There are lots of reasons to want to meet a bookshop – the need for a book, location, looking for a friendly chat, a recommendation... I'm not going to try to list them all here, but my reason for wanting to visit my next destination was Twitter.
One of the (admittedly many) places that had inspired me to write this blog, Kirkdale Bookshop is simply a very entertaining read on the social media site, which is why I was very excited when I realised I could make it the second stop on my 2014 Books are my bag bookshop crawl.
After all, I wanted to find out if the bookshop was as great a character as its Twitter presence.
Stepping inside, the initial feeling is of entering a bright and cosy boutique bookshop, but passing beyond the central till and large selection of new books you discover an equally welcoming children's section and stairs leading down to the secondhand section. There's a lot more to this bookshop than you'd first expect.
My arrival coincided with children's story time and it was hard not to stop and make the most of the opportunity of being read to in such a bright and welcoming bookshop. However, time was not on my side and so instead I (only semi-reluctantly) made my way downstairs to the secondhand area.
Breaking the ice with the request of a book recommendation and pointing to a title I've often wondered about reading, I got into discussion with a friendly bookseller who talked me through the book I'd named (I'll save that title for another time) and made some more appropriate suggestions. More conversation ensued, followed by a chat with the bookshop's Twitter king during which I had to stop myself from sounding like a crazy bookshop groupie and just repeating 'you're great/funny/highly entertaining'.
Retreating with my craziness and some helpful directions to my next bus, I eventually left, clutching the bookseller's recommendation of Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (which I'd purchased at 10 per cent off thanks to their birthday celebrations).
With a reading group, events, gallery space, lots of lovely books and a cheery and welcoming atmosphere, it's easy to see how Kirkdale Bookshop has successfully reached its 48th birthday. It may only be a part of my Twitter community, but in the real world the bookshop is very much a part of the local community. Which is exactly where it should be.
272 Kirkdale, Sydenham, London, SE26 4RS
Tel: 020 8778 4701