Henceforth, UK and European orders of Making Things Work will be handled by Classic Hand Tools. But I will be a little sad not to be handling those orders personally.
‘Til now, those orders, along with others from Canada and the southern hemisphere (I am looking at you, Megan, and you, Chris), have been shipped by yours truly via the Stanford Post Office. The Wikipedia entry for Stanford doesn’t even bother to give a population figure, though the place has had a Post Office since the 1830s, which is to say, damn near as long as Indiana has been a state. Ray, the clerk, has been very good-natured about the unbelievably time-consuming customs stuff (which makes abundantly clear to me why some other publishers choose not to deal with international orders).
Still, the first order from England came from someone with a name so impossibly British that I had to wonder whether it was made up: “St.John Starkie.”
Always glad to indulge eccentricity, I sent “Mr. Starkie” (nudge nudge, wink wink) a brief note informing him that postage to the UK would require an additional payment. You have to understand that when I read “Starkie” my mind ran immediately to “starkers,” a British euphemism for “naked.” But hey, if an editor at the World Book Encyclopedia circa 1969 was willing to address me as “Norman Stanley Hippietoe,” who was I to question this book buyer’s name?
Come to find (as many folks in south-central Indiana would say) that St.John Starkie (pronounced “sinjin,” not “Saint John”) is this man’s real name. And he is quite a character. Today I got one of the most delightful missives I have ever received from a reader. You can read it below. (Don’t worry; I got express permission to share it.)
All of which is to say that if you thought my accounts of the English cold were exaggerated…well, NOT. As I replied to St.John at lunchtime today, I omitted my take on that unique Fenland weather phenom that is the headwind. Regardless of which direction you’re pedaling on your bicycle, it will bedevil you. (I imagined that most American readers would think I was, to use a good British saying, “having them on,” had I included this in my account. So I’m grateful to St.John for saving this particular day.)
You can follow St.John on Instagram at the_quiet_workshop (the quiet being a stark [ouch! don’t do that!] contrast to the daily reality of my workshop) and also via his blog: https://thequietworkshop.wordpress.com/.