Tuesday, March 16, 2010

English Books and Tea

Oh, feck.

I've been horribly remiss.

And I don't just mean because I've hardly blogged for the last week (many apologies for that, by the way - have a head cold, not bad enough to keep me off work but bad enough to make me feel tired all the time). But because I never told you all about English Books and Tea!

English Books and Tea is a small second-hand bookshop in Cologne, Germany. I went there when I was interrailing and it's a lovely little spot. If you're ever in Cologne, you should drop in.

And you should go to Cologne, if you ever get the chance. It's a small-ish city (roughly Dublin-sized, I think, or just a bit smaller), and it has that beautiful cathederal. However big you think the cathedral is, it's bigger, and it's gorgeously Gothic and spiky. The people are incredibly friendly, and remained so even after an episode where a waiter helping me on with my jacket almost lost an eye.


I was interrailing with a fellow bookworm (and tea-addict) and we were both beginning to run low on books. I had read about English Books and Tea on the internet (given who we were travelling with, we each agreed that researching possible ways to find English books on the move before we left home was A Good Plan) and on Day Two or Three of our Cologne adventure, we headed north from the cathedral in search of books.

I had it in my head that I wanted to read Forever Amber again, and I didn't have my copy with me. I have mentioned this before, ad nauseum, but the bloody thing is huge and I can't stress this enough. You don't pack it on the off-chance.

We'd gone to the chocolate museum in Bruges (mostly for the gift shop) and somewhere in the exhibition there had been mention of how hot chocolate became the favourite hot beverage of the upper classes. I remembered Amber having her morning cup of chocolate, and somehow that one line in the museum made me think of all the decadance and luxury of Restoration England and I wanted to read Forever Amber again. I was prepared to chase it across a sizeable chunk of Europe if I had to, but I wasn't hopeful that I'd find it in Shakespeare and Company in Paris (our next and last stop).

English Books and Tea had a copy, and so cheap that I didn't have to feel bad about my plan to leave it behind in Paris for some unsuspecting reader to find.

This was a good start. It got better when the owner (a lovely man called Christian Potter, which is a brilliant name for a bookshop owner) made a joke about me buying it. I assured him it was very historically accurate. Honest.

And an hour later, we were still sitting there chatting, two or three books to the good and with several cups of decent English tea in us, heads full of book recommendations.

And a year and a half later, I'm finally getting around to passing on the recommendation. Sometimes I'm so crap I scare myself. . .


  1. Hi

    Sounds lovely and I'm sure it's just as lovely a year on!

    Hope you feel better!

    Take care

  2. Looking forward to more of your recommendations. This cold has really been clinging to you!Feel better soon.

  3. You are suffering at the moment, aren't you. Get well soon, and Happy St Patricks Day to you as well.

  4. Kitty, it's in a new building now so should you ever find yourself in Cologne, don't trust my directions! But I'm sure Christian's little enclave of bookish loveliness is the same regardless of new premises or the passage of time :)

    Thanks for the get well wishes, guys - I feel a lot better today but my voice keeps going. This happens to me every few winters, I just get a couple of things in a row and then I'm fine for a few years. Horrible while it lasts but worth it to get the antibodies up (must. . . stop. . . watching. . .House. . .)

  5. hope that by now, you're feeling better. i popped over from one of your comments on my blog about an article i wrote....i just now saw it from the first of the month! thanks for reading my article on DSMs for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. :) that gave me a warm fuzzy when you wrote you wanted one now. :)

    The Character Therapist

  6. H Jeannie, thanks for popping over :)

    I'm very interested in psychology, although I never studied it. It's on my list of things to do when I have the cash to go back to college! I'm sure the DSM is cheaper!

    I've often found character ideas in my Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (it's a very layperson-y book but great bedtime reading) - plus it's just a fun read.


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