Two enterprising ex-Waterstones employees are planning to open an independent bookshop in Wood Green in North London. Tim West and Simon Key were made redundant when Waterstones closed their Wood Green shop with only 9 days notice recently, leaving Wood Green without a bookshop. The intrepid lads hope to step into the breach and are blogging about their progress at Open a Bookshop, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? I wish them well and hope they succeed.
I've been to the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC today despite the best efforts of Central Trains to keep me away. It seems that there was some vandalism to a line somewhere and it meant they had to cancel virtually every train between Walsall and the NEC. Thanks guys! Anyway I got there in the end, though I was a little disappointed with the number of knitting / wool sellers there. However in general it was an interesting event - the exhibitions are always wonderful, and I got talking to various people from various craft guilds about spinning, felting etc. I didn't spend a lot, just bought a ball of brightly coloured sock wool, and a couple of knitting-related charms which I will turn into earrings.
The journey back was twice as bad as trying to get there as, despite boarding a train which said it was a straight-through train to Walsall, it actually terminated at Birmingham. No-one saw fit to inform the passengers of this, until someone asked if this was the train for the NEC and half the carriage said "Yes" and the rest of us said "No". Chaos ensued. Eventually a porter chap appeared and said that the Walsall train was cancelled. Where could we get another train to Walsall? He had no idea! Finally we found out that there was a train to Stafford, passing through Walsall, on a different platform, leaving in about 30 seconds. It was a sight to be seen - all these women clutching bags of wool and craft stuff sprinting up the stairs, along the corridor, back down the stairs and onto the new train. Which sat where it was for another 20 minutes. Aaargh - the wonders of New Street Station!
Finally a note to Walsall Council. We locals all know that the Ring Road is terrible, we know that it needs to be widened / resurfaced / rerouted but is it really necessary to dig up every single road in Walsall all at the same time in order to do this. I had two simple errands to run in the car when I got back to the station, each errand took no more than 5 minutes. Driving the 4 or so miles I had to cover to complete my mission and get home took an hour and a half. It just wasn't my day today, was it.