a ‘New’ Razor

Shaving Kits
My Mercer 34C Shaving Kit

I was having to work on Saturday so Caroline went shopping on her own. I was surprised and pleased to find she had bought me a present.

In its original case a DE Razor made in England. That evening I started my research to find out more about it.

The razor came in three parts, the head and open comb was soon identified as a Long Open Comb and Twin Pin. The bottom plate was soon identified as a Raised Flat Bottom.

The raised flat bottom was available from 1933 to 1945. The Twin Pin plate was dated to 1933 to 1939.  The handle was a Ball end hollow end cap, which dates from 1930 to 1939, which means the kit can be dated from 1933 to 1939.

A little more research on the case that it all came in, finally identified it as a British Service issue set number 44 circa 1933 and the razor itself is a Gillette New Long Open Comb, Made in England.

Its amazing the quality of information available on some sites and the detail some collectors go to.

Gillette New, Long Open Comb - made in England
Gillette New, Long Open Comb – made in England

After switching last year from a ‘normal’ cartridge shaver to an old fashioned DE (Double Edged) Razor, I have found the condition of my skin improving and I am enjoying the ritual of old fashion shaving.

We are going on holiday soon and I did wonder whether or not to buy a small travel razor, well thanks to my lovely wife I now have a wonderful 1930’s DE razor perfect for travel.

Presents for the Birthday Boy

It was my Birthday recently and I asked for a few unusual presents.

Now me and Chris have an interest in coffee as well as cameras and a few weeks ago Chris emailed me a link to a blog from a guy mad about Leica’s and Coffee; just like me.

The site was CoffeeGeek.

It was while reading this site I spotted an interesting post about shaving. As you may be able to tell in the photograph above, I usually have a few days of stubble showing. Shaving has always irritated my neck and whether I use one of the latest multiblade cartridge shavers or an electric razor, I still get a sore neck.

The post linked to a few shaving forums, and these guys are real shaving geeks. Very knowledgable and trying to put a bit of fun and ritual back into what most consider a chore.

So after a bit of reading up and learning how bad for your skin modern canned saving cream and multi-blade shavers are, I had family members buy me a new shaving kit.

It consisted of a Badger Hair Shaving Brush, a Merkur 34C DE Razor, Traditional Saving Soap, Bowl, Stand and a multipack of different blades ranging from Derby Blades from Turkey right up to Japanese Feathers, some of the most fearsome and sharp razor blades money can buy. While the products are a little more expensive then the standard, the soap is very concentrated and will last a long time. The blades can be found for as little as £11 for 100 blades which means after a year you are saving money.

Though its not the money saving I am interested in. It is whether this stops my sore neck and makes shaving a pleasure instead of a chore. If it succeeds then it will be one of the best birthday presents yet.  If I get on well with the DE razor I might take up Caroline’s offer to buy me a straight (ie a cut throat) razor; maybe for my next birthday.

If you are interested in finding out more then you ever wanted to know about shaving, check out www.badgerandblade.com and sharpologist.com.

Oh and thanks for The Shaving Book Andrew, an interesting but also very funny read.

Coffee, Coffee, Everywhere

Today I had to pop down to London for some business meetings.  It was one mad rush from train station to train station and underground station to underground station.

I remember a time when it was difficult to find a good cup of coffee, now any major city has a Starbucks, Cafe Nero or Costa Coffee.  Even MacDonalds sells real coffee now, though I have yet to try one.

But when it comes to trains it seems we are still limited to instant.  Come on guys, the main train down there had a buffet car, serving wines and beers and a good selection of food but only instant coffee.

At least the train station at real coffee.

Coffee and Shopping

Today we went on a shopping trip to Norwich, clothes and quilt shops for Caroline and for me a visit to The Window, the smallest coffee shop in the world.

The shopping and coffee went well, though Caroline did not buy any quilting material we did manage to get some clothes and Coffee.

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Hayley our champion Barista served me one of the best Espresso I have had this year.

I’ll certainly rate Coffee Aroma in Lincoln and The Window in Norwich as the top two coffee shops I have visited this year.

While walking round the city I also did a little street photography, always fun.

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Coffee – Coffee Makers: The Chemex

As I have in the past mentioned I love the finer things in life.

Good Coffee, good wine, good whisky and good chocolate. This week I have been indulging in my coffee habit again, not with more coffee but much to my wife’s displeasure a new coffee maker, to join our growing collection of French Presses, Coffee Percolator, AeroPress and Expresso and Filter Coffee machine’s. Its not like she dislikes my coffee habit, its just the sheer number of coffee making devices and different styles of coffee cups littering our kitchen. I had to admit we did not really have room for more!

The problem was since buying the AeroPress for work, I had become somewhat spoilt. It really did make one of the best coffee’s I had every tasted at home. It really make my filter coffee machine seem poor quality. I enjoy a French Press at home but sometimes you want something with a little more clarity, that lets the clean notes of the coffee shine through, and a French Press just cannot do that.

From frequenting a few coffee internet forums (yes I really am that sad), I quickly learned that for the cleanest cup of coffee you need either a vac pot or a Chemex. Well a Vac Pot I feel is something for later, so I went and bought a Chemex from those lovely people at Hasbean Coffee.

My first attempt yesterday was nothing special, while better then my filter coffee machine I felt it was not as good as the AeroPress. Well after a search on Youtube for different ideas on using this type of Brewer, I had another go this morning. This time I nailed it. Possibly the best filter coffee I have ever tasted. Though the excellent El Salvador San Rafael Bourbon 2011-2012 may have helped.

AeroPress – a new way of coffee making

For the last few days I have been trying out my Aeropress coffee maker.  Not exactly an expresso but not a french press either.

I have been using the reverse method to make coffee, and I have to admit, it does make wonderful coffee, and it is ideal for an office environment.  Easy and quick to use and very easy to clean afterwards.

I can definitely recommend it. I think I like the coffee from it better then from my home filter coffee machine!

Coffee

Coffee is much, much more then just your standard hot caffeinated drink.

I gave up on instant over ten years ago. Now I mainly drink filter at home and french press at work. I buy freshly roasted beans from our local roaster and we are luckily in having two top coffee sellers in Lincoln to choose from.

At weekends I often make myself and Caroline an expresso at home, but I am also not too much a coffee snob to enjoy a trip down to the local Starbucks or Costa.

But apart from a french press how to enjoy a good cup at work. Something a little closer to an expresso perhaps.

Now hauling my expresso machine to work and using that would not be allowed, but after a bit of research I came across a device called an Aeropress, while not strictly an expresso maker an interesting device that looked ideal for a work environment.

Well I have placed an order, but what coffee to try it out with. Something that not only makes a good filter coffee but also a good expresso, it had to be ‘Brazil Fazenda Cachoeira Pure Yellow Bourbon from the Minas Gerais’ a fine single estate coffee, freshly roasted.

My mouth is watering at the very thought.

A Lazy Sunday Morning

A very lazy Sunday morning was in store for us today.  We had no intention of going out, so first job was to ground some fresh Italian style roasted coffee beans.  I always keep a few whole beans in the freezer, in a plastic airtight container.

We are very lucky here, as Lincoln is blessed, not only with the usual array of Starbucks and Costa Coffee houses, but some very good top rated independent coffee shops, and two top coffee bean retailers, one of which roasts the beans themselves twice a week.

With the beans ground and the expresso on its way, I turned my attention to a very indulgent porridge.  Organic  rolled oats from Lincoln market and milk; with fresh cream and unrefined brown sugar to top it all off.  Yum Yum.

So the morning had us settling down in front of the TV to enjoy Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, one of Caroline’s favourite musicals.

And if you have some beans left you can even practice your photography on them or if your feeling daring, go out into the garden and make Snow Angels.