Barter Books

Monday morning and you drive from the holiday cottage in Alnmouth to the posh market town of Alnwick, pronounced Annick. The Transformers movie franchise has recently been filming in the castle. It sounds improbable.

Filled with excitement the three of you, beautiful wife and silly pooch, enter the largest second hand bookshop in the UK; Barter Books, filling the disused train station.

So many books, too many books, where do you begin, where do they end. You split up. Helen looks for the arts and crafts section. Nelly tags along. You head to the travel section.

Three books selected, £10. The nice man at the counter offers Nelly a treat. Our trio retires to the cafe and a roaring open fire. You ponder how busy it is, a tourist spot. Most second hand book shops are quiet, too quiet. Barter Books is busier now than when it was a train station.

Later that day you start reading one of the books purchased, All Points North by Simon Armitage. You admire the writing style and try to emulate it in this blog. 50 pages into the book you realise that the author wasn’t the replacement host for the TV music quiz show Nevermind the Buzzcocks.

Maybe a return visit to Barter Books is in order.