Lots going on!

Gill Sans poster (2)This evening we start our weekly volunteers’ drop-in sessions, from 5-7pm – if you fancy lending a hand with whatever needs doing, just call in for as long (or as short) as you like.  We will be mostly tidying shelves, sorting books, washing up, preparing for our children’s bookstall tomorrow – it’s all much more fun with a group of people.

Then we have T’ai Chi and Nifty Needles, both of which start at 7pm – T’ai Chi on one side of the room, people knitting, crocheting, embroidering and plumping cushions on the other side – surreal but it works!

Tomorrow morning we have a bookstall for children, as it’s half term – if it’s dry, we’ll be outside Town & Country Furniture, if it’s wet or very cold we will be inside the Tree House.  There will be a few things for grown-ups too!

Saturday evening sees the first of our Saturday evening films as part of our film club – Finnish drama The Man Without a Past (7.30pm, doors 7pm).  Sunday afternoon’s treat is the fabulous Brief Encounter (3pm, doors 2.30pm).  £5 including annual subscription to the film club, £3 for members, £2 for members who are Friends of the Tree House.  Refreshments included.

Saturday March 8th is the date for a talk and booksigning by Greta Berlin, a long term activist on behalf of the Palestinians in Gaza.

We are planning a Shakespeare festival in April; we wanted to mark the great man’s birthday anyway, but as it’s his 450th we decided to run a week long series of events from 19th-27th April, including talks, films, performances, Elizabethan dancing, children’s workshops.  There is a Facebook page for the festival, and I will of course update you here as to what’s happening.

Don’t forget our regular Wednesday afternoon therapy sessions – Reflexology and Shiatsu.  You can book full sessions or 20-minute tasters – you can also call in on the off-chance if you are out and about on Wednesday afternoons.  Reflexology 12-3, Shiatsu 12-5.

We have also been running a course on mindfulness on Monday evenings, which has been wonderful.  Vicky Lindsay, who runs it, is planning another course when this one ends – a taster session then another run of the 8-week course, so look out for updates on that – I would heartily recommend it to anyone.

I can safely say ‘we’ for most things now, as I have a fabulous band of regular, committed volunteers without whom I would not personally be surviving!  I even came back from a day away teaching yesterday to find dinner in the fridge…

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Volunteering opportunities!

Gill Sans poster (2)I love the phrase ‘volunteering opportunities’.  It asks people to give of their time, energy and expertise in return for no payment, and presents it in such a way that the person or organisation in need of volunteers appears to be doing the volunteers a favour.

That said, I know there are people who do have time on their hands who would like to do something with it, so…

I can offer opportunities to volunteer!  Specifically it would be good to have a couple of people who could work on a Thursday between 10am and 3pm.  At the moment I can cover the whole time we are open, but in late September one of the other jobs I have will require me to work a shift in the middle of the day on Thursdays.  I would rather try to get cover for this than to close the shop, and so it would be wonderful if there were people who were able to commit to a regular, long-term pattern on a Thursday.  If you are interested – even if you would rather work fortnightly than weekly – do get in touch.

I will also need other volunteers, including people who might want to help out in the evenings when we have events – checking and selling tickets, helping with refreshments, washing up, etc.

If you would like to be part of the Tree House Bookshop, in these or other ways, do let me know.  I can’t afford to pay anyone yet (not even myself, probably!), but there are things I can offer in return – tickets to events, perhaps – payment in kind rather than money.

Send me an email or phone the shop (856843) – I would love to hear from you.

Lots more Tree House ideas

treehouselogo-copy6.pngStill no premises, but I’m developing lots of lovely ideas, building on the launch of the Film Club in May.  There are two or three potential venues in the town centre, and I am hoping that the article in this week’s Kenilworth Weekly News will have aroused some level of interest, however small.  These ideas are a way of establishing the project even in the absence of a physical shop.  It may even be that the best thing is to use other venues for these clubs and activities, and then I will only need a small site for the bookshop – maybe there is a business in Kenilworth that has some space they would like to sublet, even temporarily until I can find suitable permanent premises!  That would be great.

Here are some of the events I am thinking of setting up:

The Tree House Story Club – afternoons of stories and bookish activities for pre-school children

Tree House Talks  – talks and discussions mostly on art and its history, though volunteers for talks on other subjects always welcome

The Tree House Senior Citizen Book Swap – afternoons for sharing books and chatting over tea and cake

The Tree House Film Festival – a day at the movies, a mixture of short films and feature films, including talks and discussion

The Tree House literary festival – talks, writing workshops, book discussion

Student equivalents of both the above, to engage university students with The Tree House

All of these could be accompanied by book sales – I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that the main aim is to open a second-hand bookshop!

If any of this sounds good, do get in touch – good to gauge support, also good to have any offers of voluntary help!  victoria@treehousebookshop.co.uk

A steady climb

mier_prod-1 greenWell, today has been quite a day – meetings with a property adviser and with a business account manager at the bank.  Both were enthusiastic, kind and fabulously helpful.  Somehow I feel drained this evening though – inevitably, I suppose, now that the harsh reality of getting together all the financial, legal and other business aspects is becoming more critical.  Ideas are fun, planning is fun, the excitement is undimmed – but I now feel as though I am about to scale the north face of the Eiger, though I know the view will be worth it when I get there!

At least after today I know what I have to do, in much clearer terms than I did before, and if I take it a step at a time I am sure I can succeed.  Some juggling will be necessary, there are undoubtedly scary times ahead, but there is no reason at all why the venture can’t get off the ground.  Everything will find its form, as a dear friend always says!

I am still feeling humbled and happy that so many people are supporting this project in different ways, from simply expressing encouragement to helping me to obtain premises, from offering to sort books to getting together their mates to help get the site in order when we get that far, and all sorts of other things.  So I am still feeling the love, and that plus my unquenchable passion for the project will, I know, help me up that rockface to the summit!

The Tree House needs you!

mier_prod-1 (2)I have now ordered a rubber stamp for stamping receipts and things – so there’s no turning back, the shop has to open!  I love stamping things.

I have been thinking about what else the project will need.  There are things for the shop itself, beyond things like shelving, computer, etc. There are also the evening (and sometimes daytime) events I’d like to have, for which we need performers, etc.  (I must use etc less…I am not Yul Brynner.)  I have made a list.

1. Stock – donations of any kind of books, in good enough condition to sell, will always be gratefully received.  Any house clearances, etc, will be of great interest, so keep me posted if you hear of anyone trying to find a home for collections of books!

2. Armchairs – I want it to be a comfortable place!  I will visit the Lions store in Kenilworth, but again, offers of unwanted but usable armchairs will be welcome.

3. Volunteers – there will be various ways that people can help, from manning the shop so that I can go to the post office, etc, to reading stories to children in the afternoons, and all sorts of other things.  I have already had offers of help with sorting and cataloguing books, which is wonderful.  If you would like to be involved, do get in touch (details on the About page).

4. People to come and lead events.  People to give talks; people to give readings; storytellers; musicians; people to give craft presentations; people to lead writing workshops; people to lead debates; anything else you think would make an interesting event that people would pay a small amount to come and see!  These are intended to involve the community. to give people a performance space and to help raise some income for the shop.

5. People to spread the word.  Tell your friends, colleagues and neighbours.  Put up a small poster/flyer on your kitchen noticeboard, or leave a few at work. (I will be getting some printed.)

All of this is ultimately working towards enhancing a sense of community, and raising some money for local charities and causes.  The more money we bring in, the more we can give!  So whether you feel able to buy a share or two (see Investing in the community tab) or giving of your time or offering some kind of event, you will hopefully feel that you are involved in something worthwhile.

Kenilworth is full of independent shops and has a great sense of community – this is something to cherish and maintain and develop, and I would like to think this little venture will be part of doing just that.