In my last of my theme of my favourite bookshops I return to Alderney.
I was sad the day I heard that ‘The Alderney Bookshop’ in Victoria Street had closed down
The Old Alderney Bookshop
but within a year a new bookshop opened was opened by Annie, but this one is in QE11 Street, a cobbled street just off the main thoroughfare. Here is a link to The Bookshop website where you can see pictures of the friendly interior and Annie herself.
In with the new - The Bookshop Alderney
Here is a photo of QE11 street in fog by Neil, a local photographer, which you can buy as an unusual Christmas Card.
The bookshop is not to be missed if you visit the island, because it holds a good selection of books of local interest as well as being well stocked with suitable ‘holiday reads’ for the duration fo your stay, as you pause to enjoy the various beauty spots on the island and its beaches, or you relax at your hotel, B & B or accommodation.
For local people I expect that Annie’s bookshop is a lifeline to literature, for those who have not joined the e revolution. Even if you have, there’s nothing like a browse around a bookshop to whet your appetite for the latest releases and also enjoy a friendly chat.
Whilst camping up in Northumberland during the inclement July weather we headed towards Alnwick for the day, enjoying an informative guided tour of the Poison Garden, which is within the walls of one of the most family friendly floral encounters of my experience. There were fountains to music, walls and tunnels of water to explore, a bamboo maze, a hedge cloisters complete with green framed lookouts over different aspects of the garden and the kitchen garden amongst other highlights.
Later, we were strolling through Alnwick when we noticed an unusual iron arch with the words Barter Books in a semi circle above us. We walked up the path only to be surprised to find old Alnwick Station, now converted into a wonderful bookshop. Not content to boast of an unusual setting, you walk under a working model railway as you browse the bookshelves.
My husband was delighted with a copy of ‘The Story of Brooklands by W Boddy’ and I with ‘Channel Islands’ by Joseph E Morris, given as a gift in 1919. Then we were both pleased with the success of our lengthy search for a 1940’s Road Atlas of the British Isles.
Just as we were leaving we heard this amazing rumble above us and, realising that it wasn’t a train but the sound of a summer storm hitting the skylights, we retreated to the ‘Station Cafe’ where I enjoyed the most delicious mushrooms and Northumberland Rarebit (cheese on toast for any reader from overseas) I have ever tasted. Once consumed we paid for the books, put carefully aside for us while we ate, and headed out into the late afternoon sunshine.
The unveiling of the apostrophe
I pop into Horatio’s whenever I am in Ampthill. It is conveniently next door to a cafe where we like to treat ourselves to breakfast from time to time to make a Saturday morning feel like a holiday. This is its third year and hopefully it will survive the storms of the recession and the ever growing competition from Amazon and the ebook market.
I like Horatio’s. I love to rummage through the shelves of books to see what’s new. Not being a large chain, Rob and his son have free discretion in their selection. How they do it I don’t know, but they certainly must have a passion for books. These ‘New Books’ shelves (as opposed to new bookshelves) are as you enter the shop, but if you can’t find anything there, or your budget is low, there are also shelves of good quality second hand books for you to browse over too; a book lovers dream with comfy chairs where you can relax while you are making your choice.
My only problem is getting back into the cafe before my husband eats my breakfast or it has gone cold!
To make it even better Rob has a points system, so if you return your books in good condition he gives you points towards a future purchase. It’s a win – win situation.
So, this year, when you are wondering whether you can face Milton Keynes for your Christmas Shopping, give a thought to Ampthill and try shopping locally. After all, many of us were forced to do that very thing because of the bad weather last year and there are some brilliant little shops in Ampthill, overflowing with gifts, and what better thing to buy than a book.
Tonight, Sunday 27th November, Horatio’s and other shops will be open late as they turn on the lights in this lovely traditional market town. Why don’t you join the fun and pop into Horatio’s and say hello.