I love Saffron Walden. (http://www.saffronwalden.gov.uk/)
It is awfully marvellous and dreadfully genteel, but I can do this as well as awesomely edgy stuff if I want to, variety is the spice of life!
It offers gorgeous architecture, great charity shops (for clothes, shoes, objects and books), lovely parks, some art galleries (among them the increasingly popular Fry Gallery (http://www.fryartgallery.org/), a market full of fantastic bargains and for cake lovers, the most amazing display of cakes I've seen on a market place, and it is a walking distance away from the fabulous Audley End house - do as we did, walk there at the end of the afternoon, when everyone has gone.
The house appears all of a sudden, wrapped up in all its greenery, and if it were not for the cars going along the busy road to Cambridge, you wouldn't be able to determine which era you are in. It is so peaceful, so refreshing... (http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/audley-end-house-and-gardens/)
I was there on Saturday (apologies, I had previously wirtten in on Sunday), and I am going back very soon! I am sure we have missed a few things...
Also, there are antiques shops. One of our favourite ones has now disappeared (oh the disappointment, it had the bestest piles of Picture Post magazines!) but the other two establishments we like so much are still there: Arts Decoratifs (http://www.artsdecoratifs.co.uk/)
and the fabulous Lankester Antiques and Books at The Old Sun Inn, full of pictures, magazines, books, ceramics, bits and bobs, all filling in large, evocative rooms...
It is at the Lankester antiques and books that I bought the 18 volumes of the Charles Dickens Library, 1910, the lot for £25... It includes a biography of the author and the Charles Dickens picture book!
I love old books. Holding them, reading them brings back the era in which they were published. They are usually beautifully made, sometimes richly illustrated. You always feel that you are holding a little bit of history, and if you start thinking about the people who might have read them (yes, I have a lot of imagination, this is why I love history, visiting monuments, castles, ancient cities... Because my mind can travel in time...) you can go all giddy...
I have nothing against technology and I am happy to use it when it serves a purpose, but I have to say that the feelings you get from old books cannot be recreated with an e-book.
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