A friend and I rowed from Oxford to London, this ensign was taken from our boat Tintangle. It was a wet 5 day adventure that went from the sublime to the ridiculous, a sort of adult Swallows and Amazons. Being chased out of a pub in Reading by mini-cab drivers remains one of the most frightening experiences of my life.
From any good chandlery.
Loake Wolf brogue boots
I have a destructive relationship with shoes, I’ll wear them till they fall apart then fall in love with another pair, but I have had these for years and they just keep on giving. Made in England, fleece lined, Goodyear welted rubber soles and beautiful. This pair is off for a factory overhaul now and I’m looking forward to getting them back for winter.
Online Here: loake.co.uk
Ordnance Survey Atlas of Great Britain from 1982
I’m not sure if Ordnance Survey still make an atlas like this, if they do I can’t find it. It was published in 1982 and covers the whole of Great Britain at 1:250,000 scale. I’ve owned it for years and have always been fascinated by it. Even at that scale it contains vast amounts of detail, made all the more remarkable as it was made before satellite mapping, a testament to this most British of institutions.
Out of print
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
I love this book; Bourdain’s journey from pot-wash to executive chef reads more like a Vietnam war story than a cookbook. The paragraph about hollandaise will put you off for life, but there’s no doubt you will gain an unfettered insight into the professional kitchen, as well as admiration for those who choose it as a career.
Chinese workman’s jacket
Thinner than its French counterpart but still the epitome of utility chic, gifted to me by my old boss Sheridan Coakley from SCP.
Online Here: scp.co.uk
Sony AM/FM Pocket radio
I was going to put in my iPhone and talk about the BBC iPlayer Radio app, but this radio pipped it to the post. Purchased at the same time as the ensign for the same rowing trip 5 years ago, I am almost certain I have never changed the batteries. Robust and simple, and there is nothing better than listening to the radio.
Online Here: sony.co.uk
Whittle a stick or peel an apple, a little piece of French life in your pocket As featured in Charlie Gladstone’s Essentials but so good it deserves to be repeated.
Online Here: goodwares.co.uk
Audubon Bird Call
Like the penknife, this little birdcall is beautifully simple. Objects like this are the reason I started the shop; mass-manufactured yet with enough character that they become a cherished item.
Online Here: kioskkiosk.com
Swan Vesta matches
The possibilities are limitless with a box of matches; who doesn’t love a campfire?