Bill has owned his small shoe and boot repair shop off of Hollow Way for 31 years.
“That’s older than you are, you know,” he told me as I stood on the other side of the counter waiting for him to find the boot I had dropped off the week before – the left one of my favorite pair that I have apparently begun to wear out.
Bill is the quintessential old British man: small frame, white hair, big round glasses that make his eyes twice the size they probably are and, the best part, a blue apron, indicating his trade as a cobbler. And that’s exactly what he called himself when I first walked through his door asking if he could help me and my boot.
“I’m the cobbler!” he proudly announced.
As he examined my tearing boot, I asked if he was Bill. (There’s a large green sign above the door reading “Bill’s Shoe Repair.”) By the way he raised his eyes to look at me, I could tell this had confused him, and after searching my face for a moment, he finally asked, “Do I know you??” (imagine in a thick cockney accent mixed with old-man voice)
Seriously? How old is this guy?
“No,” I replied, managing not to laugh but unable to hide a big smile, “your name’s on the sign outside.”