About

Buying presents is always tricky, particularly when the person you have to buy for seems to have exquisite taste in antique items and you feel you have neither the judgment nor the bank balance to buy them something they will love. I have always had this problem with my father, whose house is full of tasteful and valuable antiques. I did, however find the perfect gift totally by accident when clearing out the attic of my new house a couple of years ago.

The previous owners had left a few boxes in the attic, we thought by accident. We contacted them to let them know their mistake but they said they didn’t want the contents and we should throw it away. Rather grumpily I set to removing and disposing of the items, after all we had enough of our own junk to sort out without having to deal with someone else’s.

Having dragged the boxes into the kitchen I thought I would take a little look through them before chucking them out. Fortunately my father arrived to help out with furniture arranging, just as I had decided there was nothing of value in there.

He immediately seized on an odd piece of small machinery that I had left sitting on the counter. When I asked him what it was, he pointed rather scornfully at my new shiny stainless steel electric coffee grinder and said it was pretty much the same thing, but much less noisy, and didn’t remove all the flavor from the beans!

He even knew the make, apparently a size two, cast iron, two wheel grinder made by Coles. That didn’t mean a lot to me but I was glad I hadn’t thrown it in the trash, particularly when he said it would look fantastic in his kitchen after a little loving restoration.

Of course I gave it to him there and then, he had been such a help with the move and it was really unusual to be able to give him something that he really liked. It now stands proudly on his countertop, next to the espresso maker, and judging by the gorgeous coffee smell in the house is in almost constant use. It was restored carefully so has lost none of its original character and is a real talking point for his visitors.

Every time he visits he asks if I have found anything else in the house, but sadly that was the only treasure we uncovered. He also brings a bag of coffee, freshly ground that morning, so he doesn’t have to suffer the apparently inferior brew that we produce with our new fangled machines. As he usually leaves some behind for my pre-work espresso the next day, I have started to see his point. Perhaps an antique coffee grinder would make the perfect present for someone who doesn’t realise how awful electric coffee grinders can be as well!