I had a lovely day in Wivenhoe yesterday. I was almost disappointed. In some ways it would have been easier to have gone and wondered why on earth I had ever thought I might move there. At first under grey skies I thought it wasn’t going to exercise its charms on me. I had a few goals, to visit streets further up the hill, to check out the Co-op, the bookshops and any other shop, to visit the library. All of which I achieved. In so doing I ruled out the up the hill options as feeling too suburban. I want to be in the thick of things, even if the thick of things Wivenhoe style is a very different affair to London’s thick of things. The Co-op didn’t exactly make my heart go faster, but it’s adequate. The Syrian shop sells tahini in plastic containers like the tahini I buy here, just at a much higher price. There’s a Norwegian bakery I didn’t manage to visit before it closed. Up the hill and down the hill people had left garden produce for passersby to take. I am a sucker for that sort of thing.
For a change the tide was in, so I ate my packed lunch looking at working vessels, then made my way along the river to where the pleasure craft are moored.
I had some time to kill before I was due to meet the estate agent. I went into the Wivenhoe Boutique. I explained I wasn’t a real customer, just someone scoping out the town with the idea of moving there. Natalie was more than willing to give me advice, but three more people turned up, and under the current rules Natalie is only allowed to have three customers in the shop at a time. I excused myself and said I’d come back later. She advised me to speak to Sarah in the Wivenhoe Bookshop, but the shop was closed for lunch.
However, Wivenhoe has two bookshops. The secondhand one was open. I was invited in. again, I explained I wasn’t a real customer. After less than five minutes conversation, Penny, the owner, told me I’d fit in to life in Wivenhoe. How do you know? I asked. “You’re friendly, outgoing,” she said, “You’ll be happy here.”
It turns out she also knows my friend Michèle. Small world.
The library was small but felt well-organised. I imagine that Colchester offers a wider choice of books.
I’m going to skip over the stuff with the estate agent as it’s getting late and I am working in the morning. also it wasn’t fantastically interesting. But I did get into the other bookshop which is delightful, and spent some money there, but forgot to ask Sarah for property searching advice. I think the next time I go I shall just try to follow up and build on this little network.
Back in London it was a rush to feed MasterB and myself before an excellent poetry evening.
Tonight Cynthia and I went out for a drink. The same pub as last time. We’re becoming regulars. By the time we walked home she had organised me. I now have to let my flat and rent a property in Wivenhoe I can afford and which will accept pets for two years. When I think about it, a small town that supports two bookshops sounds like paradise.
It’ll be nice if it works like that.
Stay safe. Keep well. Be kind.