Tag Archives: Berteas

Special

31 May

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Hanging a gate is one of those jobs to be savoured, especially when the client is a friend and the gate is a one-off. I used to reserve jobs like this when I worked as a countryside Ranger for days when the sun was out and the birds were singing. I used to think of these jobs as a ‘special’ – not really essential, but an opportunity to create a public access of character. A talking point for ramblers and visitors to the woods and green spaces of Sheffield.

My wife used to run a tea shop called Berteas in North Shields down by the Fish Quay and she would always put on a ‘special’ for the school kids who would drop in with their pocket money. A ‘special’ usually consisted of half a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of pop for 50p. It was particularly favoured by the twin boys who lived above the shop. These lads were tearaways – always up to mischief – Clare referred to them as ‘The Krays’. Her rapport with the twins and a whole host of salty, sea faring clients gave the shop security and a solid customer base. It was her way of oiling the wheels of the business and making her day more fun.

This gate is made from a cleft oak frame, morticed and pegged at each corner, the centre is a lattice of rhododendron branches. It now sits at the end of a garden about 120 yards long and opens out onto a public footpath alongside an arable field. It framed a glorious blue sky today:

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Installing it was pure fun. Butterflies, wild flowers, sun shine and the wind swaying the barley in the field beyond. Definitely a ‘special’.