Cafe culture

I’m a cafe person. Since moving to the Jurassic Coast I’ve sought out and checked out as many tea serving establishments as possible, from Dorchester down to Sidmouth. Now I have a bit more time a couple of mornings a week, as mentioned in my own kind of Ode to Autumn (well, more of a cluster of sentences), the whole cafe culture thing has even more resonance. For the first time in 8 years it’s not just the baby/child friendly criteria that matter. I’m keen to find somewhere I can hide in a corner and write a couple of hours away, nursing loose leaf tea while huddled over my iPad writing set-up (more specifics on that in a future post). I’m not going to review any cafes save the odd name check, but if you’re after more specific info on places to visit try My Jurassic Coast, my good friend’s lovely stylish blog that covers pretty much everything you need to know about getting out & about and getting well fed & watered down here.

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Reassuringly Roman

The ancient Roman bath complex in Bath is one of the best examples of its kind in Europe. A leisurely visit offers enjoyment on many levels.

– the inspiration

I can’t fail to be inspired by the Roman achievements. Short story ideas bounce around my head as I listen to Bill Bryson’s diverting and personal response to the ancient site. I am yet to write up any of these ideas, but they are hovering on postcards in an index file awaiting further consideration (a method I picked up from the Anne Tyler interview mentioned in a previous post).

– the education

Marvel at the sheer age of it all, gaze at the worn cobbles and imagine who walked there before you. Or watch the big screen reconstructions as you stroll around. It’s like an old school trip.

– the order

Were they not simply splendid, those Romans? Drainage, underground pipework, central heating, roofing … the site offers a glorious glimpse of the engineering work of these pioneers, and is one of many examples of the Romans’ enduring legacy.

A book haven

On a recent (solo, very exciting) away day to Bath, I made a beeline for the brilliantly named Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. Set over a couple of floors in a quirky layout it has a lovely feel, like a hobbit’s house of areas and nooks to browse around.

It’s an excellent example of why we need independent bookshops. It was nice to see the current bestsellers accounted for but also other areas well represented: I found an interesting graphic novels section, a format championed by others in my family and I wouldn’t dare to disappoint by not taking taking a look. I had an enlightening discussion with a member of staff about what my daughter could be reading. I was also rather taken with the art and design shelves, where I picked up a neat book about the creative process of various types of artist, Will Self included. More on his MO and my adaptation of it in a future post.

A good stock of literary journals, a couple of elegant armchairs to relax in …. I could go on but will instead flag up the website where you can read all about it.

One postscript: If you like brown paper packages tied up with strings (they’re everyone’s favourite aren’t they?) take advantage of the £1 wrapping service, stylishly finished with Mr B’s wax seal. They make ideal gifts, especially after a very self-indulgent 24 hours.