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Little jobs

Repairing things, not throwing them away and buying new, is still pretty normal in Spain. When the handle on my axe broke and none of the standard sized replacement ones in the ironmongers would fit the shopkeeper arranged for a chap to shape an appropriate new handle. After the nose-piece dropped off my 35 year old sunspecs the local optician soldered or brazed on, or whatever it is they do, a new one as I waited.

Of course the crisis, the financial ructions of the past few years, has a lot to do with it. Cobblers are doing brisk trade once again and the little workshops that alter and repair clothes have been given a new lease of life. I suppose a new and less artisan manifestation of the poverty is the huge number of "We Buy Gold" shops or the burgeoning number of pawn shops all over the city.

Anyway the increased visibility of the places that repair and alter clothes made me think that it may be worth having the ripped lining and shredded pockets of my leather jacket repaired. I took the jacket to a repair place. They said they could do it all right but the price was a bit of a shock - 60€ - and even worse I would have to supply the lining material. I'd just presumed that the repairer would supply the cloth but, apparently not. Sewing is their job, not selling cloth. Demarcation 70s style. They told me where to get the lining material though.

There were stacks of people in the cloth shop. One woman was buying 20 metres of pink fleecy cloth. Apparently she was doing the herd of pigs for the school Christmas show. Non Iberian pigs I presume; they're black.

I bought the lining and asked if the cloth shop could do the repair, fishing for a cheaper quote. The assistant looked puzzled - "We sell cloth," she said, "we're not a tailor though we know someone who is."

María Jesús, the recommended seamstress, asked me why I'd bought so much lining cloth. Surely I wasn't going to replace the whole lining? What a waste of time and money. Much better to just chop this bit out there and replace this bit here. "Good strong pockets," she said," I know what you men are like." Price 15€.

Now we're talking. And this metal bucket? Well with a new handle, a bit of patching at the bottom and just a tad of solder along this side seam it'll be as good as new in no time.


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