Probably the best little book shop in the entire world

The Barrister’s wig and gown displayed in the corner of the new floor ‘Murder and the Barrister’

The Barrister’s Book Chamber

I recently had the very good fortune to be invited to a bloggers event at the Barrister’s Book Chamber https://barristersbookchamber.com/ in Retford, North Notts. The book shop has opened a new department ‘Murder and the Barrister’ on the top floor of the listed, Georgian building that it occupies.

An image of books wrapped up in brown paper and string
Books wrapped in brown paper and string – a nice detail

The Barrister in Wonderland

This is the latest, most exciting innovation for the Book Chamber. It follows hot on the heels of the ‘Barrister in Wonderland’ http://savourthemoment.co/literature/the-barrister-in-wonderland-a-childrens-book-shop-with-a-difference/. It is an absolutely delightful children’s book shop and a ‘must visit’ – no matter what your age!

The striking shop from of the new book shop in town, black and gold with an Alice in Wonderland tea party themed window display
The Barrister in Wonderland, a children’s books shop with a difference

Cluedo

The Barrister’s Book Chamber put on a ‘movie night’ for us bloggers in their fiction room. Comfy chairs, bean bags, nibbles, popcorn and drinks and we were set for the film. ‘Clue’ is a 1985 drama/mystery/comedy based on the board game ‘Cluedo’ and was perfect for the occasion.

Wine, popcorn and nibbles and the show begins
Wine, popcorn and nibbles and the show begins

The tour begins

With the film over we were given a tour of the upper rooms. Unique decor of scarlet blood splats against the signature ‘Barrister’s blue’ runs throughout and up the dog-leg staircase. There are street names on the walls of where the Ripper’s victims were found, which are a conversation piece in themselves.

Blood splats and street names related to Jack the Tipper
Blood splats and street names relating to Jack the Ripper
A selection of Jack the Ripper related books
A selection of Jack the Ripper related books in the Barrister’s room

Agatha Christie… of course!

A little nook that has a Georgian window, is currently home to ‘Agatha Christie’. This little area will become home to other famous crime writers over time.

A little nook that is currently the Agatha Christie room
A little nook that is currently the Agatha Christie room

Crime Fiction

The crime fiction room is completely filled with every kind of crime fiction you can imagine. Generally the price rule throughout the shop is paperbacks £2 and hardbacks £3 – which is a steal. If there is a particular book that you are after, they will do their best to get it for you, although it might cost a bit more. As you might expect, so do special editions and some vintage books.

This image is of the Crime Fiction Room. A chandelier grandly illuminating the central criminal display
This image is of the Crime Fiction Room. A chandelier grandly illuminates the central ‘criminal’ display

An all-purpose Workshop Room

Moving on and we are in the ‘Workshop Room’ or meeting room. Tastefully kitted out with tables and chairs to make a welcoming space. The potential uses of this area are endless. It can be a quiet area for yoga, meditation, networking, crafting or IT workshops…

The very useful ‘Workshop Room’
…and a very useful ‘Workshop Room’

A stenotype too!

Finally on the top floor is the Barrister’s room which is small and quirky. It holds a collection of Jack the Ripper books amongst other things. The Barrister’s robe, wig and brief bags are on display in here too. A real-life stenotype is in here too! (Only ever seen in period courtroom dramas before.) And if you are lucky enough and Dave is around, you may get to hear all sorts of fascinating anecdotes and stories which bring this room to life. Dave is the man who physically brought Angela’s dream of the Book Chamber to life. They are a very talented team.

The Barrister’s wig and gown displayed in the corner of the new floor ‘Murder and the Barrister’
The Barrister’s wig and gown displayed in the corner of the new floor ‘Murder and the Barrister’
A vintage stenotype
Delighted to see this vintage stenotype on display

All this and cake too

You don’t have to be on the look out for a book to visit this shop either. A lovely, comfy little tea room is at the back of the ground floor. Incredible homemade cakes are created by Laura, another member of the team, which she brings in fresh every day. Also in here are vinyl records, as well as tea and coffee of course!

A very cosy tea room with a varied selection of homemade cakes and a selection of teas and coffees
The cosy tea room – homemade cakes and a selection of teas and coffee

You never know what you might find in this Aladdin’s cave

Remember those colour-coded Penguin books from the 1930s and 40s? Well there are quite a few of the green ‘murderous’ ones on display… but don’t tell everyone!

The unmistakable, vintage, green and white Penguin crime books
The unmistakable, vintage, green and white Penguin crime books

Extremely innovative

Keep your eye on the Barrister’s Book Chamber, there is always something new happening there. I wonder what’s in store next for this clever little shop?

The Barrister in Wonderland

A large red ‘pocket’ watch draped in ivy is set at a jaunty angle from the top shelf

A new member of the Barrister family

The new ‘Barrister in Wonderland’ is the latest arrival to the Barrister’s Book Chamber family https://barristersbookchamber.com.  It is entirely dedicated to children’s books all stocked in the new, cosy premises.  You will find it in rural North Notts https://www.northnotts.co.uk/.  But this is not your average high street shop. This member of the family-run business only sells books for kids -in a very imaginative way. ‘The Barrister in Wonderland’ sits on a busy thoroughfare.  It is bright, fun and instantly welcoming.  The perfect place to get lost with a new find.

The striking shop from of the new book shop in town, black and gold with an Alice in Wonderland tea party themed window display
The Barrister in Wonderland, a children’s books shop with a difference

So many children’s books

The ‘Barrister in Wonderland’ is at 66 Carol Gate in the heart of the historic market town of Retford.  As you might guess from its name, it reflects the classic story.  It is an adventure inside and out. This is an independent bookshop that specialises in only children’s books.  It aims to appeal to inquisitive minds.

Rows and rows of story books completely cover one wall
Story books galore

My own secret hiding place

The ‘Barrister’s Book Chamber’ itself arrived on the Retford high street eighteen months ago.  However, since then I have taken many friends and family to visit this ‘book shop with a tea shop’.  It is my ‘meeting place’ of choice.  There are nooks and crannies in which to get cosy with a cup of tea and a piece of cake… the cakes, well that’s a whole blog on its own!  So, I was very eager to meet the newest addition to the Barrister family.

Pink flamingos and strategically placed books making a striking display
The Alice in Wonderland tea party themed window

A real delight

This little gem is full of fun artwork, it covers every available surface.  A tea party is the centre of the window display… and also on the ceiling inside!  It is a sight to behold.  Children of all ages will be completely entranced.  There is even a ‘grassy’ area for kids to sit and sample new stories.  See if you can find the White Rabbit disappearing into a hole with his pocket watch.  I promise he is there but not quite where you might expect to find him.

A blue chair and a red table set for tea are secured upside down to the ceiling
A tea party on the ceiling!

 

Story book wall

An entire wall is filled with story books, both new and second-hand.  There is a ‘Young Reader’ section too with easy to find books all sorted alphabetically by author.  Board books for tinies for as little as £1.  Arranged around the counter are vintage and classic story books and annuals.  Then there is a reference or non-fiction section with history, science, maths, cookery, crafts… and of course, a teen fiction section.

An elaborate mirror, decorated with blue butterflies adds a very ‘Wonderland’ dimension to the shop
An elaborate mirror decorated with butterflies adds a different dimension to the shop

Souvenirs of the visit

Unique book-marks, page markers, story blocks and lots more can be purchased at pocket-money prices.  A nice reminder of a visit to a very special little book shop.

A tiny fairy door behind which is another fairy door - lit and decorated. It’s low down near the floor, easily accessible for little fingers
A tiny fairy door behind which is another fairy door – lit and decorated. It’s low down near the floor, easily accessible for little fingers

Open to suggestions

The ‘Barrister in Wonderland’ is a children’s bookshop with a difference.  The staff loves kids and kids’ books.  The manager, Laura, is keen to form relationships with local schools.  She would like to hear what her visitors want and will be led by them.  Events will be very much driven by what her customers want.

Shelves of books for Young Readers
The Young Readers section

Inspiration for young minds

This bookshop is completely child-friendly and is bound to inspire and entertain young readers.  It is jam-packed with brilliant characters, tall tales and wonderful stories.  The perfect place to get lost together in a book.

A full size chair and small chair with a table by the fire on a grassy patch
Take a seat by the fire to settle down with a good book

Something for every child

There are bright displays to entice young readers to choose their next read, from board books for babies, to thrillers for teens.  As a result there’s an eclectic collection with something for every child.

A large red ‘pocket’ watch draped in ivy is set at a jaunty angle from the top shelf
A very Wonderland clock

Bookish décor

The ‘Barrister in Wonderland’ is home to some of the cleverest, bookish decor you’ve ever seen.  It is easy to navigate and there’s plenty of space to browse.  Kids will love to explore the shelves and hand-pick their new favourite character.

A six foot high, higgledy-piggledy, stack of books are formed into in archway at the entrance of the shop
A higgledy-piggledy stack of books makes the perfect entrance into the shop

A comprehensive selection

This is a treasure trove of children’s books.  A boutique that has almost every genre of book to inspire young ones to dive into a story.  The in-the-know booksellers are eager to recommend the perfect story, which is sure to encourage a love of reading – in even the most reluctant of readers.

A box contains brown-paper wrapped books a cryptic message on the front, a pot luck blind date with a book
A unique idea – blind date with a book

A veritable treasure trove

This magical emporium is full of second-hand and new wares.  Vintage finds and treasures just waiting to be discovered.  It is exactly what it says above the door – a wonderland of books just for kids.  Perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in some classic and well-loved tales – at a pocket-money price!

Playing cards play an important role in the quirky decor
Quirky, Wonderland themed artwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait to see the look on the faces of my little ones when I take them to visit.  This is definitely something to do with the grandkids  https://thegrandparenthub.com/ when you visit North Notts https://www.innorthnotts.co.uk/

The Book Club

The original Barrister’s Book Chamber

A new book shop opened in town just before Christmas last year ‘The Barrister’s Bookchamber’ https://barristersbookchamber.com/   This shop has a very interesting, unique and Dickensian style.  It sells all kinds of books: antique, vintage, used, old, secondhand, paperbacks, hardbacks, fact and fiction in fact you name it and they probably have a copy of it… yes, even ‘Fly Fishing’ by J R Hartley.

The shop is Angela Rowntree’s baby, a barrister herself, who wanted to recreate the feel of a genuine Victorian barrister’s chamber just like her own used to be.  

The opening of the new establishment was a Dickensian affair too with Ebenezer Scrooge ‘greeting’ the constant stream of intrigued townsfolk.  All books very reasonably priced so a purchase had to be made.  I knew my son would love the very old and battered copy of ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Ebenezer Scrooge at the opening of the original book shop

The look of the shop has been very thoughtfully put together and the atmosphere is cosy, warm and inviting – particularly as it has a tea room which sells the most amazing cakes.  The urge to sit a while to stay and read is irresistible.

A search on Facebook found their page and very quickly the Bookchamber was posting about writing and poetry workshops, children’s book-themed parties, as well as guest author events and eventually the announcement that the Barrister’s Bookchamber was to start its own Book Club.  First meeting to be held early in the New Year. Was I interested? Yes, I was.

An all-female group (although a man has subsequently joined us) turned up from diverse backgrounds and with varied tastes in literature.  Introductions over, the first book was chosen ‘The Collector’ by John Fowles.  I think it would be safe to say that the following month, the group was fairly evenly split on their appraisal of the book, it was a bit – Marmite!  We have just had our August meeting to discuss ‘1984’ by George Orwell – it turned into a lively, political debate with some incredible insights and comparisons.  In between we have read Oscar Wilde, Gail Honeyman, Clare Douglas, Fiona Barton and Marian Keyes – an eclectic selection.  I think the only book we have unanimously enjoyed together is ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman, which seems to be every book club’s read of the moment.

It was as we discussed the latter that I came clean and confessed that I had not actually read the book but that I  had listened to it on ‘Audible’ https://www.audible.co.uk/ Audible is a guilty pleasure of mine, it means I can ‘get lost’ without having to sit down or go to bed!  I can walk for miles, do the ironing, clean the bathroom, cook, bake – enjoy two pleasures at the same time!  I had expected hands to be thrown up in horror but they weren’t, in fact it was no big deal.  Don’t misunderstand me, I do love ‘actual books’ and I do read ‘actual books’ but ever since childhood, I have loved being read to and enjoy just… listening.

The Book Club has introduced me to new people, new books, new views and even new friends… and a shop full of amazing books, which I can either listen to or read.

A Snapshot in Time

This image keeps popping back into my head even though I took it well over a year ago.

We were on a camping trip with my son, Luke and his family to Clapton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire.  The campsite, owned and run by an elderly lady, was dominated along one side by a big, old, dark brown barn.  Some of the slats were slipping,  leaving just enough space for an iPhone to take aim.  It was late evening, the sun was sinking and a blackbird sang.  It was as though each object in the barn had been specifically placed in order to create this composition. 

A look through a peephole into an old barn

I can tell you know more, it is just a snapshot in time.  Another moment to savour, it reminded me of:

Adlestrop  by Edward Thomas (about a Gloucestershire village station):

Yes. I remember Adlestrop

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat, the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.

No one left and no one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,

No whit less still and lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang

Close by, and round him, mistier,

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.