Independent Bookshop Review

Please check out our independent bookshop review for Manchester below.

Reg yesterday

Reg yesterday

Sale Antiquarian Book Shop

This dusty old shop down a sodden back alley in Sale has a lot of character and also some rising damp. There are a wide variety of old, unusual and rare books, many of them curiously sticky and most of them smelling like the inside of a wheely bin full of cats.
It took us three visits to actually get into the bookshop to review it as Reg, the aging owner is almost completely deaf and keeps forgetting to unlock the door each morning. There are some amazing bargains to be found though; we got a very rare first edition Beatrix Potter but unfortunately Reg was using it as a coaster and the excess spillage from his luke warm tea had deprecated the value somewhat.
Anyway if you can bear the smell and don’t mind the seventeen or so cats that the shop has (started out as 2 but “the little buggers have been breeding”) then come and pay them a visit.

One thing to note is that the Sale Antiquarian Book Shop was on an episode of ‘how clean is your business’ with Kim and Aggie. They walked out after 3 hours after Aggie came out in hives.

Nazi Baubles

Nazi Baubles anyone?

Worsely Military Book Specialist

Next up for our independent bookshop review is Worsely Military Book Specialist. The first thing that strikes you when you visit this very specialist independent bookshop is the alarming amount of Nazi memorabilia; there are flags, knives, cases of pistols and some very alarming mannequins with full uniform and rifles near the door.
Although owners Rolf and Dieter were very keen to talk about some of his more general selections of military books, we couldn’t help but notice that nearly 75% of the floor space was taken up by a V3 cannon, an original from World War 2 apparently. Although not really of much use to everyday readers, it is quite alarming, especially the sulphur smell as if it has recently been used. Although stocking several prints of ‘mein kampf’, the other non-Nazi military section was at the back behind some boxes.
We wanted to explore more but upon opening a door to the backroom, we were confronted by several very old gentlemen with long beards all muttering in German. One got quite excitable and started making Nazi salutes so we made our excuses and left.

It is worth noting that shortly after our visit, the shop was closed and has stood eerily empty.
childrens book shop

Wythenshawe Childrens Bookshop

Wythenshawe Children’s Book Shop

Vera and Geoff Tipps started their bookshop in Wythenshawe about 10 years ago as a general independent bookshop but they quickly found that they weren’t selling enough to local residents and therefore they cornered the market on children’s books. Although they will admit they’re not big fans of children, they realised they had to make money somehow and therefore they stocked their shelves with Magic Faraway Trees and Gruffalo books and lo and behold – Wythenshawe Childrens Book Shop was born.
“It’s not been easy” said Geoff, “Sometimes of a weekend, there’d be 10 or more of the little ba%tards in the shop leafing through all me books and traipsing their muddy shoes all through me shop”.
“That’s right” Vera added, “They’d have their grubby little fingers all over the new books so we had to have a 2 children at a time rule, it was the only way. Now they can wait in the street until its their turn to come in. I know its a busy road but serves them right, little bleeders”.
“I hate Christmas” Geoff continued, “They’re all writing lists of more and more things they want from Father Christmas, the fat little lazy gets. I’d give them nothing. I used to just get a sock full of gravel to throw about and my Dad would belt us if we enjoyed ourselves too much”.
“They want to bring back National Service….” shouted Vera as we made our way out quickly.
Vera and Geoff do not have children.

independent bookshop review

Queueing to see Peter doing Interpretative Dance

Urmston Bookshop

Saving the best till last in our independent bookshop review and thats Urmston Bookshop. Frances and Peter Hopkins are your typical bookshop owners. Peter a ‘retired’ account (the money was just resting in his account) and Frances, a retired window cleaner have always had a love of books, especially ones with big writing and lots of pictures.
They opened Urmston Bookshop to enable the local community to buy books from somewhere that actually sold books rather than TV tie-in books like the local supermarket. It is folklore that Frances was looking for something to read on her holidays one year and after going into the local supermarket (that shall not be named) she was faced with the choice of:

  • The Hairy Bikers Cookbook
  • 50 Shades of Grey
  • Dawn French’s previous book (the unfunny one)
  • A Lego sticker book

After deciding to purchase the Lego sticker book, she realised that she was missing a trick and the legend of Urmston Bookshop was born. Peter was brought on board as he’s a dutiful husband and he has to do what he’s told or he gets beaten like Tyrone out of Corrie.
There was talk of Peter and Frances being an English version of the Fritzls but under legal advice I cannot say any more.

The Neighbours

Everybody needs good neighbours

Neighbours Odd Behaviour

  • Flicking the lights on and off constantly like a big mad disco
  • Weeing in the street
  • Stalking some fella in the flats up the road
  • Howling in the small hours
  • Spoons going missing

My new house (Mingo Towers) has a rather strange set of neighbours. I noticed something amiss when I moved in and noticed there was an ashtray screwed to the wall; the kind you see outside pubs. I thought nothing more of it until a few days later and I met them – I had a steam mop delivered next door and one of them brought it round for me.

Oh good lord.

The house is an assisted living house which means care workers are there 24/7 to care for the occupants, most of whom have learning difficulties, bladder problems or are chained to the wall. I became obsessed with them as you only ever really get to see two of them frequently but I know there is at least 5 in there. We’ve witnessed odd behaviour too.

I have changed the names to protect their identities but here are what I have discovered:

Stalker

Jenny in the garden

Jenny the stalker

Jenny is the youngest of the bunch, she is often seen in and around the village and is famous for her blatantly crap stalking skills. It seems that she fancies a bloke up the road and instead of the usual route of chatting him up / asking him out, she seems to think the route to his heart is standing outside his flat and staring in through the windows. When that becomes too much and she gets chased off by the neighbours, she goes round the back and tries to get in over the fence there. She has a restraining order and is brought home by a police car about twice a week. A few months back she turned up on the doorstep with a broken nose and two black eyes from ‘her fella’ – he’s obviously a keeper.
I’m not suggesting Jenny is a liar but in the past year she claims to have:

  • Been in court 3 times for ‘keying her boyfriends car
  • Mentioned she has 3 children all of wildly varying ages each time
  • Suggested she’s attempted to cut her own arm off with some glass because she was bored
  • Got a job in a local off license (never gonna happen that one).
Daniel O'Donnell yesterday

Daniel O’Donnell yesterday

Terry the chain smoking shuffler

Terry is about 70 and shuffles everywhere. I don’t think her legs are working below the knees. She chain smokes and this, coupled with the very slow shuffling means she can easily finish a cigarette in about 40 yards. She can have smoked a whole ten deck by the time she gets to the shops. We heard from someone in the hair salon that she once had a wee outside with a can of special brew in one hand and a fag in the other. She wears a Daniel o’ Donnell t shirt occasionally and has a bet Lynch cigarette holder. Terry, we salute you!

Pat

We’ve not seen much of Pat as she goes to a daycare centre in a minibus every day but she seems in a constant state of confusion. She smiles though in a kind Auntie kind of way.

Mungo

Mungo

Mungo

the most mysterious of the bunch and rarely seen. In the depths of the darkest and coldest nights, Mungo can be heard in next doors cellar. His chains clashing against the grills on the small window which lets in his only light. Rumours that he escaped once but was captured in the garden have not yet been confirmed. Our squirrel problem seems sorted though, we think he baits them in through the window then eats them whole.