I've mentioned before how useless I can be when it comes to gift buying, so it'll probably come as no surprise to readers that the sudden realisation I'd forgotten my niece's birthday caused me some concern.
here, bookshops are good at solving my problems...
I'd only meant to visit to buy something for myself, and indeed that's how my visit started out. But the calming atmosphere of this bright, warm bookshop, combined with a varied and attractive children's section, saw me realising books are the answer. Obviously.
However, as we live some distance away my niece isn't someone I see very often, so other than knowing she likes rabbits and princesses I wasn't sure where to start. I asked for help.
In the past booksellers have received praise for their excellent service, but the woman at Gerrards Cross Bookshop really outdid herself with dedication to my cause. She made several excellent suggestions, then scoured the shelves to give me more choice, and even let me carry on exploring the rest of the shop (where I found fluffy deely boppers, paper and a card) while she came up with ideas. Then as I was paying she even offered to wrap the gift for me, the result being the most beautifully wrapped present I've ever given.
And while the books were wrapped I had time to find a book for myself. All the happy-making from the ease of gift-choosing had obviously rubbed off, because I picked Jenny Colgan's The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris.
The two ladies I met at this bookshop had been so unbelievably helpful that I confess I was a little embarrassed when I owned up to the blog for fear of sounding like I'd been testing them. But once again they proved their loveliness as we chatted some more about books and the shop.
Gerrards Cross Bookshop may not be the biggest of destinations I've visited, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in heart, friendliness, generosity and - naturally - great books.
Gerrards Cross Bookshop
12a Packhorse Road, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9 7QE
Tel: 01753 885429