three sorts of everything
5. Camden market - hundreds of shops really, but all individual, amazing stuff, and very friendly. You can moor up 50 yards away.
And the winner is . . . .roll of drums . . . .
The ironmongers. An old fashioned shop with good old fashioned service. Not many of 'em left!
When I can remember their name, I'll post it here.