The Tree House micro gallery

tree house windowThere is an exciting new development at the Tree House: Warwickshire artist Pete Wiseman is setting up a micro gallery of his paintings in one of the upstairs rooms, and probably displaying some more paintings in the shop space itself.  He and a friend are currently painting walls and installing pictures, and this coming Saturday, 2 November, we are having a late opening to launch the gallery.  Whether it will be finished or still a work in progress remains to be seen, but they are working hard to get it ready, and there will certainly be some of Pete’s art on the walls to enjoy and cards of his paintings to buy, as well as a chance to browse in the bookshop and buy a cup of hot chocolate.

So if you don’t fancy the crowds at the fireworks display at the castle, the Tree House can offer you a civilised alternative.  Or call in on your way back!  It will be fab to have some art on display, and if you like his paintings you can commission your own – portraits are one of the things Pete specialises in.

Just don’t try playing the piano – it still sounds dreadful.  Hoping to get a tuner out to give it some TLC soon!

Bits and pieces

tree house windowFirst of all, I apologise that the bookshop was closed today until 3 o’clock – the same will apply next Thursday too (31st), but we may stay open later next Thursday playing MR James ghost stories in the shop as an antidote to the more commercial side of Halloween…

After that, we will be back to normal, as I am in the process of giving up my paid employment.  I am scaling back initially, but come the New Year I will be able to give the shop my undivided attention, except for a few Tuesdays in the spring when I will be teaching in Oxford.  As it is, I am juggling the shop with a job at Warwick University library and both face to face and online tutoring at Oxford, so it’s all a bit fraught trying to keep the shop open, and the library job is the one that will go.

The shop is doing well, but unless the wonderful enthusiasm I constantly receive from customers translates into greater spending power, it won’t survive.  The programme of events is growing all the time, though I am still struggling to get those cinema speakers wired in!  Don’t know why it’s proving so hard to get this done.  But heartfelt thanks to all who have supported and continue to support the shop and the project so generously!  Keep spreading the word.

On a brighter note, Warwickshire artist Pete Wiseman is setting up a micro gallery in one of our upstairs rooms – will keep you informed about that – he is up there painting the walls as I type!

If anyone feels up to handing out flyers in the town centre on a Saturday morning, I’d love to hear from you.  I am away this Saturday, but can leave some for anyone who could do this!

Do look at our events page, as things are being added all the time.  And if you need a small meeting room in central Kenilworth, do get in touch.

Oh, and the piano is in…but sounds just dreadful!  I am hoping it can be tuned (any piano tuners out there please feel free to get in touch!), but for the moment at least it looks lovely.

Mishmash of a blog post, but it’s a mishmash of a venture at the moment!

Children – draw a treehouse for the Tree House in half-term!

tree house windowLooking for something to do with your children during half term?  The Tree House will be having a drawing competition for children on Wednesday 30th October.  I would love children of all ages to come and draw a picture of a treehouse – all the drawings will be put up on the wall in the children’s area in the shop, and there will be prizes for the best.  Two age categories – 8 and under, and 9 and over – and there will be two prizes in each category.  I’m hoping to get a local artist to be head judge!

We will have paper, crayons and pencils, so bring your children and grandchildren along anytime between 10am and 4pm.  Children can make their pictures at home if they prefer and bring them in on the day,

Don’t forget to write name, age and contact details (phone or email) on the back.

Looking forward to lots of creativity at the Tree House!



tree house windowI’m very excited – the Tree House is about to get a piano!  In time for Christmas too, so we can sing Christmas carols, and am hoping for lots of sing-songs and general merriment around the piano.

It does open up other possibilities – if people want to use it to practise, to give piano lessons, or just to come and play.  Pianists, drop in and give us a tune!  Would be lovely to have some live music when the shop is open – indoor busking.  You can keep whatever people throw into the hat!

Getting ahead of myself slightly, as the piano has not yet been delivered, but hoping it will be in the next few days.  I’ll post a photo when it’s installed.  Any piano removers, do feel free to get in touch!

To inspire you, here is someone who is unlikely to drop in and give us a tune, but a girl can dream.

Tai Chi and needlework at the Tree House

tree house windowThe Tree House is becoming the place to be in Kenilworth on Wednesday evenings, for those of a quieter persuasion!  A few weeks ago, Tree House volunteer Pauline Davies set up Nifty Needles, a group for those who do any kind of needlecraft to get together and stitch, chat and eat homemade cake.  Now, unexpectedly but rather wonderfully, Ernie Boxall of Balance Health and Fitness has begun to use the shop as a venue for his Tai Chi classes on Wednesday evenings too.  So last week we had people knitting, crocheting and embroidering on one side of the room, and a group of people doing Tai Chi on the other.  It worked well, and the gentle music accompanying the Tai Chi was appreciated by the stitchers too.  We also had Jonathan on the far side of the room putting together some shelving…it was all slightly surreal, but fun, and great to see the space being used.

So if you are a needleworker of any kind and would like to come along with your latest project, just turn up on Wednesday evening at 7pm.  It ends when people want to go home!  I would stress that this is a social group not a class, though I am sure people are willing to share tips.  There is a £2 charge to cover costs, including refreshments.

And if you would like to join the Tai Chi class, contact Ernie Boxall – the class is also at 7pm, for an hour, and the cost is £5.

More details via the Events tab above or on the Tree House Facebook page.


treehouselogo-copy6.pngIt looks as though the setting up of film nights at the Tree House is getting closer, as I have found a company who may be able to install what we need at an affordable price.  Would be great to start showing films regularly, so fingers crossed!  We will operate the film nights as a club, in order to comply with the licence for showing films (otherwise the licence is prohibitively expensive), but all that really means is that you will need to pay a small fee to join and then pay per film, you won’t be committed to paying for films you may not be able to watch.  More details once the installation is done – and keep an eye on the Film Club page on this site.  Exciting!

Speaking of projectors (well I was, sort of, by implication at least), I’d also like to remind everyone of some art history talks I am offering in November and December, on German Renaissance art on Tuesday mornings.  See the Events tab here and the Facebook page for more info – they start on 12 November.  It would be good to have an idea of numbers in advance, so if you are thinking of coming to the first one, do let me know – no commitment, just to give me an indication.

A few odd jobs…

Gill Sans poster (2)Those of you who are old enough and went to Kenilworth Grammar School will remember our Latin teacher, Mr Chapman, who was nicknamed Oddjob because of his physical resemblance to the James Bond character.  Those of my generation will remember the headmaster, Mr Farrell, in an end of year assembly telling us that there were a few odd jobs to be done, and the guffaws of laughter with which this was met.  Sorry for the seemingly irrelevent reminiscence…I am getting old.  But – at the Tree House, there are a few odd jobs to be done!  And I couldn’t help but be reminded of that long-ago incident.

I would love any help that anyone is able to give with the following – these are in order of urgency:

  • Putting together some boltless shelving
  • Fixing a couple of bookcases to the wall (one will need a drill that can cope with solid concrete)
  • Painting walls in the upstairs rooms, and one big wall in the main shop
  • Help any afternoon (Weds-Sat) with washing up cups and coffee pots, any time between 3pm and 5pm

Cake and books can be offered as payment.  How can you resist?




Gill Sans poster (2)The shop will be open today, but I won’t be there until around 2.30-2.45.  Rosemary, who will be holding the fort until then, will be on her own for the first time – so if anyone is around and can give her a bit of moral support, that would be fab!  I have another (paid!) job on a Thursday during the university term time, so for the next few weeks any offers of an hour or two to help keep the shop open on Thursdays would be gratefully received.  It’s market day in town, so not the best day to close the shop.

And while I’m here – don’t forget that we now have two meeting rooms to rent out, both of which can hold small groups of people, with a kitchen adjacent, and the shop space can be hired for evening events – all at reasonable rates.  The central location and being right next to the car park make it a good venue!


We had a lovely evening at the Tree House last Friday with the band English Jones, who came down from Sutton Coldfield to play for us.  They were great – fun and friendly as well as providing some lovely mellow music – and they have a female bass player, always a good thing!  It was great to host the event, and as always having live music enriched the atmosphere of the bookshop – I do think part of the live music events stays in the walls, it’s such a special thing, and each event we have seems to make the whole place feel better.

English Jones at the Tree House

English Jones at the Tree House

Our next event is our first author event – Sandra Peachey, a Coventry-based author coming to talk about her book Peachey Letters on Friday 11th October at 8pm, tickets £3.  We are not licensed, but you can bring your own bottle of something – we have glasses, cups and corkscrews, and usually try to offer tea and coffee for sale, with varying degrees of success!  Working on a better system for that.  Hope to see some of you there.

Next music event is 1 November – folk trio The Bailey Sisters – more on that in due course!