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The Knife Sharpener


Everyday a multitude of different tradesmen and hawkers wander into our laneway, each with a distinctive call or bell so you know whether it’s the rice man, the watermelon seller, or the styrofoam recycling man. Of course, mostly I dash in and out to see what’s happening because I have no idea what they’re saying, or what that bell means. But yesterday I managed to catch the knife sharpener completely by accident, as I was coming home. I have two chinese cleavers, very blunt from desperately hacking at chicken carcasses and pumpkins. OK, and maybe I sharpen the odd pencil with them or open the occasional cardboard box……


For less than the price of a cup of coffee he sat astride his settle and whittled my blunt blades to a wafer thin sharpness on the whetstone, smoking like a chimney all the while. Perhaps the ash helps with the sharpening?