Today, The Boy Wonder and I decided to take ourselves off to our not-so-local-but-one-of-our-favourites pub in Lesbury, Northumberland. Listening to ‘Round The Horne’ we took the Coastal Route and so went through several lovely picturesque places like Warkworth and Hipsburn, passing by Alnmouth and stopping at the Coach Inn, Lesbury.
It’s my dream that one day this will be my local pub.
The Coach Inn is such a lovely place, it’s got big open fireplaces and great food. For real ale fans there isn’t a lot of choice but the food is so good, you won’t care. I myself am not a fan of ale but TBW is. We both had pork for our Sunday roast then I had strawberry brulee and TBW had sticky toffee pudding. The roast was absolutely divine. The meat was so tender and juicy and the crackling was perfect. I don’t like stuffing but TBW gave it his seal of approval. The desserts were slightly over-priced for what we got but were still nice.
The young staff are really friendly and there is a nice little side room for you to sit in and watch TV. I like to pretend it’s my sitting room as opposed to it being a pub! Whenever TBW and I go there, no-one is using that little room so it’s nice and private and the way it’s decorated is really homely. They have photos on the wall although we haven’t yet found out whether the photos are family photographs or perhaps ones that have been donated. There’s a bookshelf as well as the TV and today I found an interesting book about the ghosts of Northumberland by Rob Kirkup.
After our lovely lunch, we drove to Barter Books in Alnwick which is based in Alnwick’s Victorian railway station and is one of the largest second-hand bookstores in Britain. You really have to see it to believe it. There’s a minature train set that whizzes round above your head in one part of the shop. If you look up in the foyer, there’s a beautiful mural of lots of authors and characters, it’s really beautiful. There is also a cafe inside. You could spend a whole day here, the staff are helpful and there’s no need to hurry out. You can sit by the fire and read or sit at one of the large desks. There are stools and seats left around the place and dogs are welcome too. There are tea, coffee and biscuits in the front room with an honesty box, such a quaint concept but a heartwarming one nonetheless.
Barter Books have books on literally any subject, TBW even pointed out an old book from the 70s today about nude photography – whatever genre you are looking for, you will find it here. Barter Books works on a system where you bring your old books to sell, you’re offered a valuation and this balance can be carried over if you don’t want to spend it there and then. They do also accept cash if you don’t want to swap old books. I had a good balance saved up so I went slightly mad on buying books today (this will become a regular theme, no doubt). I now have even more books to plough through but this makes me happy.
Just one word of advice: go with an open mind. You will find books that you had forgotten existed however if you have certain things in mind, you may be disappointed. Obviously Barter Books depends on what people are exchanging so, although they do have some very new titles in stock, they only stock 2nd hand books. If you go just for a browse though, I can guarantee you will find something to tickle your fancy. They do also have a smaller range of DVDs and LPs. They have amazingly old books and first editions as well as rare copies which are housed in glass cabinets.
Having just read the ghost book which featured Alnwick, I was slightly jumpy at any sound which TBW took full advantage of, jumping out from behind the huge bookcases.
On the way home, we took a wee detour to take a couple of pictures in Alnmouth, according to the book I read, The Schooner Hotel is haunted. When we looked closer at the sign, we saw it has been give official haunted status! Who comes up with these things?!
Now TBW is playing XBox so I am going to get comfortable and try to read some more. I’m currently trying to read Michael’s Marshall’s ‘Killer Move’ but am having a bit of difficulty getting into it.
How are you today?