One of the many nicknames I accumulated as a child was Cheeky Chops. The others, in case you were wondering, included Katie-Potatie (see what mum did there?), Boofa (a paternal derivative of the pejorative boofhead) and Pooh Girl (not for my devotion to the stories of A.A. Milne, but because I stepped in doggy do-do not once, but twice during the first week of high school and a handful of kids took it upon themselves to torture me for years after). Not that I’m bitter.
All the others have fallen away, except for that first one. Probably because I remain steadfastly, proudly, to the depths of my soul, a smart-mouthed so-and-so. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Yes, it occasionally gets me into trouble, but more often than not, it causes a host of laughs and memorable moments that I wouldn’t exchange for anything – not even the pursed lip of a lost client. Because if you can’t poke fun – as long as you can take it coming back at you – what’s the point? I’ll take a thimbleful of levity over a plateful of brevity any day of the millennium.
As it turns out, Graeme Ellisdon, the phenomenally successful man behind English luxury brand Osprey, is a kindred spirit. I hit the sticks (AKA caught train to Hertfordshire) on Monday to visit Nirvana – a converted barn near St Albans that not only houses an Osprey outlet store, but is also the foothold of Osprey Home (an eclectic range of home wares and other bobs and bits chosen by Graeme on his travels) and The Saddlery Cafe (think perfect tea blends, old-school china and thick slices of drizzle cake and such).
We spent an hour or two pulling legs and giggling (me) and raising eyebrows (him). I spent an hour or two dribbling over a leather rhinoceros, a kilim upholstered travellers trunk (above), and a vintage-look satchel (plus everything else on offer, including the wrought iron roof holdy-uppy-things). I’ve spent hours since in a puckaterry, fretting about how I’ll get out there next. Not to worry. It’s already sorted. A friend has a car, and we’ve made plans for Thursday. I might have to pack a bag. How do you claim squatters‘ rights, again?
Click through for all the pictures.
the saddlery cafe
some other bits i liked
More Osprey Home, Osprey London and The Saddlery Cafe info and pics here.
You may also like:
All images © Kate McAuley