Standing six feet, seven inches tall, with a rotund figure and a very friendly smiling face, Simon Parminter is the perfect image of a traditional butcher.
He has spent his working life in the picture postcard village of Haddenham where his shop on The Green has featured in several television programmes.
He sells more than 3,000 pies every month, from his shop and also from Aylesbury Farmer’s Market where he has a stall on the last Tuesday of each month.
But all of this is now coming to an end as he has decided to retire to Hereford with his wife Margot to enjoy a less busy life
The main injury he has suffered in his long career is a damaged finger caused while gutting a pheasant.
One of the bones went into his finger, causing an infection. He eventually had to go into hospital to have it split open, but he didn’t lose his finger and now the only evidence of the injury is a large bump.
I was hopeless at woodwork and metalwork and so when they made the offer of doing cookery I jumped at itButcher Simon Parminter
But he has an arthritic knee from general wear and tear, and from years of standing a lot in the shop, and he has regular physiotherapy to ease the pain.
In retirement he hopes to travel, do voluntary work with steam engines and devote time to painting and drawing.
He said: “We’ve been going to Hereford for 20 years. I relax down there, it’s a different pace of life, it’s very much like Aylesbury used to be when I was a boy in the Sixties. Most of the shops are independents, the pace of life is slower, it a lovely part of the world with beautiful scenery.”
Mr Parminter was born at the Royal Bucks Hospital and lived with his parents in Hartwell End, Aylesbury.
His father ran the butchers shop at the bottom of the High Street with his own father, but when it was compulsory purchased to widen Exchange Street the family moved to Haddenham when Mr Parminter was 10-years-old.
He said: “As a boy I never helped in the shop. I don’t think I was ever interested at that time. I preferred cookery. My mother was an amazing cook and I watched her and helped to make cakes.
“I went to the Mandeville School and I was in one of the first years where they allowed boys to do cookery.
“I was hopeless at woodwork and metalwork and so when they made the offer of doing cookery I jumped at it.
“We didn’t get teased about it, we took stuff home and most of the other boys got envious of what was in our tins. A lot of them wished they could do it.”
After leaving school Mr Parminter started work at The Spread Eagle in Thame whilst also studying for his City and Guilds in catering at Aylesbury College.
He started as a washer upper and after 15 years he had risen to become second chef.
But in the end the unsocialable hours did it for him, and he joined his father in the family business to begin his long career as a butcher, producing top quality sausages, burger s and pies.
He met his wife in 1982 when she worked at Barclays Bank in the village, and they married at St Mary’s Church on the village green.
Mrs Parminter handles the financial side of the business but also accompanies her husband at the Farmers Market.
They have one daughter, Zoe, who lives in the village and works in London as a scientific patent researcher.
Parminters is as much a part of the village as the duck pond, and will be sorely missed. It has featured several times in episodes of Midsomer Murders, and Mr Parminter also appeared in an episode of Stately Suppers with television chef James Martin.
Mr Parminter said: “He came to the shop and chatted with me about game birds and in the evening I had to go to Nether Winchedon Manor to have a meal cooked by him. That was fun.”
He would love to see his home and shop sold as a going concern. There has been a butcher on the site since 1776, and a shop since 1905.
Mrs Parminter said: “We have a cellar in the house and there is the remains of a meat locker there, from the days before refridgeration when the meat would have been stored there as the coldest place in the house.”