IT’S Konrad Kempka’s last day in his Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, butchers shop, and he might be forgiven for looking a little bit sad. But he isn’t.
There has been a steady stream of customers all morning collecting their orders, already bagged up, which have been phoned and texted in that week.
Less than two years ago this blog and local media were celebrating the shop’s 60th anniversary, a business founded by his Polish father Frank who fled the Nazis in World War Two and found sausages and love in Sheffield.
Earlier this year Konrad and his wife Pat reckoned they’d had enough of spending their days in a cold shop and planned semi-retirement. Konrad put himself out to hire as relief butcher and the shop was opened up on Saturday mornings only to regulars and anyone else who walked by and fancied the best bacon you’ll get in Sheffield, sausages, a few chops or a pound of mince.
Now Konrad has an operation looming on his shoulder. “Surgeons also get it,” he says cheerfully, putting it down to all those years swinging his cleaver and sawing through bones.
So I, like lots of other customers, are stocking up. I’m buying several pounds of rind-on bacon, smoked and unsmoked, for the freezer before the shop closes for the last time.
It will be sad not seeing those home smoked hams hanging in the window at Christmas or the dark red kabanos sausages on the counter.
But Konrad is not quite leaving the world of pork loins and tomato sausages, a Sheffield speciality. After the op he will be working for the butchery at Whirlow Hall Farm, there for a couple of days a week, and is thinking of taking the antique bacon slicer with him. After all, it’s older than he is and older than the shop. It couldn’t be scrapped. It’s a museum piece.
Things are a bit hazy at the moment but hopefully he will still be curing his bacon at Whirlow. And making those celebrated pork pies.