More Grumbling

After we decided not to risk more garden centres we decided to drop down through the Peak District. This involved use of the satnav, and I have to say it didn’t cover itself in glory. For one thing, it kept interrupting our conversation with it’s constant chanting of taking second exits at roundabouts and turning left in 700 yards. No, I don’t know why 700 is seen as significant, that’s why it sticks in my mind. I’d be much more boring if I was designing a sat nav – 800 and 500 would do for me.

That, unfortunately, wasn’t the main problem. The infernal machine insists on using main roads, and is quite prepared to make a substantial detour to use dual carriageways and motorways, despite the map and common sense. That was how we found ourselves travelling through various unattractive industrial areas on dual carriageways, rather than the drama of the High Peak.

When we eventually got into the countryside we had an entertaining drive with some breathtaking views and impressive viaducts. Unfortunately these weren’t matched by equally impressive viewpoints, so there are no photos. I could have taken several photos of the back ends of traffic queues too, but I didn’t. Once you’ve seen the back of one car for twenty minutes, you’ve seen all you need for a lifetime.

We did manage some photos of the heather and snow fences ย on the A628, just before we got to the really good scenery. Isn’t that always the way?

The good news is that we reached the bookshop in time to top up the cheese toasties with a restorative cup of tea and a good chunk of date and walnut cake. Dates and Walnuts are healthy aren’t they? Made into cake they are even better.

I do have some misgivings about the shop now the cafe is proving more popular. It’s difficult to put my finger on it, and even more difficult to defend my position, It has got to be good that the shop is more profitable, and I’m resigned to putting up with the inane chatter of customers and staff (who seem to spend more time yacking than serving) but I am concerned about the number of books, and the fact it’s getting more difficult to find books that I want to read.

We’d nearly finished the cake before the tea arrived, and struggled to find books. That, to me, means that a top class bookshop has now been replaced by a less good bookshop and a cafe that needs someone to get a grip.

Menus on clipboards, lamps made from vintage petrol cans (I shudder at the thought of the desecration) and mix-and-match crockery is all very well, but good tea, good cake and good service is essential. Two out of three isn’t good enough in this context. And the man in the kitchen needs to get some work done instead of loafing about chatting up the female staff.

If I was an anthropologist, or if he was a wild bird, I might find his courtship behavior interesting. But as a thirsty book-buyer, I really don’t need him droning on when he’d be better employed loading the dishwasher.


36 thoughts on “More Grumbling

  1. higgledypiggledymom

    You ol’ curmudgeon! and I say that in a lovely respectful, laughing at you ol’ bear type manner. How do they get the cake out before the tea? Hmmm, got that bassackwards-in my thoughts, but then again, in England, you get the piping hot pot, trimmings and cups-takes a bit. So…books. I prefer the physical kind as well, but I’m just glad people are reading-however they do it, too many don’t and it’s sad. Bookstores serving refreshment brings folks in, but they stay and do they buy more? It’s a toss up. Grumble away. I think I know another of your species.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Thank you. I like to think I’m advancing the cause of grumbling old men. I am at the cutting edge of a fine family tradition of grumbling and value my place in history.

  2. Clare Pooley

    I assumed it was Brierlow Bar as I have been inundated with messages from them telling me how good their cafรฉ is now. I would be happier if they told me they had got lots of new books in the store!
    Our local book shop is closing down. The owner has been struggling to keep going for some years now, especially after a fire which destroyed most of his stock. I am very sad about this.

    1. quercuscommunity

      It’s always a shame to see a bookshop close, though with my reliance on Amazon I’m probably contributing to the closure.

      I have mixed feelings about cafes, having been given many problems by the one on the farm!

  3. Laurie Graves

    Oh, dear! Well, there was cake, and as you noted, the cafe makes the bookshop more profitable.


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