‘Strike While The Iron’s Hot…….’

A comment from my blogging friend, Mary Tang, on yesterday’s post led me to contemplate first names. Mary has met many people who share her prenomen. Apart from my Uncle Derrick, I have only come across three others who share my spelling. Strangely enough, they also all had the same surname.

The first Derrick Knight to create a certain amount of confusion was a documentary film maker who began working in the 1950s. Some of his films were used in Social Work training. I never met him, and I didn’t make films. But I needed to convince a certain amount of Social Workers that it wasn’t my name on the credits. The above photograph is borrowed from Guy Cotรฉ’s site.

When my picture appeared on Google’s images page heading the story of a man on Death Row, this causes a little consternation for half a day. As a black American footballer he may have shared my name, but not my appearance.

The one namesake I did actually meet put a flier through our letterbox sometime in the 1970s when we lived in Soho. He was the proprietor of a new shop called Knight Games, just opened in Dean Street. I just had to walk round to meet him. Imagine our joint amazement when I entered the establishment and we found ourselves staring at our doppelgangers. We were the same height, the same build, the same hair colouring, with similar features, and wearing similarly framed spectacles.

This morning a courier called Phil delivered my brother Chris’s chair which Frances has sent me from Wroughton in Wiltshire.

On a warm, wet, and overcast afternoon, after visiting the bank in New Milton, Jackie drove us out to Ace Reclamation at Parley, beyond Christchurch.

As we negotiated the bumpy potholes of the mile and a half long track to this architectural salvage outlet, Jackie observed that ‘you must really want to get to this place to come down here’.

Once we had parked outside the truth of this came home to me as we clambered over a pallet laid alongside a large puddle in the entrance. I was reminded of Walter Raleigh spreading his splendid cloak over one such, so that Queen Elizabeth I wouldn’t spoil her shoes.

The yard and and the sheds comprise a cornucopia of reclaimed artefacts. A giant cock perches above an old telephone box. New corrugated iron sheets are piles alongside covered planks.ย Pub and Post Office signs are suspended above various garden ornaments of dubious provenance. Just opposite The Crown, for the past two years, has stood a very tasteful item of garden statuary. Not so today. The figure I had intended for Jackie’s Christmas present had been sold.

We had a look around anyway, if only to confirm that we had aimed for the best piece there. The red Egyptian replica bearing implausible bare breasts didn’t quite cut the mustard, although one of the staff members did suggest she might.

Neither did we fancy the two huge dogs standing between an assortment of vacuum cleaners and an ancient bath. They appeared to be guarding an assortment of doors, roof tiles, and paving.

Another hound, set up a warning clamour when I presumed to photograph a jumble of chairs, radiators, bath, mirror, and fireplaces. Fortunately, he was penned in.

Autumn leaves adorned part of a carding machine

and a heap of rusting grates.

Wooden planks and metal posts stood opposite them.

Some items are deemed requiring protection from the elements. These are kept inside,

which can get rather dusty.

A string of fairground horses line up alongside everything including the kitchen sink.

Finally, pinned to an arrangement of doors was a sign pertinent to our predicament today. Examples of various fireplaces were also displayed.

As a parting quip the manager advised me to ‘strike while the iron is hot next time’.

We drove on to Lyndhurst where we intended to buy another present. We didn’t find that either.

Never mind, we dined on a juicy chicken and bacon pasta bake, with a medley of roasted vegetables. I drank Cimarosa Reserva Privado malbec 2013.


  1. My dad would be glad this place didn’t exist when mum was alive or she’d never have left it. As for names not many Geoffreys about either and none with the surname attached. Though I suppose Def Leppard comes close….

  2. Surprisingly I received a facebook message last night from someone who was convinced I was her cousin. Her version of my name was married to a man with the same name as my ex, lived in the same city I used to live in [she expressed surprise that I had left as they were not aware] and who looked like me. The only reason I knew I wasn’t going potty and had forgotten part of my family tree was because she mentioned the names of an uncle and aunt, supposedly my parents names – and they weren’t. I would often be greeted by strangers in my younger days convinced I was someone else – maybe it was this particular doppelganger who bears the same name.
    I am a big believer in strike while the iron is hot when gift shopping – the alternative is too disappointing and chaotic to cope with at this time of the year! I hope you find something to pop beneath the tree – maybe something will turn up in the mail……

  3. My worst almost doppelganger experience was when a woman turned up at my doorstep and said my parents used to be her parents next door neighbours – and “Goodness me! You look so like my brother” she said. For weeks I kept looking in the mirror and comparing my face with a photo of my father!
    What a fabulous “junk yard” – I’m a birdbath person – so I’d be going for that!

  4. There are other people with my name, but they 1) don’t look like me or 2) live where I do. I do have a lot of people ask whether I have a sister, though, so the doppelganger is out there, but probably without my name. So sorry your piece got snatched from you by another buyer!! You never think stuff is going to go that fast. At least I don’t. I like wandering in places like that. Maybe you should buy the giant rooster and hide him in a large shrub…

  5. Awesome junk yard! I would struggle to leave there without a ute load… ๐Ÿ™‚ very interesting that other derricks had the same surname…when I google mine I’m the only one that comes up…although my niece, currently living in Warsaw, swears I have a doppelgรคnger living there.

  6. I love “junk yards”…..and hardware stores and art supply stores….anything the use of which has to be imagined. I hope you find just the right christmas gift for Jackie, but I know that which you and Pauline were discussing above will be a hit at any rate. Bruce (“Harry”) was also a winner and received his this week to much exclamation….but of course the post gets to him sooner.

  7. A present for Jackie, she will just love! I love wandering through flea markets and junk yards – wonderful finds awaits those that look in every nook and cranny.

  8. Too bad you weren’t able to find what you wanted. It looked like movie set extras piles, Derrick. Up in Rockport, Massachusetts my Great Aunt and I loved the piles and sheds of items to take or use, recycle or take apart. This reminded me of this joy I felt going once a week. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like a delicious malbec: Cheers!

  9. It would be difficult to remove me from that junk yard, especially if I had my camera with me. Love the philosophy of the sign – sometimes I have a problem with decision making ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your namesake and doppelganger history is very impressive.

  10. This is such an interesting post … And what a magical-looking collection of paraphernalia! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can only imagine what it must have felt like to meet your doppelgรคnger. ๐Ÿ™‚ What serendipity!
    Unfortunately, I share a name and a birthday with a woman who committed murder around the time we both turned 21. We apparently grew up in towns less than an hour apart, too. I’ve never had a background check from an employer come back without having to explain and ask for a second. *sigh…*. So. Consider yourself lucky. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Nice post Derrick. I too have a name double-ganger, she is also called Agnes Goyvaerts and is also from Antwerp and about the same age as me. I once received an email that was meant to be for her. She is also into literary sort of work, she is an author (I’m not), and she also has something to do with libraries and anything books. We once made a friendly contact but we left it at that. Derrick I do like bird baths but somehow I’ve never bought one yet, I do put out a bowl with pebbles and filled with water for them though, lovely to see them bathe.

  12. You didn’t even consider that rooster? It really doesn’t suit the PreColumbian theme of my garden, but I may have succumbed anyway. Then I could have faced the problem of getting it from England to Mexico. My doppleganger ended up being in the dressing cubicle next to mine at Nordstrom’s dept. store in California. We ended up getting charged for each other’s purchases and only when we both emerged at the same time, wearing similar outfits, was the mistake rectified. A strange coincidence. Wish it had been during an age when everyone carried telephones with cameras so I had gotten a photo. But it was 1982. Wonder if we still look alike?

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