Thursday 24 November 2016

There's nothing like a good yarn

A few days ago at work we were talking about yarn bombing and it reminded me of a lovely spring day in Thirsk that I've not yet shared with you.

I was in North Yorkshire as part of what I affectionately called my Northern Bookshop Adventure, but by chance my arrival in Thirsk almost coincided with that of the Tour de Yorkshire and the community's way of celebrating it: by dressing up the town in yarn. And we're not just talking pompoms in trees. There were bollard covers, woolly-footed benches and all manner of bright and colourful creations adorning the main square of the town.

As a first experience of the place it was wonderful. I parked up and explored, enjoying not just my surroundings but also the reactions of the people around me. It was a very happy, friendly experience – and that was before I'd even made it to the bookshop.

White Rose Book Cafe has been on my list ever since the first Books are my bag day, when a chance Twitter conversation saw us chatting about washing tote bags and hanging them on the line (see the bookshop's Twitter avatar). Back then I was a naive new blogger and this bookshop was one of the first random strangers to talk to me. The memory stuck with me and I looked forward to finding out more. I only wish it hadn't taken me so long to visit.

A yarn flower covered the door handle as I made my way in to the particularly spacious bookshop. From the front I'd known it would be wide, I hadn't realised quite how far back it would stretch – and the bookshop is on two floors.

If you're in a hurry, the front area is enough to satisfy your fiction needs, with alphabetised shelves as well as recommendations areas. However delving deeper to find offers, non-fiction and more is definitely recommended. After the main part of the bookshop you come to the cafe area, which at the time of my visit was around half-full and generating a happy buzz of conversation.

Alongside this is part of the children's section, or head upstairs to board games, young adult and more non-fiction. Up here there's also an activity room.

I enjoyed taking my time to explore, especially because the bookshop's open layout means you always feel a part of the activity, even if you're browsing alone. Not that I was alone for long as I soon headed back to the front of the shop for a chat with the bookseller.

Her recommendations were varied and excellent, but I have to confess for the first time ever I didn't follow them because, just as I was dithering over several of her highlighted titles, a book that's long been on my must-buy list caught my attention. Nick Hornby's Long Way Down is one of the favourite books (and, interestingly, films) of a friend's teenage daughter and her praise of it means I'm pleased to have finally added it to my bookshelves.

White Rose Book Cafe is every bit as friendly as I'd anticipated and is easily large enough to lose an afternoon – or longer – in. I may have taken several years to get there but the joy of exploring, coupled with this long-sought for book, means it was definitely worth the wait.

There was only one thing left to do: settle down for a coffee while I dived into my new yarn.

White Rose Book Cafe
79-81 Market Place, Thirsk, North Yorkshire YO7 1ET
Tel: 01845 524353

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