Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Fullwells (Bikes and Cars)

Fullwells is great because in my experience it has all the things we want for our bikes and cars, and lots of handy things you discover you want once someone tells you they exist. And the friendly blokes who run it are always ready to offer their knowledge and experience to help you get the machine back on the road.

So you go in there for a bike puncture repair outfit, having run out of patches, complaining about yet another flat tyre from broken glass in the road. "The answer" says the chap behind the counter, "is this wonderful French inner tube, filled with green slime. Get a puncture, and usually it seals itself". He was right about that, and right too about Continental tyres from Germany with a puncture-resistant band under the tread. I wouldn't recommend riding over broken glass if you can avoid it, but these tyres do what it says on the tin.

Walk in there with a broken thingy off the car, of unknown function but the car won't go without it. "Ah" says Fullwell-man, "a busted docklegrunger. £7.34 including VAT – make sure you oil it before you try to do up the retaining screw and it'll be right as rain". He also provides me with a spanner that actually fits the new nut, whereas I had to mash off the old one with a Mole wrench.

The place is a wonderland of bike bits, car bits, tools, consumables, accessories and complete machines. And if you manage to ask for something they haven't got, they'll order it for you, and phone to tell you as soon as it comes in. And it's open on Sunday morning, just when you realise the wiper blade needs replacing, or you've run out of windscreen-washer solvent, or you want a decent footpump. What's more, they never treat you as an idiot when you go in there with a dopey expression and a plaintive "Help".

Douglass MacDonald

Sunday, 11 September 2011

PG Creed (Hardware)

I don’t know why I bother to go to B&Q. My shed needed repairs and I had already, foolishly, purchased two packs of two shed door hinges on a whim whilst browsing through Wilkinsons in Ilford. The thing is I only needed 3 hinges so now I’ve got one spare. But back to B&Q. I already had enough roofing felt on a part used roll so all I needed was a generous handful of ½" clouts. I also wanted a plain brass escutchion, as the missus had stripped the front door, stained and varnished it. So, the ½" clouts come in a 2 Kilo bag and the escutchions come in pairs. Grrrr! I left empty handed and then remembered PG Creed. It’s not far from Newbury Park and it cost me 60p to park outside The Joker Public House, but it was worth it. Who says Pay & Display puts shoppers off.

It is a veritable Alladin’s Cave for the enthusiastic handyman. It probably hasn’t changed much in 50 years or more. Just like my first experience of a hardware shop in Seven Sisters Road back in the 1960s. Behind the counter is a wall of drawers containing everything you are ever likely to need or want and the service is brill – they know their stuff. Out came a generous handfull of clouts which were weighed and priced. Then a drawer full of escutchions – I’ll have that one I said. I noticed that they sell hinges in whatever quantity you want. I had a wander round and bought some more stuff. I know where I will be going next time out.

Where are they? They are in Cameron Road opposite Seven Kings railway station. Long may they stay.