It may seem a bit craven, but as we had plenty of time we decided to visit Brierlow Bar, despite what I said on our last visit. This was partly forced on us by a lack of books in The Works. They really are poor at the moment and I am losing patience with them.
It was also part of a cunning plan. Just around the corner from Brierlow Bar is Tagg Lane Dairy, my new favourite tearoom. There is always a certain amount of trepidation when returning to the scene of a superlative slice of cake – will it be as good? Or will it disappoint, and will the new offering turn to ashes on your tongue?
You will have to wait for that, so please excuse me as I ramp up the sense of foreboding…
The vist to Brierlow Bar allowed me to top up with some historical crime novels, though they are £1 more expensive than The Works. On the other hand, they do at least have some in stock, which seems to be a stumbling block for The Works at the moment.
As you will notice from the attached picture, the aisles in the bookshop were deserted. I seriously thought of asking if they had a book on the Mary Celeste. It seemed intrusive to picture people feeding so you will have to take my word for it – the cafe was packed. Yes, the bookshop was empty and the cafe was full. Brierlow Bar is now a cafe with books attached.
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
I don’t mean to be insulting to the people eating in the cafe, but this was what the scene put me in mind off. Just like Animal Farm, something fundamental has gone awry. And just like Animal Farm, it is an allegory, as a perfectly good, though under-utilised bookshop becomes a shrine to chintzy teashoppery and the modern trend for meaningless “retail therapy”.
My views are coloured by what happened to the Quercus project on the farm, and by the fact I feel better being on the outside instead of buying into the whole modern experience. However, I have to say that I did feel better about visiting when I have no expectations about it still being a bookshop.
Oh dear, word limit met, and it’s time to serve the evening meal.
I suppose I’ll just have to leave you wondering what happened when we visited the dairy. Will it be as good as last time? Or will it already have succumbed to the tendency of the world to dumb down, decay and otherwise disappoint?