Bookshop @ 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol

A Bear Called Paddington

Many newspapers recently reported the death of Peggy Fortumn. The 96 year old, whose full name was Margaret Emily Noel Nuttall-Smith,  was the first illustrator to draw Michael Bonds much loved character Paddington Bear.

A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958. Since then, Paddington has had many incarnations, including appearing on TV and in the Cinema.

This got me thinking about Paddington. I really wanted to write a post about all the different illustrators that had drawn him but this seemed like a copyright nightmare.


PAddington image by

Instead, here are six facts you might not know about paddington:

  1. Michael Bond once considered suing Jeremy Clarksons Parents after he discovered they were selling soft toy versions of Paddington. Instead he decidd they seemed nice and gave them a licence.
  2. Paddington Bear did not originally have wellington boots– Dunlop children’s wellies were added to help the soft toy version stand up until Dunlop couldn’t meet demand and Paddington had his own boots designed.
  3. 32 Windsor Gardens (where Paddington Lives) does not exist but the council house residents of Windsor Gardens often find lost tourists wandering nearby.
  4. spectacled bearPaddington was meant to be from deepest darkest Africa. Bond changed this to be Peru due to a lack of bears in Africa. Paddington is thus based on the peruvian spectacled bear.
  5. Paddington came to the UK fleeing the aftermath of a natural disaster. In modern UK law that isn’t enough to grant him refugee status. Also as he didn’t register as a refugee on arrival he might be looking at 6 months in Prison. The Brown family could also be sentenced for sheltering him.
  6. Michael Bond is still writing Paddington books so if you think of these a think from the past, think again. The most recent is ‘Love from Paddington‘ letters from Paddington to his aunt Lucy, published in 2014.



A Time to Sow

As we pass the spring equinox the time for getting out into the garden is nigh!

After an abnormally mild winter,  blossom is starting to show and plants are starting to sprout new growth and the daffodils are out in force. Now is the time to get outside and start work in the allotment, garden, patio or window box.

Gardening Books

This article wouldn’t really have a place on this site if we didn’t start with a book right?

There are so many good gardening books. I started my allotment life with ‘Grow your own vegetables’ by Joy Larkham. It has no pictures and is quite dense but it’s been my vegetable bible and I’d highly recommend  looking out for a copy.

Having said that everyone has their own favorite. Here’s a few that we have on the shelves at the moment (bear in mind they might sell!):

Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, Pauline Pears (DK 2005), our Price £2.50

organic gardening encyclopedia

A great ‘everything you need to know’ book on gardening without chemicals. There’s excellent advice on garden design, soil care, ponds,  weeds and container gardening as well a vegetable A-Z and an in depth pets and disease section.

Really Small Gardens, Jill Billington (RHS 1998), our price £3.

small gardens
An imaginative book full of photographs and excellent ideas for gardening in a small space. Lots of design suggestions plus tried and tested plants for different situations

The Kitchen Gardener, Alan Titchmarsh (BBC, 2008) our price £1.25.

The kitchen gardener
We aren’t sure we don’t find Alan Titchmarch slightly too smug but for those that like him this  is a great A-Z fruit and vegetable guide going into how to grow and harvest each crop and choose between all the different varieties available.

Gardening supplies

Once you’ve acquired the books you will also need seeds and equipment.

Local Garden Centres:

For North Bristol Gardner’s, Gardiner Haskins garden department has lots of seeds, plants, bulbs and gardening supplies as well as all manor of strange patio furniture, concrete frogs and LED lighting.

For those south of the river, Riverside Garden Centre comes highly recommended and is much more comprehensive than Gardiner Haskins.

Internet Seeds:

For heritage and heirloom vegetable seeds including some really interesting vegetables you probably haven’t heard of try the welsh based Real Seed Company

For organic flowers and vegetables plus lots of other useful supplies, try the Organic Gardening Catalogue

Don’t even have space for a pot?

Don’t let a lack of your own space put you off gardening. Bristol is full of community growing projects that always want volunteers.

Incredible edible are a movement trying to get Bristol growing it’s own food. They have a great database of projects for people to get involved with here

Some examples are:

Feed Bristol is a large scale community growing project up in Stapleton. As well as having volunteer sessions they run lots of courses and information days

Sims Hill run a community veg share scheme and as a member you can work for your veg.

Happy growing everyone!


Poems That Make Grown Women Cry

Cover of Poems that Make Grown Women Cry

Looking for Ideas for Mothers Day?

You may remember copiously weeping over the 2014 anthology ‘Poems That Make Grown Men Cry’, by father-and-son team Anthony and Ben Holden.

Now the same duo have again teamed up with Amnesty International to make ‘Poems That Make Grown Women Cry.

They have asked 100 remarkable women, from Judi Dench to Joan Baez, from Yoko Ono to Joanna Lumley : “What poem has moved you to tears?”

Each poem is accompanied by a small introduction explaining their significance to the women who chose it.

The poems themselves range from Rumi and Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath, W. H. Auden to Carol Anne Duffy, Derek Walcott to Warsan Shire.

Their themes range from love and loss, through mortality and mystery, war and peace, to the beauty and variety of nature.

As a taster, you can here Natascha Mcdelhone Read ‘Donal Og’ (Anonymous, 8th Century) here:

We have a number of copies in the bookshop for sale at £13.99 (RRP £16.99)

National Theatre Readings 

For a taste of ‘Poems that Make Grown Men Cry’ see the National Theatres You tube channel:

For those in London, Tickets are now on sale at The National Theatre  for readings from Poems That Make Grown Women Cry. Details here.



Sale extended!

SALE feb 2016


What’s going on in February…

Children’s Book Sale:

Starting from 4th February children’s books will be on sale right through Half Term until to 17th February! All Childrens and Young adult books are 50p or Less.

Comic Book Sale:

We have a load of 1970s comics, recently donated and looking great:

  • Beanos and Dandys from 1960s-70s
  • Victors from 1970s

These comics are only 20p each or 6 for £1

My Little Book of Big Freedoms

With the human rights act under threat, Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate has assembled this lovely little book of illustrations- the human rights act in pictures.

over Image- My Little book of big freedoms by Chris Riddle

Containing sixteen illustrations with explanations of the freedoms they depict, we currently have the book in stock for £3.99

More info at .
You can browse the book on Flikr: