Sunday, October 23, 2011

A day out in Cromford - Scarthin Books and more

We had a fab day out yesterday: we got the bus to Nottingham and then (making a detour via Page 45 --- more Buffy comics! a new volume of The Unwritten!) headed to the train station where I picked up the latest Doctor Who Magazine with its extensive tribute to the glorious and much missed Lis Sladen.

We get the train to Matlock, though we're getting off a little earlier at the lovely village of Cromford. It is a glorious bright and sunny autumn day. Perfect for a day out.

The train starts at Nottingham and stops at:
  • Beeston
  • Attenborough
  • Long Eaton
  • Derby
  • Duffield (or 'Duffield International' as the guard as we travelled out called it)
  • Belper (or 'The People's Democratic Republic of Belper' as the guard coming home called it)
  • Ambergate
  • Whatstandwell (surely a contender for the award of best name for a village EVER)
  • Cromford
Just to prove I'm not making Whatstandwell up as a place-name, here is the railway sign from the station.

The next two stops are Matlock Bath and Matlock - deep in the Derbyshire Dales. Another visit perhaps...

We stop at Cromford and exit at the newly refurbished station.

We walk down into the village and firstly head to Arkwright's Mill. The Arkwright family are central not only to Cromford but also to the wider history of the Industrial Revolution. The Arkwright Society is doing great work in putting the site and its buildings to good use, and they have a long-term strategic plan to maintain, develop and improve the site so that future visitors can see this important location in the history of industrialisation.

At Arkwright's Mill, we enjoy visiting a number of excellent craft shops, especially Arum Lillie. Really beautiful print designs, textiles, and pewterwear, amongst other goodies. We'll be visiting them again!

But the main reason we were heading to Cromford was for...

Crikey, this is a brilliant rabbit-warren of a bookshop. And even better it has its own hide-away cafe with the most incredible food served. We had a couple of ploughman's lunches - Neil had Stilton cheese (a MASSIVE honk!) and I had mushroom pate (four very good-sized portions of the delicious stuff). It's vegetarian/organic and proper lovely.

The store (according to its website and reported in the Guardian's recent listing of Scarthin as one of the top UK independent booksellers) holds approximately 5000+ antiquarian texts, 50,000+ second-hand works (many piled high against the walls and stairwells I can report!) and 40,000+ NEW books. It is a trove of non-specialist gems, but I'd particularly recommend their children's book room which is delightful.

Inevitably, we came home laden with new goodies and we're already making headway through these. We eat books for breakfast! For knowledge! For pleasure and for all the other human emotions that books can stir and communicate to us.

We can't help it. We just love books.

And here are the two of us - me all wrapped up (in the scarf/shawl I knitted last year, and Neil in a t-shirt he got from San Francisco which we thought apt for book-shopping.


jams o donnell said...

Glad you didn't get on the Romford train by mistake! I do like Neil's t shirt

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Yes, we too worried about that when we asked for the tickets - which was why we aked for "CCCCromford please - that's the Matlock train isn't it?" just to be on the safe side!

Yes, the t-shirt is VERY cool n'est pas?!

JoeinVegas said...

Not enough stripes there Miss R

JoeinVegas said...

Oh, to take a train to fun places like that. It sounds so nice to live there. Everything here is a days drive, and even then it probably isn't as interesting.

Kris said...

Awesome shirt, Neil!