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I accompanied my brother to London, and I was fortunate enough to explore the British Library St Pancras. I loved it there. It was my home away from home. There were historical treasures aplenty, busts, spacious seating areas to chill out, café/study area, and even bookshops (in a library?). There was this massive bookshelf that climbed … well, you need to see it for yourself. There may have been times I forgot to keep my mouth shut when browsing books, though nobody pointed it out.
There are bookshops on Picadilly. We checked out Hatchards bookstore, which had a spiral staircase leading to many floors. It was the sort of staircase that reminds you of the temperamental one in Harry Potter that changes its mind based on passwords, remember? Hatchards had a nice ‘books aplenty’ feel to it. Waterstones London was nice and spacious. We were tired by this point and I felt it was much similar to the Leeds one, not appearing as new to me.
I was shocked by the sheer volume of people, though thankfully I had time to relax and read in a hotel with one of the best green teas I’ve ever had.
We nearly got stranded in London because the trains acted up due to works. I was panicking I’d have to stay and we didn’t have a plan for the next days. We were thankful to get a train to Doncaster, and then a lift to Leeds.
Ilkley Literature Fringe Festival
I returned to Ilkley for the Ilkley Fringe Festival, to listen to spoken word poets Ella Sanderson and Alex Asher about Ella’s life with Asperger’s and unhelpful labels and stereotypes by Alex. I found the talk alleviated my stress and bad feelings about issues related to my condition, and it was nice to experience spoken word for the first time in person.
The Ilkley Manor House I explored afterward is a ‘creative heritage hub’ which is nearby and with artwork and historical artefacts. Its ‘mid 14th century stone manor house and courtyard sits within the footprint of a Roman fort’.
Cafes and doughnuts (or ‘donuts’ as per Temple Donuts)
Temple Donuts is a place for doughnuts and coffee in Kirkstall, though they also sell their own merchandise: mugs, t-shirts, etc. Me and my friend got there just when it was doughnut rush time and we were shocked by the long queue and the cars coming in and out constantly. The place also has a quick-fix counter for those in a hurry, where there is a smaller selection of doughnuts, and I opted for this in October. My favourite was the pumpkin, which had a cinnamon taste, for Halloween. It’s now been discontinued, I believe. There is a colourful and delicious range of flavours: maple, galaxy (?), jam and peanut, caramel (I think), to name a few. I tried in November and the main queue went down quickly. It’s worth the short wait to select your favourites.
It’s a unique experience to be among the doughnut-eating subculture, and we observed them eating doughnuts with sticky fingers. I didn’t feel completely safe holding the camouflaged merchandise doughnut box in the car on the way back, and a few looks over our shoulders reassured us nobody else wanted them, they’re that tasty. I will be sure to salivate over the promise of new doughnuts next time.
Check out the photos, of the cappuccino I had at Fettle Café, the small bookshop the Village in Leeds I visited to have coffee, and my trip to Middleton Railway where Star Wars invaded. There was something nice and quaint about travelling in the wooden confines of a train; it was a treat. There is also a photo of my walk in Harrogate.
- I was kindly gifted a copy of Harsh Realities by CG Hatton, third book in her Thieves Guild series, which I will look forward to. Check out my reviews of Residual Belligerence and Blatant Disregard.
- I purchased autobiographical book Deadweight about borderline personality disorder, written by Nick Crutchley who is a fantasy author who has struggled with mental illness, and has a background in teaching and environmentalism. Check out my review on the blog next month.
- I bought some books in the sale at HMV: Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K Dick and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The HMV was apparently closing down. I did wonder why there were only dystopian and political books there.
- Dreyer’s English has proved useful on at least two occasions, which I picked up at Waterstones when I went with a friend. It’s a style guide and I hadn’t heard of it before.