Monday, November 19, 2012

All things vintage a'merkin!

A lighter tone this morning (forgive me).

Interesting how the word vintage is increasingly used to describe those items that are not quite antiques but old enough to stir some nostalgia. The Fifties is perhaps the pivotal decade, and consequently, the resale value of everything from vacuum flasks to drop-down kitchen cupboards has rocketed. It's a style thing; nobody really wants to give up their microwaves, but it's quite fun when you see it done well.

Near to my Wiltshire home is a small campsite which goes by the gloriously naive name of Merkins Farm(Here's what Wiki has to say about Merkinwhich reminded me of  George W Bush drawling 'I'm proud to be a'merkin' ) One of its attractions is a vintage style cafe which serves the most excellent coffee and cooks breakfasts for lazy campers. Evidently, it's thriving, with customers travelling quite a distance, to sample the food, the decor and the wood-burning stove.

Good luck to them I say. Far too many characterful cafes have gone over recent years. On a recent visit to the Peak District (a one-time stronghold of tea and butty establishments), I noted the demise of Lovers Leap caff at Stoney Middleton. That place was an essential part of my youth! Many of the climbers' caffs in Snowdonia have gone the same way. In Wiltshire, there are plenty of fancy tea shops, but virtually all the greasy spoons have closed - replaced by supermarkets, garden centres and the ubiquitous Costa.

I guess the customers stop coming before the caffs close their doors, and I've pulled in at my fair share of McDonalds as we drive West on the weekends.  I should make more effort I suppose - put my money where my mouth is and spend more at places like the one pictured.

That said, if they open a farm shop too, I'm definitely not buying a Merkin!


  1. well if THAT's a merkin, what's a firkin?
    I've obviously been mixing them up all this time.

    I love vintage caffs and anything of that ilk, that's not cloned in every town, city and county around the world.

    Love it.

  2. I got a merkin in last year's Secret Santa at work. I'm keeping it, just in case...

  3. Waky caffs alive and well here on Glastonbury :-D

  4. The Italian run caffs round the Aldwych and The Strand were my morning lifesavers...their morning rolls with bacon and egg have few equals.
    But rents rise..and they've disapeared in favour of places where the waiter sneers at your order which given that it was obtained more than twenty minutes to appear.

  5. Cycling to Merkins (*sniggers*) Cafe a few times was one of this summer's highlights for us. When we hadn't got enough cash for our toasted teacakes (no chip and pin machine there), they let us pay the next day...can't imagine Costa being quite so forgiving!

  6. The conversation-stopping greeting "a merkin for your quim" can be, but should not be, confused with "a penny for your thoughts".