Ask anyone what their favourite smell is, and 90% of the time they’ll say it’s old books. (For the other 10% it’s either freshly baked bread or the aftershave of a long-dead but beloved relative.) Everyone loves old books, even people who’ve only managed half a Ben Elton paperback on holiday since 1999, like my mother. Who doesn’t like rifling through a box of possible treasures, well-thumbed by untold readers before them? It has a whiff of that pre-digital charm that is so hard to come by nowadays.
So, imagine how tickled I was to find the Word on the Water, a floating bookshop that’s popped up (bobbed up?) on London’s waterways.
After drifting from bank to bank in Camden, Angel and Hackney, it’s finally found a permanent mooring outside Paddington station. There’s a wood-burning stove, a harem of
sea canal-faring moggies and a rooftop stage for alfresco poetry slams.
Of course, the stock is always changing, but there’s a selection to float every boat, including children’s fiction. I picked up a volume of letters from Evelyn Waugh and Geisha by Lesley Downer for a very reasonable £4.50.
The Word on the Water can now be found permanently moored outside Paddington underground station. They don’t have a website, but more information and their opening hours can be found on their Facebook page and Twitter account.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.