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Independent and full of Heart …

So let’s start at 8 am. This morning – Thursday 11th September 2014.

A glorious morning.
Mist and sunshine
Driving from near Oswestry (our new local town) to Much Wenlock – and I realise, not for the first time that I live in the most beautiful place in the world

When I say “realise” – I mean “real eyes”

Anyway –
There is a road closure
So I get to Much Wenlock – late
I start to sneak in to The Tea in The Square, where Poetry Breakfast is held – and am welcomed by Anna Dreda – who,
instead of being annoyed that I have broken into the poem she’s reading says tea of coffee? and that she has ordered me a croissant, and welcomes me through to a spare chair.
I sit down – immediately relaxed

As always there is a fab collection of poems people have brought: Michael Longley, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Jennings, David Whyte –

– and I read an Owen Shears poem out to everyone called “Trees” as I still can’t get over the joy and luck we are all bathed in

Why Owen Shears?
He’s a great poet – but,
also –
He is one of three Costa Poetry Judges this year. Anna Dreda is another.

Anna Dreda founded Wenlock Poetry Festival.
Poets who read there says it’s a fantastic festival.
The audience says the same

Anna Dreda personally funded Wenlock Poetry Festival anthology 2014 – and so gave unpublished poets the chance to have their words next to those of some of the most well-known poets of this country.
And gave readers the chance to read them all

Her bookshop WENLOCK BOOKS, Much Wenlock is a joy to visit
She has made such a wonderful selection – I want to buy every book on its shelves

She runs reading groups and poetry groups and well, you get the idea. I imagine there are millions of other things she does.
All with the same constant giving heart.


Turn the clock back just twelve hours .
And I am sitting in my new local bookshop – BOOKA in Oswestry

Carrie Morris, one of the owners – is running a book group.

It’s my first time.
Not just at this book group- but at any book group – because until I started reading this month’s book (Burial Rites by Hannah Kent) I really couldn’t understand why people felt the need to go to one.

I sit, laughing at myself, having been warmly greeted by Carrie and offered a drink.
Without her, I wouldn’t have ever read this wonderful book.
I join in the discussion – some of it I don’t agree with, but all of it I enjoy .. and to be in a roomful of people who have recently read the same book as me is a joy I can’t describe,
even though I have never met any of them before

Having just moved to the area I don’t know too much of what Carrie and Tim Morris do: –

I know about the book groups
And the book events
And that they are part of the committee who organise Oswestry Literature Festival.

I know that I have missed seeing Jim Crace and Gillian Clarke here – but won’t let that happen again

The shop is welcoming, full of exciting books, and has a thriving café.

This is a place I want near me, always. As is WENLOCK BOOKS.
I have no idea how these bookshops have survived the bullying monopoly of Amazon, other internet shops, and of the “bigger boys” chainstores

I am amazed at them, and so so thankful
When people say support your local bookshop it is not just about books

It is about readers and writers
It’s about community
It is about love
It is about looking after yourself

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