A Ray of Sunshine and a Free Bench.

I’ve indulged myself for a few weeks in writing up an account of our weekend in Paris. It has been such a joy, not just because I succeeded in mentally air-lifting myself to a bistro in Montmartre, but because I wallowed in the freedom to write exactly what I wanted to write. I simply sat at the keyboard and told myself to ‘just get it down’, that’s all, nothing more. It’s not fancy but it’s honest and it says something, I hope, that I needed to say.

My desire was to package up something that we might take out in our dotage to read and remember a time when life was full to bursting. I gave it to Husband for his birthday, yesterday.

I also got him a book from Shakespeare and Company. I included a note in my order (there’s a space for notes in the online order form – of course there is!), thanking them for the tea and biscuits they gave us and they sent back a sweet handwritten note.

Honest to God, I think I left a piece of my heart behind in that shop. Can I just show you the packaging of their parcel? Look at this:IMG_9796

Would that not make any book-lover’s heart tick a little quicker?

Again, the online order form has some options to request a few little extras, a spritz of perfume, a poem typed up on the shop’s old typewriter, or just some random scrap of wordage they think you might like…

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It is surely for these small moments of contact, even virtual contact, with flesh and blood book people that independent bookshops MUST continue to exist. I’m not trying to sell you anything, well, I am, but I have nothing to gain other than that they continue to exist.

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The Paris write-up is far too long for a blog post. It would run to twelve blog posts, I think, which strikes me as ridiculous. Also, as I said, it is (even) more self-indulgent than my average blog post and includes minute details of no interest to anyone other than us.

The Paris write-up, which I titled A Ray of Sunshine and a Free Bench (it makes sense when you read it, I hope), does contain some photos. Most were snapped on Husband’s phone and some were taken by kindly strangers. This one is my favourite:

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Hope life is treating you all kindly this murky Monday morning.
Lynda.

PS. Teenage Daughter made iced buns for her Dad yesterday and there is just that one left over and now I have to eat it. Oh, woe is me. #dietshmiet

23 thoughts on “A Ray of Sunshine and a Free Bench.

  1. I’ll join you on the soapbox. We absolutely cannot allow independent bookshops to die. It is one of the greatest things about France … that even quite small towns will boast often more than one. Here we have many many bookshops – some specializing in something or other, some not but all quirky and welcoming and personal and delightful. And filled with books. Real books. Enjoy the bun …. need I prompt! X

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  2. I need to visit this book shop. In Krakov if you ever go, is the Jewish Bookshop. Its not full of plaits and head bobbing, but full of wonderful books. You can order a hot chocolate and find a seat and sit and read for as long as you like. Its magical and independent. Its heaven!

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  3. “My desire was to package up something that we might take out in our dotage to read and remember a time when life was full to bursting.” — this is so, so lovely, Lynda!

    We have one small independent bookstore in our very small city — it’s wonderful to go there 🙂 .

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  4. I love bookshops with every fibre of my being. Love them. And you have made me fall in love with Shakespeare & Company. It sounds like something out of a Joanne Harris novel. Sadly the independent bookshop in my little town closed a few years ago. I still miss it. Couldn’t tell you where the nearest one is now. CJ xx

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    1. Yes, ever fewer independent bookshops here too. We have one specialist antiquarian bookshop which is a joy to browse but prohibitively expensive. Otherwise, it’s highstreet chains which I do support simply because they are better than nothing!

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  5. In a parallel universe I run a bookshop with a little cafe 🙂 There are a couple of great ones here in the Lake District but not at home where I live in Kent. There, it’s just Waterstones and WHSmith… I absolutely love the packaging that came with your book from S & Co. I’ll have to investigate! I’d love to read about your Paris trip if you’re happy to send it to me. S x

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  6. Hello there! I just dropped in to say hello, I’ve come across you several times over at Marion’s in Canada. We’re lucky enough to have three wonderful independent book shops here in Bath (England), including one right in our local parade of shops. Lovely to meet you, I’ll be back soon. Deborah

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    1. Hello Deborah, so nice of you to say hello! Bath is at the very top of my list of places to visit whenever Husband and I eventually organise our child-free tour of the UK. It will happen, someday!

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  7. Oh yes, this was one of my favorite little book stores when I visited Paris, my daughter is getting a birthday box from there, didn’t even think about it until you mentioned the lovely idea….thank you….I also had a couple favorite cafes in the Montmartre district….I am sending you a Yes Please I would love to read about your wonderful vacation email…thank you for sharing with us….I think this picture would make a wonder fridge magnet so you can see it all the time…..just sayin….and Happy Birthday to hubby….xxxxkat

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  8. I am well into your vacation and I can close my yes and picture the two of you acting like teenagers…I am soo enjoying your story…..also want to mention just started Tom Hanks book…really enjoying it too….Hope your enjoying a sunny fall day…..xxxkat

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