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?

Community Spring Clean with Liam Wildish

So many bags of litter!

Liam’s Community Spring Clean

Liam Wildish has recently become a local hero and celebrity with his community-spirited, clean-up of the area.  He runs his own ‘Clean Scene’ window cleaning business and he took it upon himself to clean the odd road sign or two https://www.cleanyx.com/GB/East-Retford/216885679007526/Clean-Scene-Window-Cleaning.  This snowballed and he was soon cleaning nearly all the road signs that were safely accessible for him – in his spare time and at his own expense.  His work was noticed and he found himself in the local paper and then… before he knew it… on BBC Television’s  ‘The One Show’ being interviewed by Matt Baker and Alex Jones. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/  And he went viral too!

Liam Wildish recruits a team of local volunteers for some community action
21 year old Liam Wildish, the organiser of the ‘Big Retford Town Clean-up’

 

 

 

Litter-picking grabbers at the ready

His Facebook following soon grew and he used his newfound celebrity to launch his ‘Clean Up Retford Campaign’.   He jumped through all the hoops to organise a ‘Sunday Morning Clean Up’ and invited all those who could make it, to join him.  Having checked with the local council, he read out the ‘dos and donts’ and made everyone aware of the  ‘risks involved’ and then handed out hi-vis vests and litter-picking-grabbers!

Hi-vis vests, rubbish bags and litter-grabbers are handed out to the team at the start.
Hi-vis vests, rubbish bags and litter-grabbers are handed out to the team

A good crowd for a first community event

I estimate that approximately 20 people turned up, including some members of the local youth club, a dad with a baby strapped to his chest and even a few people from outside the area.

The team gets organised
Liam’s team gets organised with hi-vis vests, bags and grabbers

Many, many, many, cigarette butts

The litter pickers sorted themselves into small groups and broke off in different directions.   We were to return to the start-point in two hours.  Fortunately the day was fine and warm and friendly banter made the two hours fly by.  Many, many, many cigarette butts and at least twenty full bags of rubbish later, Liam’s first community action was complete.

A growing initiative

I am sure that this initiative will grow and that Liam’s next community event will receive even more support.  Credit due to the lad, he gives his time for free and his enthusiasm is infectious.  His intentions are good and he sets a fine example.  We need more Liams!

 

A member of Liam’s team cleaning up the town
Litter-pickers all over town

We shouldn’t have to rely on someone else to clean up our mess

Retford is an historic, Georgian market town in the Bassetlaw area of North Nottinghamshire and like every other small town it  faces struggles.  I think we all know that resources are scant and we can’t always rely on these already overstretched funds to keep our environment immaculately clean.  It is up to us as individuals to take responsibility for our actions.

the litter-pickers return with bags of rubbish
After two hours the litter-pickers return

If everyone did a little – the effect would be huge and we would all benefit

If only everyone would do just a little bit – like tidying up outside their own front door or outside their business – life would be so much sweeter.  It should only take a few minutes, it would be so worth it and the world be a better place… for everyone.

Every little helps, as some big supermarket once said.