Have you ever gone somewhere and instantly fallen in love with it? Not the butterflies in the stomach, lightheaded kind of infatuation, but the deep feeling of belonging that comes with true love? A kind of comfort and peace that makes you think “Hey, I could get used to this…”
Recently, due to a rather dramatic incident involving the severe heat of 31 degrees (we’re in London, that’s hot for September) and a computer who clearly had enough to burst into flames (and a hot tip from a friend), I found such a place: Word on the Water.
Having grown up in a city criss-crossed by canals I do find the canal a particularly peaceful place to be. There’s waterways, but it’s free of the rush and tumult that accompanies a full-blown river. Also, they’re shallow, so if like me you aren’t the strongest swimmer, well you probably aren’t going to drown should you fall in. So, this place was already off to a great start for me.
As you can see here the books outside the barge are a curated collection of second hand volumes chosen by Jon, the owner, to reflect his interests and also what people are reading. Inside there’s a different story, it’s a beautifully managed mixture of new paperback, new hardbacks (I do love a good hardback myself), and old hardbacks of classics which “If they don’t sell today, will sell tomorrow” Jon told me in a brief but very enjoyable conversation.
The atmosphere at the barge is laid back and as the kids are saying these days: chill. The ships dog lolls about soaking in the sunshine and the jazz while Jon watches the people decide what they’re reading next. Standing in the sunshine looking at the barge, I wanted to blow off the evening of study and pop to the shops for some coffee or a sneaky G&T to unwind by the water and listen the the music while reading whatever it was I happened to pick up.
Keep an eye out for my interview with Jon in the coming days, or better yet visit Word on the Water yourself if you happen to be in King’s Cross with a few minutes to spare, you will not regret it.
The London Bookbarge, Word on the Water, can be found on Regents Canal just behind King’s Cross station. Take the steps down from Granary Square and follow the canal. The shop is open from 12-7 every day so there’s really no excuse for not going. It’s not to be missed!