Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Scottish Review of Bookshops: Aberfeldy Watermill

Aberfeldy is a very small town. Which is saying a lot, seeing as your author is a native of what would be considered a glorified village by most standards.  How does a town that doesn’t even have a train station support a bookshop as fantastic as the Watermill? It’s a mystery, but it certainly does, as when I visited there was not a seat to be had in the café downstairs.  Perhaps that is the Watermill’s secret: it’s not just a bookshop folks.  The Watermill also boasts a lovely café downstairs, and a rather swish art gallery upstairs.  Combined with the fact that the building retains all the original mill workings and this is a bookshop that is a joy to visit.  With a dedicated room for children’s books, and another containing a craft section with a selection of stock better than the one your author currently curates, there is definitely something for everyone.  

A display to tempt even the most reluctant crafter.

Pretty books for a pretty bookshop.
They stock Two Bad Mice cards, which are some of my favourites, and a host of other stationery. Although the fiction section isn’t massive, it has an impressive depth of range (possibly helped by their being supplied by Bertrams) and my only complaint is the selection of classics on offer (a sign hanging from the ceiling purports a proper classics section that is not in evidence – perhaps it is instead referring to their range of stunning special editions?)  When your author visited there were posters promoting an event with Scottish artist/illustrator Keith Brockie and his new book, and if similar events are a regular occurrence that could also go some way to explaining the popularity of the Watermill despite it’s out of the way location.  On the whole, Aberfeldy seems to be pushing itself as a cultural hub in an area mostly visited by people with the disturbing urge to walk up steep hills in all weathers (him indoors and I did The Birks on the same day – never again) and in addition to showing films at the local community hub type place, work was underway to refurbish and lovingly regenerate the old Birks cinema to its original purpose.  As the granddaughter of a projectionist, your author has been raised on stories of a time when there was a cinema on every corner instead of a poundshop, and while old cinema buildings do occasionally make lovely pubs and clubs, nothing is better than the statement cinema architecture being home to the smell of popcorn once again.