Just over three years ago I was waxing lyrical about a visit to a small independent hardware shop in Stalybridge. Well, another annoying leak has cursed me so it was a return trip back to Stalybridge Homecare for me.
At some shops you may get good service but at Stalybridge Homecare the service is truly outstanding.
Now do not doubt me when I say DIY is not my forte. In fact I am sure I could learn a trick or two from Frank Spencer but God loves a trier and times are hard so out come the toolbox and up into the loft I ventured.
The leak was soon identified and the cause was a faulty ball cock valve. Knowing this is a specialist part I made my way to another good local shop called ATS Plumbing Supplies which is on Hyde Road in Denton. I showed the gentleman serving a photograph of the leaking valve and thankfully he had one in stock and as he placed it on the counter and I looked at it I guessed this will be at least £15 due to the heavyweight construction and type of metal used, to my surprise it was mine for the bargain price of £4.90 including two free washers which I later discovered that I would have been snookered without. So with part in hand and open toolbox in the loft I headed back to see what damage I could do.
Getting into the loft is not particularly easy but after a struggle the ball cock valve and I were reunited with the toolbox and in place and ready to go - only to fall at the first hurdle. As luck would have it my largest wrench was one size too small to do the job and upon discovering this I felt fury rising and as I glanced around I focussed on the the hammer and thought about bashing something out of pure frustration but I decided against and thought it better to go in search of a suitable tool. Remembering my previous good experience at Stalybridge Homecare it was there that I headed to purchase a wrench.
I walked in to be greeted by a gentleman serving, a person who also happened to be the proprietor and as I placed my open ended size 20 to 22 wrench on the counter and explained that it was just a little too small and that I wanted to purchase something similar but a little larger he responded by asking what job was I intending to use it for.
During this exchange I glanced at an adjustable wrench hanging on a wall display and I said "that's fine, I've seen what I need and I will take this please". The shopkeeper was in no hurry to sell me the wrench and he produced a ball cock valve very similar to the one I had just purchased in Denton. I was surprised that he stocked such an item but there again, this shop does seem to stock virtually every DIY item under the sun.
He then proceeded to tell me how ball cock valves work and why they fail and even more amazingly, and this is one reason which makes Stalybridge Homecare such a wonderful shop, he said put the wrench back and buy this 10p solid rubber washer instead and you can fix your old valve with it and therefore you won't need the wrench, he then set about explaining how to repair the old valve - now that is what you call outstanding service!
I insisted that I bought the wrench anyway as I knew it would come in useful at some point in the future and I was then treated to a history lesson on Victorian plumbing and construction methods but unbeknown to the shopkeeper he was speaking to a self confessed anorak when it comes to our past industrial glories and Victorian Britain in general.
The shopkeeper then explained that he was a boilermaker by profession and he gave a fascinating account of a job he once participated in that involved making three boilers to a unique design as specified by the Royal Navy. The Navy insisted that the boilers must be cold riveted, something which was unusual and very difficult to achieve.
He then asked me a question about a famous Victorian engineer who had a big influence locally, before I could answer he went on to say that he has asked lots of people and virtually nobody knows who he was which was a pity because he saved lots of lives with his invention plus, he was a distant relative of the shopkeeper. I asked what type of engineer was this Victorian distant ancestor was and when he said a famous local boiler maker I knew he was talking about Daniel Adamson. He seemed very impressed that I knew this snippet of information and the conversation continued. He was just in the process of extolling the virtues of the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre when another customer entered the shop so with that I made my exit but not before promising to return with an opinion once I have visited the aforementioned heritage centre.
So there you have it. Next time you are in need of hardware supplies or fancy speaking to a genuinely enthusiastic and interesting local personality you know to head to 15 Market Ave SK15 2AL where you will find Stalybridge Homecare.