Afternoon in Farnham

greengrocer's Downing Street

greengrocer’s Downing Street

On my way to Farnham, I happened upon a production of The Three Musketeers in the Bandstand in Aldershot. It looked fun, and it had certainly drawn the crowds, but I had to be in Farnham, and unfortunately could not stop.

Kiara's closed

Kiara’s closed

Last weekend I was saddened to see Kiara’s, a lovely tea shop in Downing Street, had closed. Bailiffs sent in by landlords based in Cornwall who could not give a toss about Farnham. Problem is there are now a number of empty shops in Downing Street. Every time one closes, one less reason to walk down Downing Street and a domino effect kicks in, and yet more shops close, and that is what is now happening.

About a year go, Morello’s, a lovely Italian coffee shop opposite Kiara’s closed. In June, The Barn closed in The Borough.

I dropped off to a few indie shops, information on Guildford Independent’s Day, with the suggestion they launch something similar for Farnham on 4 July 2015. They thought it a great idea.

I had to go to WHSmith to find Adultery, latest novel from Paulo Coelho. I have of late, alighted from the bus at the Sports Centre, walked along the River Wey, crossed into Gostrey Meadow, up through Downing Street, then cut through the churchyard. I had forgotten how bad the centre of Farnham is. Not architecturally, the traffic. And the traffic is bad, choking in the exhaust fumes, being forced off the narrow pavements into the traffic. The sooner it is pedestrianised, the better.

Quest successful, two copies of Adultery, their entire stock, and even these were out the back, not on display

Adultery two copies in Farnham churchyard

Adultery two copies in Farnham churchyard

Not wishing to dice with death and breathe in the traffic fumes a second time, I cut through an alley, through a car park, into Downing Street and into the churchyard. I sat for a while reading Adultery. Well written, but then I expect no less from Paulo Coelho.

I had also earlier picked up a special edition of The Alchemist, special in that it was part of World Book Night 2012, when a million books were given away.

Sharing is what we do with books, it is part of our book reading culture: We lend them to our friends, we donate them to charity shops.

This copy inscribed to Laura Sutherland?

What I did not know, until I found this copy, is that each book has a unique serial number, cf BookCrossing, in order that it may be tracked. Except looking at the World Book Night website I can find nowhere to type in the unique serial number. Very badly designed website. I eventually find, and it directs me to BookCrossing. Why not have a box, type in the serial number, which passes to BookCrossing? And sadly they no longer track the books, again rather dumb. I guess too much trouble. Sadly when I track it down, I find not registered by the person who was the recipient (who could not even be bothered to make journal notes), but by World Book Night, which if they have to register a million books, I see why they no longer do register. BookCrossing is a badly designed site, and a real pain registering books, though the idea is great.

Adultery Waterstone's Farnham latest hardbacks

Adultery Waterstone’s Farnham latest hardbacks

I then looked in Waterstone’s. I was going to ask if they had Adultery. I did not have to, three copies on display by the door with new books. At least Waterstone’s Farnham on the ball, which is more than can be said for Waterstone’s Guildford or Waterstone’s Godalming.

I miss late lunch at The Barn, and the pleasant company.

Morning it was cold, like autumn. Afternoon pleasantly warm, when the sun came out, hot.

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