House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Fix - of calm, quiet Booky Coffeeness

Scattered around the world are Happy Places.
My Happy Places.

Some, but not all, are bookshops.
My Favourite Bookshop, just FYI, is Waterstones on Piccadilly, but I am blessed to have a 2nd AND a 3rd favourite.

I wish I could say that one of them was an Indie but sadly, no.
If I had regular (read: any) access to an Independent Bookshop though, I have no doubt it would be a contender.

All this aside, yesterday, I got to spend time with #2.

Waterstones (coincidence?), Swansea.

A hidey-hole of calm, quiet and considered bookyness.  It doesn't feel like a place where the primary concern is the rather vulgar financial transaction of selling paper, with words on it.

Here, I sense their desire to share books & to share their treasure box of enjoyment for them.

When you walk in, you feel the diversity of riches, inviting you, welcoming you to immerse yourself.
Here, you will be entertained, educated, amused, informed & enriched.
All you have to do it take your time, and make the leap.

It helps that it is also, beautiful.  The Art Nouveau frontage, the grand sweeping staircase (of this former Carlton Cinema) as you enter is a thing of beaty and, irresistibily, it draws up UP.

UP is where the most delicious coffee is.

UP is where in spite of all muttered good intentions as you ascend those pretty twisty stairs, the first sighting of a homemade Lemon Cake or Victoria Sponge will leave you powerless to resist.
Anything you want, just give the cake.

It is up to you how you want to do this.
For myself, the Optimum Book-Shopping Experience goe thus.
First, we are talking about an ACTUAL physical thing. That's why I am here, and not buying books sitting on the loo, hoping the Wifi stretches this far, with a Kindle. (no disrespect Kindle, but I am sure alot of your transactions happen there.)

Browse the shelves.
Pick up books.
Feel them.
Smell them.
Examine cover.
Red the back
Open, check font, paper and spine.
(Note: A book may be rejected & replaces, at any point, during the above sequence).

There is one final test I carry out before I decide if it is a Yay or a Nay, but it is a secret.
Not secret because it is terribly clever and high-brow, secret 'cos you will think I am ridiculous if I told you.

Once selection(s) is (are) made ........ THEN coffee.

Never coffee first.

Peruse Selections in an increasing caffeinated, cake-fuelled high.
(Note: this part of The Process is academic.  You will be buying all of them.  We know this.)

Gaze out of that beautiful bay window, if you are lucky enough to have scored yourself a seat there.  Look past the anti-pigeon net, feel like an Elizabethan m'lady locked up in an evil Uncle's beautiful house watching the Cheerful & The Free below go about their lives. #princesscomplex?

IN fact, what I can see from my vantage point within this cocoon of dignified, latte-rich serenity are a series of mobile phone repair/unlocking shops, e-ci vendors, bookies (that is book-IES, places not generally know for their excellent espressos, or books) & H. Street Jewellers.

Withdraw back into this other world, just for a little while longer.

Finish your FlatWhite/Cappu/Whatever, it is time now, Sweetheart.
Time to re-enter the world of parking attendants, mega-super-uber stores & pasties shops.

For me, it will be a while till I can get myself back here.  Such trips are always bittersweet.

But, fortified by these few hours, I shall float along buoyed up by today's purchase until I can get me to another of my Happy Booky Happy Places.

Wherever in the world it may be.

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