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?

Savour a Long Walk in the Lowlands of Scotland

The Loch Leven Heritage Trail

A view across the icy blue water of Loch Leven
The view across Loch Leven, Perth and Kincross

A perfect path

Get your boots on and get ready for a long walk in the lowlands of Scotland!  Loch Leven is the perfect place for a long walk in the lowlands.  There is an excellent, all-abilities path around the perimeter – the Loch Leven Heritage Trail.  The trail can be accessed from several points around the loch where there are good car-parks.  It is a freshwater loch near Kinross in Perth and Kinross, central Scotland.  The loch is about 6km at its longest.  Kinross lies at its western end and Loch Leven Castle lies on an island just offshore.  Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there in 1567.  There are ferry trips across to it during the summer.  And it is here that we chose to take a long walk – and a bike ride!  

Part-way round Loch Leven is a surprise beach. Great for dogs!
Part-way round Loch Leven there is a small beach area

Walk it or bike it

My friend and I started the walk from Loch Leven cycles http://www.lochlevencycles.co.uk/ where our husbands were kitted up with helmets and bikes.  The lady there was extremely helpful.  I would definitely recommend a visit, especially if you are a ‘pedal-head’!  Anyway, my friend and I got a head-start on a glorious, bright, chilly morning. The path was easy to navigate and easy to walk.  Nice and flat. Just how we like it.

A glimpse of Saint Serf’s Inch Island can be seen in the middle of Loch Leven
Another stunning view of Loch Leven with a glimpse of Saint Serf’s Inch island

A view of St Serf’s Island

As we left Kinross behind us Loch Leven opened out before us.  If you are lucky, and the water level is right, several islands can be seen in the loch.  St Serf’s Inch is the largest of the islands and it was the home of a  Culdee (a Christian monastic community) and then an Augustinian monastic community,  St Serf’s Inch Priory.

Not a soul in sight, just the bronzed bracken and the icy water of Loch Leven
Not a soul in sight, just bracken and Loch Leven

There is a good choice of refreshment stops.  Take a short detour off the trail to Loch Leven’s larder, https://www.lochlevenslarder.com/  where I am reliably informed that the carrot cake was the ‘best ever’.  Then there is the RSPB Visitor Centre https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/loch-leven/ about half way round.  Again, good facilities – and cake!

The final stretch

Finally, it’s worth having a wander around ‘Todd and Duncan’, to have a look at the cashmere – some gorgeous stuff in there. https://www.todd-duncan.co.uk/ Oh and cake too!  This is where our 13 mile walk around the loch ended and we met up with our cyclist partners.  It seems they had a great day too.

The baby-blue, endless sky ove loch Leven
The endless sky over the the Loch Leven nature reserve

National Nature Reserve

Loch Leven is the main part of the Loch Leven National Nature Réserve.  It is the largest lowland loch in Scotland and an important site for waterfowl.  Over 35,000 birds can be around during the winter months.  The birds arrive at Loch Leven from some far flung places, such as Greenland, Iceland, Siberia and northern and central Europe. A bird-watcher’s – and fungi spotter’s paradise!

Red, forest fungi. All manner of wildlife can be spotted on a walk around Loch Leven
Red, forest fungi

Let me introduce myself…

My name is Sharon, welcome to my blog.

I moved out of the city a couple of years ago and my life changed completely.  I now find myself in the middle of England’s best kept secret… the beautiful, gentle Nottinghamshire countryside.  I had a busy, stressful life as a Marketing, Communications and P.R. Manager but now my focus is on very different things,  which I would like to share with you.

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