Half An Hour With Mr. Farlow

IMG_3081 It was our last day in London. We’d checked off every single thing on our itinerary, save one more decadent tea time. Little Chick was starting to languish a bit (ok fine, I was the one getting a little cranky) as my mother led us through the streets of London like the Bataan Death March. We, however, were marching toward Fortnum & Mason to have scones with fresh lemon curd, triple chocolate truffle cake and giant ice cream sundaes with Chantilly whipped cream. So you needn’t feel too sorry for us.

But it started to rain as we wound our way from Trafalgar Square down Pall Mall. The change in weather was starting to cramp our spirits — just as we stumbled upon Farlow’s.

Now as I’ve said before, there was to be no flyfishing on this trip. No fishing related activities. But my mother and I looked at each other, Little Chick glanced at us both, and without further ceremony we all raced inside.

IMG_3082 Farlow’s was founded in 1840 by Charles Farlow as an angling shop in the City of London. He manufactured his own products and advertised “Half An Hour With Mr. Farlow” to promote his unique brand of personal sales attention.

I can say without reservation Mr. Farlow’s high standard of customer service is alive and well today. It didn’t take long for the three of us to spread out around the entire store and cause quite a commotion. At any given time there were two or three charming gents on-the-ready with helpful advice, sparkling conversation and a quick jab at each others expense — all for our entertainment.

Proving once and for all that flyshops are all the same no matter where you go.

DSCI0218

DSCI0217My mother had an eye on some rods but her practical side took hold and she didn’t want to deal with getting one home. So with the help of our new friends, we each picked out an assortment of flies and filled a box to take to Montana this summer. We’re going to have a friendly family competition to see who catches a Missouri River trout on an English fly we each selected at Farlow’s.

The store is beautiful, the guys are top notch and the merchandise is premium. I had so much fun I almost applied for a job — they do have an opening — but considered the commute and decided against it.

We didn’t buy much, just a hearty selection of flies and a wooden Farlow’s flybox. But true to Mr. Farlow’s slogan, thirty minutes was all it took. Our spirits were lifted. The shelter and the banter were just the shot-in-the-arm we needed to end our time in London on a high note.

9 thoughts on “Half An Hour With Mr. Farlow

  1. FFC, I was pleased to see you found the Texas Embassy…I visited it myself a few years (ok, 11 years) ago.
    The story we heard was that the name was attributed to the embassy the Republic of Texas had in London back when we were our own independent nation. Not bad Tex-Mex either if you are jonesn’for a fix.
    Of course en-chee-LAH-DAH sounds a lot different coming from a waitress who hails from South Africa! LOL

  2. Thanks FFC,

    I’ll be going to London in two weeks and Farlow’s is of our planned stops. I can’t wait. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

    Cheers!

    John

  3. I’ve been in the British Museum several times and it seems like no matter what I always end up looking at the same mummy no matter what door I choose. I just can’t figure that place out. Although, I do tend to stop at the Museum Pub first so that may be part of the problem.

  4. I hope non-flyfishing people are welcome here!
    Oh, I tried it once and got my limit first time out …of under-aged pine trees…had to throw’em back.
    Enjoy your writing, and your doing adventures with daughter. Over the years I found that got us through the high school era of how bad can we shock the parents.
    I would love to go to England & Ireland to hang out in pubs while pretending to do my next travel piece.
    http://sanddollaradventures.wordpress.com/
    But how did you manage when our dollar is worth less than 50 cents over the pond?

  5. What a great trip…sounds like your daughter got some quality education and had fun. I have been to Farlows and you are right …service…is amazing (and knowledgeable) wish the states had that type of mentality.
    glad you made it back…you were missed.

    Monty Montana

  6. Hello FFC,

    Farlow’s is a classic. You missed the fact that in Pall Mall was their old location, before they took over the Bank of Scotland Building. Great remodel to achieve the incredible store that you saw. Next trip, check out the classic tackle and hunting antique store at the end of Pall Mall. Its like going through an old English Estate attic with cane rods, 1890′s salmon flies and boxes, alligatoer steamer trunks, tweeds, old Hardy reels, etc.. If you had walked further past Farlow’s, to where the road turned right is Prince Charles digs, complete with the classic, red garbed, fur hat guards, who pride themselves on stoic, undistractable stares. This one guard did not blink, even when a youug woman had flashed him. Now that is dedication. Continuing one block up on the right side the road is the best cigar store in the world, James J. Fox, where Churchill kept his humidor downstairs. Ask for a tour while puffing on the best cuban cigars. A few doors down is the Lock and Co. Hatters that was established in 1676. Inside are beaver hats from the early 1800′s, that drove the Mountain Men’s pursuit of the fur trade. Not to mention an amzing collection of modern day hats that is a hoot to try on. Of course the fine bespoke english firearms stores are in that area as well. Thanks for the memories…

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