Thursday, June 03, 2010

Roadtrip Day Five - Torquay to St Austell

A long day today but under unremitting sunshine and blue skies. We were up early to go to a flea market we had been recommended at Torquay Town Hall. It was disappointing frankly and the entrance hall had the unmistakable aroma of piss about it which didn't help my early morning mood much. Still, after that I was able to pop almost next door to the library for some of the research about Edwin Emmanuel Bradford that I've already mentioned. The plan was then to head on to Ashburton which we had read of on the Internet as having more than a handful of antique shops. In fact, this too was disappointing, a significant proportion of the shops were closed or of that type of antique shop where every piece of furniture has been whitewashed and every other item wrapped in gingham - yeuch! We did, however, find The Dartmoor Bookshop, which was an unexpected surprise. Again, a large topographical section and, as you might expect, a large portion of that was about the West Country. Again, [by which I mean, like other bookshops on this roadtrip], the literature section was a little thin but I'm not complaining... Upstairs I did find three hard back science fiction books which will fit very nicely on my shelves at very reasonable prices and in excellent condition.

However, we felt that Ashburton, which was supposed to be the largest part of our day today was a bit disappointing and we left in something of a funk, wanting to scratch the antiques itch. We knew we had to be in St Austell this evening so we headed in that direction. We had vague reports of an antiques centre in Loswithiel so we headed that way. Our ears pricked when we passed a sign declaring Loswithiel to be the antiques centre of Cornwall... we found the nearest car park and started out. There were a couple of lovely places including Deja-Vu Antiques which, but for the fact that it had mention of 'old books' on its outside sign, we probably would have passed. I went in to browse what turned out to be a good selection of books and found a nice first edition Fortune Press book at a very reasonable price. What appeared to be another of those whitewash and gingham shops turned out on closer inspection to be nothing of the sort and had a really nicely selected collection of studio pottery for sale alongside some great artwork and other really desirable things. In another shop in Loswithiel R found a little cup and saucer with a transfer print of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, made by the pottery that he collects - so that was him happy for the day.

Next stop: Fowey. This little Cornish fishing village is the epitome of Cownwall really, looking out over the widening river estuary it was, today especially in the glorious sunshine, quite beautiful. Again there was a bookshop and again the overwhelming content of the stock was local topography although, in this instance, because Fowey has such strong literary connections there was a heavy specialism in local authors, of whom the most famous would have to be Daphne DuMaurier, although Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch or 'Q' was another rather more unexpected local heavily represented. Again, the general stock was a little thin on the ground and the place so small that it was difficult at times even just to turn around between shelving units but overall a sweet little bookshop.

We had promised ourselves a cream tea and we chose perhaps the most amazing little coffee shop, Pink Murphy's Cafe, a trip to their website to look at the pictures will give you a better idea of what the place is like than I can properly articulate but certainly I'd recommend a visit if you are in the area. The decor is quirky, the crockery is an ad hoc collection of vintage teapots, plates and cups, the tables are named after singers rather than numbered... these things were all added to by signs around the place declaring that at Murphy's they didn't know the meaning of Grumpy... the whole effect was also set off very nicely by the fact we were served by one of the most quirky-looking and yet most beautiful young man I've seen in a long time [sigh...!]

From Fowey it was a short hop to St Austell which is where I am now and where I have photographed these books, all bought today...


J said...

No picture of the "quirky looking yet most beautiful young man"?

MikeP said...

Did these come from the Oxfam shop? Because if there's another decent bookshop in St Austell I'd be very happy to know where it is!

Callum said...

Hi J, no, I'm sorry, you are not the only one to have expressed an interest in him. I'm afraid you'll just have to make the trip, there was no opportunity in the chat about our Cream Tea to ask if he'd mind being photographed for my blog! Maybe next time eh?

Mike P. No, thanks for asking but, as you obviously know, St Austell was something of a buying desert. The books pictured came from earlier in the day at The Dartmoor Bookshop

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