On Saturday, Mrs Literarylad and I went for a long walk along the Beacons Way which, as the name suggests, is in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Our walk started in Crickhowell, described on the information centre website as a ‘picturesque town nestling in the beautiful Usk valley, to the south of the Black Mountains’. I don’t think they’re overselling the place. We saw this independent bookshop, called Book-ish’ and couldn’t resist going in for a browse. The signage and window displays were so enticing it would have been difficult for us to walk past without going in, but when we saw it had a cafe downstairs, that settled the matter.
I find all bookshops a draw, but the independents are generally the most interesting, and have more focussed selections of books than the chains, which tend to cram in the standard range of three-for-two’s that are thrown at them by the big publishers.
Book-ish is a lovely shop, with a great selection of books. They focus on their location on the edge of the Brecon Becons by stocking a good range of walking books (that’s books about walking – the books themselves don’t walk) and maps, as well as some tasteful Crickhowell themed merchandise, like bookmarks and mugs. I dream about one day having the time to browse for as long as I like, to buy books, to start reading them, over one, then maybe another coffee, to browse some more and finally come out with an armful of books. And then to have the time to read them. One day. When I’m retired. The Spanish for ‘retired’ is ‘jubilado’, which is a fabulous word, describing retirement as a time to celebrate. I love the idea of joyously embracing retirement as a time of endless possibilities (reading being one of them).
The coffee was pretty good too, and set us up for a long, tiring but ultimately enjoyable walk through some lovely countryside. Books, coffee, a good walk, and some beautiful, scenery, all in the same day. I needed a sit down after that!