Live music in September

I have been cautious about booking live music since the lockdowns, as you know, and not sure at all I had the energy now to carry on with it – it’s tough organising, promoting and hosting as a solo venue owner, despite some lovely help on the nights (usually!) from volunteers. But I am being lured back in by the music itself…and the three gigs we’ve had since things opened up again have been fabulous. I am still uncertain about the future, but we do have a wondrous gig coming up in September, with Will Pound & Jenn Butterworth. Go to our Live Music page for more info and booking information – I am only selling tickets online at the moment. Hope you can make it!

They said it wouldn’t last…

My little second-hand bookshop is 9 today! We opened our doors in our first premises on 26 July 2013. We were there for about 18 months, then had a couple of months when I was looking for new premises and found the shop we are currently in was just about within budget. Then and now photos below! It’s been a rollercoaster – very close to closure at times – but has survived thanks to huge support from a lot of people. Thank you if you are one of them! Few believed you could make a success of selling second-hand books, and while success may be an overstatement (one of the reasons it survives is because I have made huge sacrifices and don’t take much of a wage from it!) it is now well established, loved within the town, and a happy place. We are also lucky to have an excellent landlord.

Next year I will do something to celebrate our 10th anniversary, but for now, thank you to our customers and distant supporters and encouragers, and all those who donate their books, and hurray for recycling books and keeping books old and contemporary in circulation on the high street. Come and browse!

Tree House Sessions

Our Tree House Sessions are a monthly open mic for spoken word and music. They were once the stuff of legend. Then the pandemic hit, and now we are trying to build them back up into something special. They happen on the second Saturday of the month, so the next one is Saturday 13 August.

If you are a performer, do come along! Whether you are a seasoned performer or just want to get out there in a supportive atmosphere, we would love to see you. Whether you sing, play, write poetry, tell stories – the mixture and variety and the unexpected is what our Sessions thrive on.

You are also extremely welcome just to come and listen.

Bring your own refreshments! We might get organised with that at some point…we don’t have much space, we don’t have an alcohol licence, so we’re still trying to work it out. But we have glasses and corkscrew/bottle opener.

If you want to know more, email organiser Gwyneth Box at hello @ gwynethbox.com.

Or just turn up and introduce yourself so we can give you a slot. Doors at 7.30, the fun starts at 8pm. Here is a video of the glory days! It was made by Lewis Smith, who started the Sessions with Charlotte Thomas way back when.

Next art talk on Zoom: the mighty Holbein!

Next art talk is on Tuesday 12 July, 19:30 BST, and is on Holbein’s magnificent painting known as The Ambassadors, painted in 1533 and now in the National Gallery in London. Holbein is one of the great portrait painters in art history, and gave us the visual image we have of the court of Henry VIII. This painting, beneath its seemingly tranquil veneer, gives us insight into a turbulent and critical moment in European history. It is also an endlessly fascinating work visually, and is ripe for one of our close looking series. We focus on the visual details, zooming (in more ways than one!) in on details not just of what is there but how Holbein painted it. There will be an introduction to the painting and then a close look at those visual details. Open to all, accessible and informal, do join us if you can! See our Art Talks page for the ticket link.