Next Wednesday, December 12th, I shall be at Persephone Books for the Christmas Open Day from 10.30am onwards. This will be the third time I've been at this event so I speak with confidence when I say that it's worth making a detour to do your Persephone book-shopping on that day. The shop glows, the mulled wine flows, the mince pies are delicious, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
If you need further inducement, consider an omelette and chips at Sid's cafe next door (one of a dying breed - a local, independent cafe with character, tables squeezed together, generous portions, and fair prices), a visit to Ben Pentreath's shop on Rugby Street (Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath spent the first night of their honeymoon at no. 18), a drink in The Lamb (with Victorian fittings and 'snob screens'), an architectural walk round the surrounding streets as described in Bricks and Mortar, or a Dickensian Christmas Walk and Museum tour on the same day organised by the newly refurbished Dickens Museum on nearby Doughty Street (where Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby shared a flat for a time at no 52). Visually, it will be London in December at its best, especially when the day fades and the lights are switched on, and Virginia Woolf's wonderful descriptions in her novels and diaries of London at dusk come to mind and have the power to transform an ordinary walk or bus journey into something quite extraordinary.
Do come and say hello. I'll be knitting, talking (as ever), and selling copies of my cake and stitching books. I look forward to it.
[Paintings by Delphin Enjolras who, in many paintings, captures the atmosphere and pleasures of tea at dusk/lamplight/reading, although I have my doubts about some of his other work.]