This idea probably played a significant part in how my next visit worked out, with what was meant to be a brief stop off at one bookshop on the way to my sister's instead taking me on a journey of more than 200 miles, two countries and three bookshops, in one day.
Thankfully, the answer to both of those questions was yes. Whether it's because Rossiter Books is in an easy to discover location or I have a bookshop homing device in my brain I couldn't say, but I drove into the town and my destination appeared in front of me, as did an empty parking space a matter of seconds later. This visit was meant to be.
On entering Rossiter Books my first thought was of surprise. I'd seen the three large windows on my way in, but as they're quite dark from the outside I'd not realised just how full of light the space would be. It was a beautiful and warming experience on a cold winter's day and one I'd very much like to replicate in my own home some day.
The bookshop was empty when I arrived, giving time for the bookseller and I to chat about what I might like to read next. One of his recommendations, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, immediately captured my attention but before buying I wanted to take time to enjoy my surroundings and explore a little. As more customers appeared a friendly buzz filled the shop and before I knew it I was engrossed in Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. With signed copies available at cover price how could I not revise my choice of purchase?
Pausing to admire the selection of book-related goodies I also found myself unable to resist a Penguin tote bag of The Amateur Adventurer by Gandar Dower - given my endeavour it seemed appropriate.
As I got back on the road with my book and bag - and Rossiter loyalty card - by my side I really did feel like I was on an adventure, or some kind of pilgrimage, and before I knew it I found myself wishing I'd bought the two books instead of one.
This thought grew as I crossed the border into Wales and suddenly I realised I was on the road to Monmouth, home of Rossiter Books' sister bookshop of the same name. It would've been rude not to pop in and say hi, and pick up the book I'd left behind...
An unusual place, this initially appeared to be a good quality secondhand bookshop but also stocked a variety of new fiction, an 'airplane shelf' of battered pound books to leave behind once read, DVDs and computer games and a tempting selection of sweets. It was also a bit of a rabbit warren with the small shop front giving no hint at the length of bookshop corridor waiting to be explored.
Here I picked up a book by an author I've wondered about reading ever since Lata in A Suitable Boy praised their work: P G Wodehouse. I look forward to my first encounter with his writing in The Adventures of Sally - and yes, the adventurous title did help in my selection.
Three books happier, my mini bookshop adventure drew to a close as I finally got back on the road for my original destination, safe in the knowledge that while the day's bookshopping was over, stretching out before me is my own amateur adventure.
The Corn Exchange, 7 The High Street, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 5HL
Tel: 01989 564464
5 Church Street, Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, NP25 3BX
Tel: 01600 775572
3 Church Street, Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales, NP25 3BX
Tel: 01600 713701