The Hardware Shop In Harakopio


I’m very fond of hardware shops, though I’m old enough to say they mostly aren’t what they used to be – those ill-lit aisles of childhood with their mysterious bins containing every size of nut, screw, hinge and widget. The cocktail whiffs of twine, Jeyes Fluid, paraffin and polish, and a little man in a brown cotton coat behind a high, gloss painted counter, he the unassuming master of this multi-component repository.

The shop in Harakopio looked promising on the authenticity front, and I was only sorry not to have the chance of a good mooch inside. But still, it was good to capture its jolly exterior, and nice of some local to park their blue motorcycle outside.

40 thoughts on “The Hardware Shop In Harakopio

  1. Hi Tish, your writings on the Hardware shops of yore, was very well put, I too was very fortunate to have grown up during a time when there was “magic” in a hardware shop, much the same type your would find in an apothecary, druggist shop, where they had all sorts of surprises for you to find while meandering the aisles! Good memories of days long lost to the times we call progress, unfortunately the mega home and hardware stores of today do not hold the same magic, and never will. 😦

  2. There’s one in Ludlow that has a little bit of that atmosphere still. And a few shops on Corve street that are worth a browse around 🙂 But I do like your contrasting yellow and blue.

  3. We used to have a pretty decent hardware store, but it closed. I don’t there is is another anywhere in the valley. Maybe back in the Boston suburbs? I’m not sure enough people do their own work to need one and the lumber yard also has a hardware store. Maybe that’s doing double time.

    1. In the UK we mostly have to buy our hardware in ugly big retail sheds – B & Q etc. They make the heart sink to go there, but needs must – especially for shed-building man.

      1. Unfortunately, I’ve never been in France for Christmas, but I understand they’re wonderful as, I’m sure the German ones are. Maybe one of these years…


      2. Whoops, confused your comment with my latest post! That’s what I get for working top down for comments.

        Yes, I’ve been to a few French hardware stores. The ones I’ve visited have a huge variety of cookware, dishes, and other goodies as well as hardware. Lots of fun.

  4. Great local colour, Tish! I love the ladders, propped ready for action. 🙂 🙂 Yes, a dying breed for sure. I enjoyed Sue’s enthusiastic responses too. 🙂 Happy weekend! A good, hard frost here.

  5. Ah, yes, the old Ironmongers, as they used to be called. Love the photo.
    In Forgotten Life by Brian Aldiss, one of the characters, Joseph, describes the Ironmonger his father owned when he was a boy.

    I too love hardware stores. Along with bookstores and record stores, they number among my three favorite places in the whole world to mooch.
    Not that I am anything of a handyman, as the wife and Ems will gleefully testify, to wit after falling off a ladder while sawing a crossbeam I picked up the inglorious name of Tool-time Tim (from the tv show).However, they do fill me with grand illusions of some sort of magnificent DIY artiste !

    If I may …. Probably the funniest 7 minutes of TV ever produced.

    1. One of our all-time favourite comedy clips, thanks Ark, and just right for this trip down ironmongery memory lane. Tool-time Tim indeed. Practice makes perfect you know. Also it’s good to feature words like ‘ironmongers’; could be lost from lexicon otherwise.

      1. ”Our” hardware store is a family run business that has been around since Grandad fell of the bus.
        It is called Kitchener Hardware – when the street it is on was actually called Kitchener Street. New regime … new ”heroes”.
        It is now on Albertina Sisulu Street, though it hasn’t moved an inch! And on several sites Kitchener St is still mentioned.
        In all the years I have been going there Claudio, the eldest son and a Juventus supporter has called Mr Liverpool. We’ve gone grey together!
        When you buy stuff they still tote up the bill on a bit of paper before ringing it up on the till. I kid you not.

      2. Family run enterprises are so to be treasured, aren’t they; the personal people history that goes with them, as well as the wider historical associations from the building of a community, and the naming of a street, and a shop, to the ‘heroes’ of the past. Corporate retail is so soul-sucking if one allows oneself to notice same. It has no stories. Only brands.

  6. Yes, those memories always come back to me when I enter the ‘home center’ at the neighborhood mall; everything so bright and clean, orderly in a new way… what seems to be missing is people who know how to do things or fix things. I remember talking to salesmen who could often give me advice that I treasured and remembered. Thought they’d had a world of experience and they were less than half my age today. Now most of the sales people are younger still, and they don’t seem to know anything about tools or fixing things. It’s a different world. But what I wanted to say, Tish, was that I love this picture.

    1. Thank you for your appreciation, Shimon. I value that too. I’m also wondering if there isn’t something intrinsically human about our attachment to old-time hardware shops, and to those with craft skills who manned them. I seem to remember Jacob Bronowski in The Ascent of Man, making a distinct connection between the moment in our evolution when we began to make tools, and the development of our brains. It wasn’t only the intention, but in the doing, the contact with the tool – the hand, eye, mind coordination. It put us on the path from being only a primate to becoming human. Now so many of our ‘tools’ do the thinking for us, or at least try to rob us of our own discretion by deciding what we need in advance to make our lives easier/more effective. I’m thinking of computers of course!

  7. That looks well worth a browse, never know what treasures you might find. Not too many of that sort of place over here now. All been sanitised and can only buy things packeted in plastic and by the dozen, even if you only need 1 or 2.

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