Astley Book Farm: heaven on earth (even if you have a Kindle)

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Today it is my friend Phil’s birthday. He is 68 and was named after Prince Philip who shares the same birthday. I only just found this out when I wondered why the Union Jack was flapping high over a village green en-route and was informed it is for Prince Philip’s birthday. Back in the day when the national anthem was played on the wireless to mark the occasion, my friend’s mother told her young son it was to celebrate his birthday. Even today my buddy finds it difficult not to stand to attention and beam proudly when he hears the tune.

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Anyway, Phil drove us out to Bedworth (my previous blog on Bedworth is at https://travellingveganmystic.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/bedworth-warwickshire-a-swanky-estate-for-the-poor-receiving-a-free-banana-and-being-interrogated-for-walking-without-a-dog/to visit one of his favourite haunts, Astley Book Farm.

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He took me last year for my first time and yet it still retained some of that initial wow-factor for me today. Millions of books! On a farm! And liberty to treat the place like a library all day if you wanted. I must state though that most of the barn can be chilly so I highly recommend taking a fleece if you feel the cold. Even in the summer. Also there is only one lavatory but it is wall papered in this funky way so you have to let them off.

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A miracle happened whilst I was at the book farm. I petted a Staffordshire Terrier. This is Rosie who was abandoned in some Derbyshire snow and is now the loveable shop dog. I never touch Staffies. Ever since a former neighbour’s Staffie (more like a Pit Bull which eventually was put down for almost biting off a woman’s arm) crashed through our adjoining fence and trampled me as I cowered on the ground. It seemed like an hour before the owner managed to get him away from me.

Shortly after I was getting over that incident, another Staffie made a vicious attempt at my leg whilst I was out running in the park (the owner’s thought it was hilarious) and another followed me with evil eyes from a back seat of a car. I have avoided them by walking by in a roomy curve ever since. Until today when I was cured by adorable Rosie and only then because she was on a lead and a small child touched her first.

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The book farm has a very popular cafe however it is not the best for vegans and I would love to see a change there, even if it was to supply one vegan option of sandwich filling and a cake. I had the fresh tomato and basil soup with granary bread which was delicious. The hummus here is my own from home as I was planning to have a jacket potato originally; instead I spread it on the bread to get the protein in. Our tea was cherry and cinnamon.

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Sarah (left) and Vivienne (right) run the farm in a friendly manner and between them work every day from 10 am until 5 pm.

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There are many rare finds such as this Yoga book at £20.

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And early Enid Blytons. This one was £7.95. Spiffing.

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Phil has recently embarked on a 2 year charity walk (in stages on doctor’s advice as his calf exploded on his first attempt). He is trekking from The Scilly Isles to the Shetland Islands raising funds for APS Support UK (antiphospholipid syndrome) and so he snapped up this one up from 1952. I doubt the landscape has changed much.

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The children’s department is located upstairs and I think this may be Aslan from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe but there was no label and it had red eyes I am not convinced.

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Ten Bob Barn is a smaller building where all books are 50p. Nothing is in order though; the art of dentistry is lobbed in with romantic fiction so do allow time to browse well if you are after bargains.

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The farm has a delightful garden where you can sit out with your refreshments and read your purchases. Last year we spent an age here in the sunshine gossiping about our former railway colleagues but it was cool today and so we remained indoors. 

I am currently reading Agatha Christie’s biography and so thought this would be a good follow up to find out a bit more why she did that infamous disappearing act in the 1920.

And if you don’t recall Alexei Sayle then perhaps this will remind you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhHJ4zEKDZY

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So I only came home with 2 books since I already have a huge backlog waiting for me on the Kindle. I am not sure if that’s a swear word underneath the book barn roof.

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6 Comments

  1. Lana, I treasure old bookstores as well. I love the pot bellied iron stove. Thanks for sharing what caught your eye. Tell me how the Agatha Christie biography is. My daughter loves her books having read about twenty of them. Safe travels, Keith

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    1. Keith the AC autobiography has to be the best autobiography I have ever read! It is long but worth it to read all about her time in Victorian England, travels in Syria etc 🙂

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      1. Thanks for the review. You probably relish the travel stories, with your travel bent. My daughter loves to read and is most found of Christie’s Hercule Poirot books. She is less enthralled with Miss Marple. This could be a future present for her. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

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