Thursday, 11 January 2018


Good Morning to you,

On New Year's Eve, we awoke to a beautiful bright morning. It was very cold, but it was one of those days when the sky was blue, with just a few white fluffy clouds drifting across the sky. The sun shone brightly and it was the kind of day that was encouraging us not to stay indoors, but to go outside and enjoy ourselves.  

.... and enjoy ourselves we did, as we decided to visit the beautiful town of Alnwick.

Now you might be thinking, Alnwick, why do I know that name?

You might recognise Alnwick for a number of reasons. Could it be that you have seen the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The film was shot on location at Alnwick Castle and also used as the setting for Hogwarts Academy.

.... another reason might be that you have read about Alnwick Castle itself or maybe you have visited the beautiful Alnwick Gardens.

No, nothing registering.

Well how about Barter Books?

One of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain.

Barter Books is housed in the old Alnwick Railway Station, which was built in 1887. As a book lover, when you walk through the doors, you know you are in for a real treat.

Upon entering the main part of the shop, you will hear the sound of trains. On first thoughts, you wonder where the sound is coming from, but if you look upwards, there, rattling above your head, you will find a miniature train running along a railway track. I wish you could have seen the faces of the children who were visiting Barter Books with their parents and grandparents.  Their little eyes lit up when they saw the miniature  train.... and I have to say so did quite a few of the dads and granddads.

Once we had walked through the main entrance, George and I split up, because we like to look at different styles of books.  I decided to turn right, where I discovered this old water fountain. I wonder how many people, over the years, have used this water fountain with its drinking cups.

.... and the little water bowls?  Well I have to tell you, dogs are most welcome to visit Barter Books with their owners. It was lovely to see a Spaniel and a King Charles Cavalier pootling along on their leads.  I thought it was wonderful that the visiting dogs were considered. If  needed, they had bowls filled with water to quench their thirst. 

.... and this was the central aisle, filled with so many books.  Above each aisle a line was written from one of my favourite hymns, Jerusalem.

'Bring me my bow, of burning gold, 
Bring me my arrows of desire, 
Bring me my spear o clouds unfold, 
Bring me my chariots of fire'.  

I could carry on, but I feel you are probably singing the words yourself.

I did not walk through the centre aisle straight away, as I was looking for..... yes you've guessed it, cookery books, which were in another direction.

There were quite a few Mrs Beeton cookery books and also Mrs Beeton books of household management.

I was surprised to learn that it was Mrs Beeton who had the idea, of placing the ingredients at the start of each recipe. Something which seems so sensible and commonplace nowadays.

I had to stop at the children's section.  My word, I remember reading Rupert the Bear adventures when I was a child. I also bought the books for Natasha and Danielle when they were little girls. I loved that there were a mix of children's books....  Goofy, Marvel books and even a Star Wars book.

I wonder about the book Mice on Horseback... I would have loved to have read this story, just for curiosities sake.  Maybe I could make up my own story, actually I think Prunella Pepperpot , would write a much better story.

I could not resist taking a photograph of this section, I adore the title 'Smile-A-While'. We should all smile a while.... it is so therapeutic. 

When I read these words, it made me realise, I really could not imagine a world without books.... could you?

I eventually made my way down the centre aisle and look what I discovered, this wonderful Christmas tree of books. What a marvellous idea. The Lloyd Loom chairs were inviting people to sit down, relax and enjoy a good book.  Minutes after I had  taken this photograph, George had chosen a book to read and sat in the left hand chair, where he was settled for an hour whilst I continued my wandering.

By which time, both of us, were ready for a cup of tea before we went to collect Natasha and Danielle, who were visiting the grounds of Alnwick Castle.

.... and did I buy a book.... you just know I did.  As you know I adore vintage cookery books,

and as I had been given some money as a Christmas gift, I bought this 1935 'Round the Clock' Cookery Book.

.... and on the back was an advert for the Radiation New World Gas Cookers, which was the cooker Ivy used.... so this book was meant to come home with me.

.... and George, after reading about 30 pages of his book, he reluctantly vacated the Lloyd Loom chair,

and bought Origin, by Dan Brown.

We collected the girls and had a lovely drive home. Just a thought, I promise I will share some photographs and recipes from my new cookery book quite soon.

Just before I leave you, I thought I would mention, that we will be returning to Alnwick in the spring time when the weather will be much warmer. I feel a tour of Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Gardens is in order.... I just know you will really enjoy yourself.

So take care and I will catch up with you again next Thursday.

As Always.

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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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