There was a time you could go to the bookshop at Brierlow Bar, browse an interesting selection of books, buy a few nice greeting cards, have a cup of tea and a Kit-Kat, listen to the elderly gents discussing steam railways and come away feeling relaxed.
It was, to be honest, a bookshop from a different time and it probably wasn’t very profitable.
Judging by the crowd in the cafe it’s much more profitable now. But ithe profits, unfortunately, don’t seem to have been used for upgrading, or even maintaining, the toilets.
In terms of stock, we couldn’t buy any cards this time, as the ones we liked seem to be out of stock.
The Natural History selection seemed a bit bigger this time and the poetry seems to have grown a little in quantity, though the quality has, I think, declined. They still have a good selection of History and Military History but Julia wasn’t able to find anything in her line this time. I quite like travel and cookery books but I haven’t been able to find any decent ones for a couple of years now – both victims of the increased cafe space/reduced book-shelving.
It is also more difficult to get round, as the gangways were always quite narrow and the increasing customer numbers make access quite difficult at times, particularly as so many of them seem to drift round aimlessly and clutter the place up.
There was only one dog in today, but it was barking quite a lot. It was only a pup (though an Alsatian pup, so quite large) and the owner was bribing it to stay quiet by giving it treats. Or teaching it that if it barked it would get treats. For me this goes to prove that people should have to pass a test before being allowed to have a dog. Judging from the evidence of her kids it wouldn’t be a bad thing to make them pass a test before breeding either.
I did manage to buy a few books so it wasn’t a wasted journey, but I’m afraid it’s going to be the last time we treat it as the main destination for a day out.
Apart from the access issues, the toilets and the stock, I just don’t feel relaxed there now, and the cafe reminds me too much of what happened to our kitchen on the farm, even down to the cliched decor.
I wish them well. They’ve invested time and money in the place and made it much more lively, and presumably a more viable business. However, it’s lost something in the process and it’s not the pleasant, relaxing experience it used to be. I suppose that’s the story of life.
If you want to read a selection of opposite views try this site. Lots of people love it, and they all seem to love it in the same formulaic way. If I was a suspicious man I’d think someone was rigging the reviews. However, having seen some of the customers it’s more likely that they all belong to the Stepford Wives reading group.
There are some very informative negative reviews too, some of which echo my feelings.
I did like a few of the quirkier ones – like the one where they ate, spent an hour browsing and then bought a book.
Or the one where they found it a good place to while away a few hours with the kids.
Presumably they also spent a lot of time cluttering the place up and getting in the way of grumpy old gits like me.
In conclusion I will leave you with a nightmare vision of the future, where you can’t buy books in bookshops or plants in garden centres because they have all expanded their cafes and gift sections until there is no room for actual stock…
And having unburdened my soul of this sorrow I will enter the New Year as a happier man.
Happy New Year to you all.