On Wednesday Anita and I made the 100+ mile visit to Whichford Pottery in Warwickshire to meet all the pottery staff we have come to know and call our friends during the 13 years I have been working at the Wisley Plant Centre. Under the ownership of Jim Keeling the pottery which he founded in 1976 together with his wife Dominique has grown from strength to strength. During every visit I have made over the years, whether on business or for personal reasons, the friendly atmosphere and hospitality is second to none.
Within moments of our arrival we are greeted by Jane & Paula and the offer of refreshments is gladly accepted. We joined many of the staff at their 'tea break' where Anita's homemade shortbread definitely got the thumbs up. As usual I start my tour of the production areas in the 'mould room' for a chat with Linda but this is soon interrupted by a request from Jim for me to join everyone upstairs in the 'throwing loft'. Surrounded by all the staff Paula (Production Manager) thanks me (I'm affectionately known as 'UNCLE' Frank) for my support and involvement in championing their products and then they unveiled two large handmade pots which have recently been thrown and specially decorated just for me.
Here is a close up of the decoration...a flying Pigeon or a Skylark according to Jim!
Well....stunned....I was nearly speechless but managed to thank them for their generosity. It will take around three weeks for the pots to dry and then fired before they are ready for delivery. All I have to do now is to find the right location in our small garden and decide what to plant in them.