Tom Fort made his name as a writer with his bestselling travel narrative The A303: Highway to the Sun. He now focuses on matters closer to home by celebrating a quintessential cornerstone of any village in Britain - the shop - in this case a century-old hardware shop daughter-in-law bought eighteen months before the pandemic struck the UK to run herself in their beautiful Berkshire village, outside of Reading. The family's dream of developing the shop into one that would become the centre of village life certainly did come true, but for a very different set of circumstances. Rivets, Trivets and Galvanised Buckets interweaves the evolution of the shop, its previous owners, and the history of the items it sells, to its customers to present a delightful study of community and the eccentricities of ordinary people. The nationwide lockdown focused minds on the home and its immediate surroundings, i.e. the garden. People were forced to look differently at where they lived, and found ways to value that, and enhance it. They learned or relearned the pleasure and fulfilment of deploying practical skills. And they came to Tom's family shop to buy and to talk about what all this meant to them. Married to this personal story will be Tom's history of home ownership and how it nourished pride in the home and the desire to make the home better and more beautiful, and how technological progress in the mass production of tools and materials made it easy to realise - or attempt to realise - those ambitions. Rivets, Trivets and Galvanised Buckets offers fascinating history of technological progress: who thought of screwdrivers, where the spirit level came from, who devised the process of galvanisation, what genius worked out that a suction pad on the end of a piece of wood could unblock sinks and so forth. As Tom recounts: 'A little girl came with her father into Heath and Watkins, looked around for a while and said to him 'Daddy, this is the shop of EVERYTHING'. This is the story of how this happened.
Rivets, Trivets and Galvanised Buckets by Tom Fort