Lord Malarkey and I had occasion today to visit that historic cathedral city of Rochester. We were meeting a friend at 11a.m and decided to go early to make a bit of a morning of it.
Well, Andy was keen to visit 'Baggins' which is not, as you might think, a trouser emporium, but a second hand book shop spread over about twenty three floors, each divided into about fifteen thousand subsections containing 11 million books each. All right, a slight exaggeration on the number front but you get the gist - it is a massive bookshop full of thousands of books and I am afraid it freaks me out slightly because I am terrified I shall be crushed to death by a massive tome dropping on my head from a great height and I shall lie undiscovered for days, nay weeks or even months, until my body is devoured by book weevils and all that is left shall be my spectacles and the underwire from my bra.
Andy likes it though. But then he is taller than me and would likely, therefore, be in a better position to survive a book avalanche.
So whilst he went on a book expedition, I went on a sewing shop expedition.
I was looking for one place in particular called CCB Sewing Machines, which, as it says on the box, sells sewing machines and all other frippery doo-dahs to do with sewing. I located my target up the far, far, VERY far end of Rochester High Street (when the numbers were running into the 300s) and entered therein to the ding of the bell.
And I was greeted by a very friendly black labrador! The owner of both the labrador and the shop trotted by with a tray of teas and coffees. 'Back in a sec!' she called over her shoulder. 'Just delivering these to the sewing ladies!'
The sewing ladies were the group who were stationed in the shop window beavering away at their sewing machines under the tutelage of another cheery lady. The owner deposited the coffees and teas and returned.
'Would you like a cup of tea?' she said.
Now how many shops do you visit that offer you a cup of tea? I accepted with thanks and settled to looking at the pattern books. The black labrador greeted all newcomers with a waggy tail, the sewing machines hummed in the shop window, there was a general fizz of happy chatter in the air and when I left with my pattern purchase I thought, 'If I had a sewing shop, this is EXACTLY the kind of sewing shop I would have!'
Wouldn't that be a lovely way to spend a day? Surrounded by lovely sewing stuff, with a shop dog (or cat), tea and coffee in constant supply and a craft group having a laugh and learning new skills in the middle of it all? In fact, wouldn't it be a lovely way to live your working life? I mean, they (whoever 'they' are) say that you can only achieve career happiness when you go to work and it doesn't feel like work.
Anyway, it was a good shop! And we met our friend, and had lunch in the Rochester Cathedral cafe, and came home and then Chris turned up with my two gorgeous granddaughters, and all has been well with the day.
And first thing this morning I even managed to sow some aubergine and strawberry seeds. Never grown strawberries from seed before. I am dubious of the success of this venture but time will tell.