No, nothing to do with Russian secret police, but a website offering discounted deals on all kinds of things from household goods to hotel stays at home or abroad. Linda and I have often taken advantage of hotel deals – Harrogate and Oban being two that I have blogged about – and this last weekend we headed off to Northumbria for a couple of nights at the Blue Bell in Belford, very handy for our main reason for the visit the huge second-hand book shop situated a few miles down the A1, in the old Alnwick railway station. That was a wonderful experience and I’m sure we’ll both be back to do it again sometime. The bookshop is called Barter Books which was first opened in 1991.
It stocks all sorts of books, including old leather-bound tomes to the most up to date paperbacks; novels - historical and contemporary; reference books; coffee table books; children’s books; musical scores; maps;travel guides – old and more up to date….. you name it, they probably have it, and can find it quickly for you, being very organised, a cross between a library and a big High Street bookstore. As its name implies you can bring in your own unwanted volumes and they will give you a voucher against any purchases you make!
Oh to be able to spend a cold wet day there, relaxing in front of a big open fire, in a comfy chair or sofa, just reading! You could have lunch or afternoon tea in the cafe – the former station waiting rooms, again in front of a roaring fire. You wouldn’t need to go anywhere else all day!!!
We certainly spent a few hours there, Linda ending up with two large carrier bags of books to take home! I was more aware of the books I should be sorting out at home to bring here next time, and only bought three books, reference type books at that, as I still have a huge pile of novels to get through before I buy any more! One of the books I bought was The Contour Road Book of Scotland – originally compiled by my great-uncle Harry, and revised in later years by my dad – in beautiful condition, complete with (a slightly shabby) dust cover.
Well worth the trip to Northumbria, just for the bookstore alone, but there was more to see, as you will see next time!