Tag Archives | england

Amazing bookshops around the world: Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (Bath)

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (Bath, England)
14-15 John Street,
Bath, BA1 2JL
Open: Mon – Sat 9.30am – 6.30pm

Mr B's - the best bookshop I have ever encountered
When I saw Andrea’s bookshops around the world feature I instantly knew that I had to email her about Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath. Isn’t that just the best bookshop name ever?
We stumbled upon it by accident (don’t you find all the best places like that?) and loved it so much we visited it numerous times during our little trip. Here are the reasons I love it:
1. There is a book spabooth upstairs where you can book a session to sit in peace &; quiet to enjoy a book! You can also book a ‘reading therapy’ session where Mr B will help you find the best books for you and go away with a doggy bag of reading treats. More info here.
2. There is a bookshop dog! She is called Vlashka. I really believe that every good bookshop should have a resident bookshop dog.
3. Free tea & coffee upstairs! At Mr B’s you are really welcome to browse for ages. In fact I am sure they would be happy if you spent all day in there. There is no pressure to buy anything but the booksellers are all so lovely & helpful.
4. The tin tin comic wallpaper going up the stairs!
mr b's
I almost want to move to Bath just so that I can join a Mr B’s reading group and spend all weekend there.
Post & photos by Helen from Afeitar

Liverpool In the 50s & 60s – Of Time And the City (Terence Davies)

Let’s be honest. I thought this film was über-pretentious. Sure, it is beautifully made and there were truly funny moments, but half of the time I found myself thinking he was trying too hard to make it as arty as possible. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not as cultivated as I thought. Terence Davies uses newsreel footage and his own voice to show his experience of growing up in Liverpool during the 1950s and 60s and the decadence and end end of the city he used to know. I didn’t think much of his account, but the old images of Liverpool are wonderful. As a long time Beatles fan, I’ve always imagined what Liverpool was like back then, what people wore, what they did, etc. My needs are now more than satisfied.


Amazing bookshops around the world: Rude Shipyard (Sheffield)

Rude Shipyard (Sheffield)
89 Abbeydale Rd
Sheffield, S7 1FE

The Rude Shipyard (or The Rude shipyard beneath my window, to give it its full title) is basically a tiny little house crammed with books, mismatched sofas and rocking chairs which also sells pots of tea and scrummy-looking cakes. To an ex-resident and full time romanticiser and rose-tinted spectacle purveyor of the Steel City, the place just screams Sheffield. I felt instantly welcomed and cheered, and made myself comfortable in a rocking chair by the window with the London Review of Books.


I had a quick chat to a couple of fellow patrons of the cafe, and then settled back with a pot of proper Earl Grey tea (with leaves and a strainer and everything!) and watched the other kinds of leaves (those on the trees) change into their Autumn outfits before stepping out into the golden gusts of wind that blew the sunlight down Abbeydale road.


On finishing my tea I chatted for a while with the lovely lady who served me my tea. She suggested that since it was my first visit, I should go and explore the upstairs of the cafe-cum-bookshop. I dutifully did, only to stumble upon two more lovely rooms crammed with cases and shelves full of books.

On leaving the cafe (albeit reluctantly) I stepped out into a beautifully sunny, fresh, Sheffield October afternoon feeling like I’d found my spiritual home. I was almost sad to leave, until on my journey out of the city I saw a poster for Off The Shelf reading and writing festival which runs from 10 – 30 October throughout Sheffield.
It was with more than a small smile that I departed, knowing I’d be back very soon for more tea and many more books.


Amazing bookshops around the world: Rooke Books (Bath)

Rooke Books, Bath (UK)
16 Northumberland Place
Rooke Books is an extremely magical bookshop in Bath. We stumbled upon it on a freezing cold afternoon last week and I am so glad we did. It was spread out over 4 floors, complete with bubble and ball chairs to relax in. I have never seen such an amazing collection of books, so it’s a real shame that it appears to be closing down.

It’s a shame that bookshops like this are closing down. If you’re in the UK make sure to pay them a visit, and if you’re not, you can still support them by buying something on their online store.

Text and photos by Kate, one of my favourite bloggers and photographers.

Autumn is (nearly) over

Christmas lights are up in (almost) every corner of the world, the temperatures have dropped dramatically in the past week, I’m now wearing my new gloves and thinking about Christmas presents, the longest bank holiday of the year is here (in Spain, that is) and in about a couple of days time my house would give anybody an epileptic fit.

So I’m sharing these photos from last year before it’s too late and I have to save them for next year.

As usual, click on them to see bigger versions on flickr.

Autumn in the forest

The only thing I miss about living in a small town in Kent where there was nothing to do is living next to a huge park full of deer. These photos were taken last autumn, and you can find bigger and better versions on my flickr.

deer fight
why are deer so cute?
alert deer
bunch of deer

Hastings pier destroyed in fire

Hastings pier was destroyed in a fire this morning. As I wrote in a previous post, when I was 15 I spent a summer in Hastings. 11 years later I still consider that summer to be sort of a turning point that made me who I am today.
Even though these daunting pictures make me really upset and it feels like my teenage years are burning down, there’s something about them

I find them fascinating in a way, but not as fascinating as this one from the fire in 1917.

It’s a shame that these things happen. I really like piers. Piers are old and I like old. Piers make me feel like I’m a Victorian lady who has been advised to get some sea breeze. We don’t have piers in Spain. Piers are quintessentially English, and as a country that has lost so many of its traditions and folklore, they should be preserved. 



I recently went to Oxford on a day trip. I’d been to Oxford once before, but at the sort of age when you’re more interested in finding the nearest McDonalds than getting to know the place. In fact, the only thing I remember from that day is trying to leave Pizza Hut without paying. Ah, teenagers.
This time we took our time to walk around taking in the sights and enjoying the occasional moment of sun, eating fish and chips with the union jack on top, browse around some bookshops and visit a museum. My friend couldn’t stop talking about the Pitt Rivers Museum and some shrunken heads, so we headed there straight after lunch. In order to get into the Pitt River you have to walk through the University’s Natural History Museum. The idea of walking through a museum in order to get to another one still excites me to no end and makes me imagine a never-ending museum chain.
I really enjoyed the Natural History museum. It was obviously a lot smaller than the one in London, but I loved how everything was in the same room; the dinosaur next to other animals, etc. We saw lots of dead animals, which was pretty amazing. I was most excited about the giraffe.
The Pitt Rivers Museum is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There is barely any corridor space, and any surface that can be used to show something is already in use. I can’t even start to mention all the stuff we saw, there were just so many things that I found it hard to take it all in. I would just walk around open-mouthed wondering how long it took them to collect all those things.
There were lots of weapons (some really scary looking), costumes, armour, toys, jewellery, skis, Indian totems, playing cards, doctor’s utensils that I wouldn’t want used on me, masks…all sorts of things, really. Including Eskimo dolls, and an octopus penis bone, which was clearly the absolute highlight of the visit.
There are still lots of things that I want to see in Oxford. Fingers crossed I will be back soon.

Londres, pastel sin receta

Last night I finished re-reading Lala Isla’s ‘Londres, Pastel sin Receta’, which translates as ‘London, a cake without a recipe’. I bought this book back when I was 18 and studying economics. Clearly my choice of books should have warned the parents that I was doing the wrong degree. Anyway, Lala Isla moved to London as a young woman in the late 70s. There she found her liberal self free from the conventions of Spain’s francoism, or at least that’s what she thought. The book mixes autobiographical references with a comparative sociological study between Franco’s Spain and Thatcher’s England. Lala uses her story as an excuse to explore the differences between the society in which she grew up and the one in which she still lives as an adult and offers the reader some insight into the British character that is not available to those who visit the country as tourists or to find themselves surrounded by hordes of other Spaniards at all times. Married to an English man and mother to an English-born child, Lala’s chronicles of pregnancy, wedding traditions, family matters and bilingual education go back and forth between the hilarious and the tremendously informative. Highly recommended for anglophiles or any Spanish person who plans to make the move or simply visit the UK.

This book has made me think about my first visit to England, soon to be 10 years ago. I was a 15-year-old who went to a Catholic school and had never been away from her mummy for longer than 4 days. I had always refused to go to summer camps or anything like that, not even for a week, but the idea of spending a month in the UK learning English got into my mind and, after much persuading, my parents agreed to it. That month turned out to be one of my life defining moments, if such a thing can take place in Hastings, East Sussex.

Even though Lala Isla moved to London in the 70s and I went to Hastings in 1999, I could still feel some of the same cultural shocks she talks about. It started when I got to my host family’s house and they explained they were vegetarians. I was horrified. I had never met a vegetarian before and couldn’t understand why somebody would want to live without ham. (jamón serrano or cured ham being one of the cultural pillars of Spain). On the first day, when we went to school to take our level tests, we were introduced to our teacher Geeta, a half Indian woman. Again, I had never seen an Indian person. Geeta was awesome, despite being an extremely loud and misbehaving group, she organised a barbecue for us and brought her two lovely children. In a similar manner, I don’t think I ever talked to a black person who wasn’t an illegal immigrant selling bracelets from bar to bar until I lived with a Jamaican woman in London a couple of years after I went to Hastings. My mother claims the first time I saw a black child I said “look mum! There’s a poor little girl!” because I had only seen starving children on TV. The only coloured person I remember in my childhood was a girl who played the violin at the same academy where I played the piano.

discovering the joys of a British summer

Back to 1999. After this placement test our group leader, who was also from Spain, gave us a tour around town. At one moment he stopped in front of a church and said “this is the Catholic church in case any of you want to go to mass”. My reaction was one of shock. You mean other religions have churches too? By that time I had already decided religion wasn’t for me, but had I been religious I would have just stepped into the nearest one. The tought that maybe that wasn’t the right church wouldn’t have crossed my mind. As far as I knew, there were a handful of other religions around, but I had never met anybody who wasn’t a Catholic except for my neighbour, who I used to tease for not having done her First Holy Communion (I know, I know). I had also never seen a church that wasn’t Catholic, so in my mind other religions were some sort of thing that existed in films and books, but not in real life.

Spanish students and a machus ibericus at some museum

One Sunday, we did a treasure hunt around town and one of the questions was to name 5 places where one could eat a kebab. Eat a whaaaaat? We had absolutely no idea what it was even though we had seen them and wondered if anybody actually ate that disgusting thing. At the end, we had to ask a local about it, who gave us an amused look that showed he clearly thought we were joking. We weren’t.

Kebabs aside, that month really opened my eyes. It made me realise that what we see in school is not actually a clear representation of what the real world is like and, even more importantly, that it is okay to be different and, as a matter of fact, most people are. Oh, and it did wonders for my English too.

This is probably the longest and most personal blog post I have ever written.


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