Sunday, February 10, 2013

Barter Books and All the Magic

J and I were lucky enough to be in Yorkshire with his parents on their anniversary earlier this week. They didn't mind us celebrating their special day with them. What lovely people. 
We started by driving  up north for about an hour to a little town called Durham. There we enjoyed a little walk around the town and some chinese food by the river. After Durham we drove another hour north to Alnwick just to visit a book shop there. I didn't know what exactly to expect but knew it must be something special since they are willing to make the trip all the way up there just to go to the book shop. What we found when we got there was beyond anything I could have imagined. 

The book shop, Barter Books, is in an old railway station, or rather, the railway station is now a vintage/second hand book shop. You enter the shop where they used to receive parcels and sell train tickets. The first thing you see, besides books of course, is a large and welcoming fireplace with a log burning. The room you enter next is where I presume people used to stand and wait for their trains. There is a large mural high up on the wall and if you look closely you will recognize some famous authors on it, such as Jane Austen, Virginial Wolf, Oscar Wilde and many more. Above the books in this room float miniature trains on tiny little train tracks.

In the largest room of the book shop you can still see where the train tracks that are now covered with cement used to be. It is full of books both old and new and the lovely furnishings make you wish you could live there. Through little side windows you can see people sitting with cups of coffee and a book in hand in tiny lovely decorated rooms cozied up by a fire burning in several fireplaces. It's places like this that make you think Harry Potter must be real, either that or he was first imagined and came alive in a place exactly like this.

Above the cashiers counter there is a poster most people today know, but I am guessing not many people know where it came from originally and how it resurfaced in our day and age. It simply says "Keep Calm and Carry On". The post was originally printed for the British people during WWII. It wasn't until the owners of Barter Books found a copy of an original print in one of their auction buys, framed it and hung it up on the wall of their book shop that people started noticing it and showing interest in it. From there it went viral. Here is a Youtube video all about it for those of you who might want to know more. 

I will stop now and let the photos tell what words cannot. I recommend googling Barter Books for more information.

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