I’ve mentioned before that I travel a lot with my job. I was fortunate to be in Basel, Switzerland for two weeks just before Christmas in 2015. One of my work colleagues took me out sightseeing on the middle weekend, and took me around some of the winding narrow streets and investigating many of the specialist stores. He knew of a specialist milliner’s shop and told me that there was a sign in a window saying that it was closing down. As it was late on a Saturday morning, the shop was shortly going to close, and there was no time for browsing.
What I loved about the street was the old fashioned trade signs, and next door to the milliner’s shop was a shoemaker’s. The street was called ‘Nadelberg’ which I was reliably informed meant ‘Street of the Needleworkers’.
I managed to find my own way back there on the last afternoon I was in Basel, and the shop was empty, so I went in, and in very bad German, tried explaining to the lady in there that I was also a hat maker. I sort of succeeded, and she did ask me if I’d like to buy her shop, but unfortunately I didn’t have a million swiss francs to hand. She was selling EVERYTHING, including her blocks, flowers, raw materials, however a) it was switzerland and b) I was flying back via Ryanair, so had a very limited luggage allowance. I did however purchase a hat block which she had made for herself from spaterie, and a few flowers and trims.