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Fabric-hunting forays in Frankfurt

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to use this dammed hotel internet here in Frankfurt, so this update is being sent one letter at a time from my cellphone. Not that it changes my typing speed much.
It was -9 degrees here when we got off the plane at 5am yesterday morning. Bit of a shock after the balmy afternoon spent at Poderi Crisci on Waiheke Island the day before.
I have stopped over in Frankfurt many times over the years but never actually visited the city. We asked the obliging Pakistani taxi driver to come back and give us a tour of the city, on an hourly rate, once we had checked in. When he duly arrived at 9am, it was still only half light and snowing gently, but the temperature had increased to a relatively tropical -2 degrees. "Everything to see in Frankfurt is within a radius of 5 kilometres,” he said proudly. He drove us through all the regular spots: The old city, the opera house, the Rhine, the red light district and the cathedral. His commentary was not so much about the city, more a ball-by-ball description of the 1992 Cricket World Cup semi final where Imran Kahn squared off against Martin Crowe and Inzamam-ul-Haq ran amok with his bowling to destroy New Zealand, leaving Pakistan to face England in the final. When the driver had finally described the last over of the game, we were less than an hour into the city tour. But he suddenly announced that that was it, there was nothing more to see in the whole of Frankfurt and dropped us, somewhat perplexed, back to our hotel where we still had five hours to wait before we could access our rooms.
Still, I was feeling I had made a lucky escape from Auckland. I had, the previous morning, made a terrible error. There had been much rapid hand clapping, and Bad Jelly had been momentarily lost for words, when she caught me opening the entire top of the yoghurt carton and not just the spout. I felt certain that, given this unforgivable mistake on my part, I would miss her, but that I'd be a lot safer on the other side of the world.
We have come to Frankfurt for Heimtex, the world’s largest home textile fair. It's our first visit here. We have previously visited smaller, boutique fairs in other more remote parts, but the threat of terrorism makes those places less appealing these days and we kidded ourselves that this was a much safer option.
I feel like a kid at Christmas. The fair opens tomorrow and we are all chattering excitedly about the new products we will find to bring back home with us.
Our business has changed dramatically over the last few years. The big brands we grew up with generally started to be made in the east and the quality could no longer be relied on. They more often than not appeared, overpriced, in department stores and bulk retailers, only to reappear a few weeks later in a "half price” sale, only this time only a little overpriced.
Finding goods of style and quality that were still good value became virtually impossible, so we set out to find new, exclusive and exciting good value products of our own. Today we bring in a large percentage of our own stock; feather products like our duvets, toppers and pillows, sheets, some towels and throws, as well as some types of rollers blinds and cell blinds. Blind and curtain automation systems are also imported directly by us. Most importantly, an increasing percentage of our designer curtain fabric range, and our exclusive linings are all sourced each year at events like this one.
Who knows what we will find tomorrow to bring back home but, by a stroke of luck, I spied yesterday a special German fridge yoghurt container that has now been purchased, and will hopefully overcome the latest problem in our marriage. 

Home Fabrics, 28 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna 09 486 1103 www.homefabrics.co.nz

By Gerald Sheehy

Channel Magazine: Issue 73 February 2017

Columnist articles by Gerald Sheehy