Thursday, 6 October 2016
A Colchester Bookshop & the Hospital Arms
This 'run of the mill' side door, of a kind seen in town's everywhere, led me into a new world, a bookshop! Not just a bookshop but a proper second hand bookshop with several nooks and crannies and several floors of books, some in order others mixed up. A wonderful find and I wondered how I missed it before. I missed it because it only opened up in this building last year having previously been half way down the hill. More custom, far more people passing the door, more satisfaction for all concerned. A delightful staff, friendly and I suspect knowledgeable, several floors and with a 'bargain basement,' on the top floor!
I just happened to see the sign in the window and this led me to the shop. An aged building, a small shop that is larger inside than it looks from the outside and books a plenty. Having only my 'outside glasses' and not coming prepared to search for books I was caught out somewhat but I suspect this shop will survive here and there will be plenty of time to visit again. This shop has all an old bookshop should have, the building, the people, the nooks & crannies and lots and lots of books. I must say one or two looked expensive to me but this is because I am so used to raking charity shops for books and some of those do not understand the worth of older books so bargains can be found. These people know books and charge accordingly, they must to survive in this 'Amazon' led book world. I hope they will survive, this is a proper bookshop.
William Gilberd was as is said a clever man who became a physician, looking after the English Queen Elizabeth and experimented with science to discover the earth was magnetic. He also came up with Latin words which others called 'electricity' and possessed a clever mind and royal approval. King James VI & I also approved but not for long as poor William died in 1603 possibly from Bubonic Plague. Perhaps he ought to have ignored science and physics and just studied medicine?
The house in which William was born is a bit of all right for the time. I suspect it has been altered somewhat over the years but looks all right from the outside. Once the place would see horses and the like entering via the gateway and lassies in flowing dresses gathering to chatter about the latest gossip in town. This house would in those days be in the dead centre of town and clearly Gilberd's dad had influence at the time. Clearly he also made sure he did not upset Queen Liz.
I was impressed by the ancient gas lamp outside the entrance to the old house but somewhat disappointed by the somewhat tardy lightbulb seen inside. However these ancient lights add a great deal to old houses, and many still remain in Camulodunum in spite of Nazi bombing during the war and council rebuilding after it. Behind me the area is modern 1960's or later style buildings. Two church towers stand reaching to the heavens yet only one is connected to a church building, and that one is no longer used as such as the church has a new place next door. The building now appears to act as a hall. The old buildings rub up against a new shopping centre which I can tell you freely contains nothing that was of any use to me.
Having searched every charity shop in town unsuccessfully I made for home and naturally found my bus running just ahead of me leaving me 20 minutes to wait. Nothing for it but lunch in the 'Hospital Arms' with a £3:40 pint of Adnam's 'Mosaic' and jolly good it was too! A decent small pub made from two old houses well worth a visit, clean and tidy, well set out, offering food that tempted and judgng by the notice board reasonably popular. This place gave me space to recover myself before I wandered over the road for the late running bus upon which I almost fell asleep. That beer was stronger than I thought...