One of my favourite surprises is that of stumbling across a previously unknown-to-me bookshop. It doesn't happen often but when it does it's like the excitement of Christmas as a child.
The front of this bookshop is as picturesque as its surroundings, with a little quirkiness in the window for the more keen observer.
Opening the door, the first glance is of a very small hall, leading into a slightly less small (but still very tiny) bookshop. It's a marvellous space to enter.
Of course, the secondhand books are equally appealing: from stunning hardbacks of note to paperbacks for the everyday reader. The general fiction, classics, history and children's shelves caught my eye, but a range of subjects are offered and the poetry section is particularly generous – as the bookseller later told me, poetry and art are among their priorities.
After he politely heard my enthusiasm about the joy of stumbling across his bookshop, we covered books, local authors (E F Benson, Rumer Godden, Henry James, et al), bookshops and a wealth of random subjects in between. One of my particular pleasures is finding a good bookseller to chat to while I browse and in Antonio I'd found a great one.
When I finally told him about this blog our talk returned to the bookshop, including favourite stock, encouraging your readers and a particularly unusual loyalty scheme involving old English pennies: spend £10 and receive a penny, next time you visit (with your penny) you're entitled to a discount. No penny, no discount. Prices are reasonable so my purchase of Mapp & Lucia by E F Benson didn't hit the £10 target, but as a result of our conversation I was still generously offered a penny.
Where some people have photos of loved ones, my wallet now carries the penny as a reminder of my visit. Not that I need the penny to jog my memory: bookshops like The Tiny Book Store aren't quickly forgotten.
The Tiny Book Store
70 Church Square, Rye,
East Sussex, TN31 7HF
Tel: 07784 942047
* My visit took place on Easter Sunday.