Saturday, 22 December 2007

A Wizard Shop

"Wizard!" said Mr TLC on hearing the news. No, he hadn't been reading Enid Blyton, but he had just received a phone call to say that his new toy was awaiting collection. The long awaited Gordon-Smith Classic T (which for those of us who speak English, is a guitar) had arrived at Wizard Guitars.

Mr TLC has been lusting after a Gordon-Smith creation for ages and having seen him play one, I can see why. It's not just that he's been able to choose exactly what he wants, or that Gordon-Smith Guitars still set high store by old-fashioned values like quality materials and excellent workmanship. It's hard to describe, but Mr TLC's new guitar just seems to fit him and despite being a custom built piece, the new toy was rather cheaper than many similar mass-produced guitars.

While we were at the shop a mother and son acted out a cautionary tale for us. The teenage son had brought in the "guitar" that he had purchased via E-Bay. Apparently the seller had neglected to mention the fact that this particular guitar came in an "easy home assembly" form. The poor lad stood there holding the pieces of what used to be a guitar while Mr Evans of Wizard Guitars explained to him that it really was beyond repair. Chatting with Mr and Mrs Evans afterwards, they said that this isn't that uncommon.

I often use E-Bay, Amazon and other online stores, but I wouldn't use them to buy something like a guitar, that really needs to be tried out before you buy it, and I don't buy online if I can buy the same thing locally. We are lucky to have lots of small, independent shops like Wizard Guitars in this area. You have to use 'em or lose 'em.

Originally published here on my main blog
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Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Winter Garden

The Winter Garden may be one of Sheffield's newer buildings, but it is certainly one the best loved.

When the plans for a giant greenhouse in the heart of the city were first published, they didn't create much of a stir, possibly because the local population were still suffering from development fatigue after the less than joyous experiences of building for the Student Games and then the Supertram. Of course, once the incredibly beautiful arched structure started to take shape, everyone simply fell in love with it. People stopped to stare as the giant wooden skeleton was gradually transformed into a stunning building.

Since then the Winter Garden has been planted, has matured and has become a much loved part of the city centre. The finished building is around 70 metres long and 22 metres high and holds around 2500 plants. It's a place to walk through, to sit and watch the world go by, to visit temporary exhibitions, to enjoy a cup of coffee or even (if you are really lucky) to attend an exclusive event with a select few. Despite the name, the building is open for 364 days a year and is popular all year round. A Winter Garden is for life, but not for Christmas.

The Winter Garden is now officially five years old. Many Happy Returns!

Take a 360 degree tour of the Winter Garden, inside and out

Originally published here on my main blog
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