Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Afternoon Delights - A Wonderful Waterford Hideaway

The Book Centre Waterford and the coffee shop ceiling
In my last post about my trip to Dublin last weekend I alluded to an afternoon in the city and decided it deserved a post of its own. In fact, two afternoons in two cities in one week made for some pleasant R&R, and two separate blogposts. You can read about my day in Dublin here. 

On Tuesday last week I took a half day off from work - not a holiday, rather it was something in the public sector that may have those in the private sector grinding their teeth at the great lives we have - ergo, I had what's quaintly called time off in lieu (of payment), or TOIL. It's a rather oxymoronic acronym as it implies work, rather than the leisure it represents. I had done an evening talk to a Ladies Club recently on Women's Health and as health promotion is an integral part of the Public Health Nurse role, I always enjoy these evenings. I've done about three in the past year to different Ladies Clubs in West Waterford, and I've done them in the past for different Carers' Groups. They are one of the pleasures of my job, the informal sharing of knowledge and information that  people really value. Of course there is no payment from the community group for these talks, and I am delighted with getting a half day back within the month of the talk.

mmm, lekker cappuccino and carrot cake...
So I took a half day during half-term and took my teen queen daughter and three of her friends to Waterford City, an hour's drive from home. The main purpose of the trip was so that she could get her tongue pierced. (I know, I know, there's probably a collective gasp of blogospheric horror at  questionable parenting, but having weighed the option carefully following the tentative request a few months back, we decided to ensure it was done safely and hygienically in a reputable tattoo place rather than some back-street dive.) On foot of this, and after checking it out,  Swineline in Waterford got the gig. They use a numbing local anaesthetic spray and sterile equipment and it was all captured on phone video by one of the pals. I declined to watch, and left them to their own devices, being much relieved when I got the call saying it was done and went fine. The aftercare was well adhered to - ice cubes, Nurofen Extra, and lots of salt-water rinsing. Thankfully no complications, and it's healed by now, and doesn't cause a lisp or look awful like I'd thought it might. The local school is quite blasé about bodily embellishments and doesn't ban piercings, tattoos (tasteful) and oft-disastrous home hair-dyeing. Unlike the school in today's Irish Times - thankfully! Currently my daughter's hair is a sort of Bosco red, which is lovely when newly done but seems to fade fairly quickly. Thankfully it's home dyeing which is cheap as chips compared to salon work - and I love the way they get to experiment in a way that was totally alien to my youth!

Let's Knit! and check out their website.
Can't wait to get cracking here!
Back to my afternoon in the city - I dropped the three girls and one boy in City Square and as I am not at all a shopaholic I headed off to The Book Centre, a magnet for any self-respecting bookworm. I headed for the upstairs reading area, where there are open invitations to browse and read and relax, and then discovered there's a lovely coffee shop on the upper floor. This was too irresistible and I made for the cappuccino  and carrot cake. Before that I made a quick recce of the creative craft section and found some great books and a couple of magazines - and took them off to browse as directed. The relaxed atmosphere of The Book Centre positively encourages inertia and I was happy to oblige. I had my knitting bag with me - well, a small bag with a few things in it, like the Noro Sekku scarf I've been making for the past few weeks in between other things like frilly ruffle scarves. So I spent an entirely self-indulgent three hours on the sofa (oh, did I mention the sofas? None of your cheap plastic bum-blistering seats designed to move  you on in 15 minutes for the discerning browser!) knitting up at least a foot of scarf and browsing books I'd no notion of buying now,  but maybe at some future date, while enjoying cappuccino and carrot cake with whipped cream. I ended up with two magazines - a Burda Style full of lovely sewing patterns and other crafty stuff, which has only recently become available in English in Ireland; I used to buy them in Holland and have a  big library of them in Dutch along with other Dutch pattern magazines like Knip and Marion. Then I saw a lovely Let's Knit! which has a website full of great free patterns and is perfect for the knitting anoraks out there - you know who you are! The magazine came with balls of wool and a pattern sheet for  baby bootees and socks - delightful in pastel green and purple. I couldn't resist this lovely sock book which was the same price as some of the magazines, around a tenner, and will give  me endless pleasure experimenting with various heels on long winter evenings!

Burda Style - with its maze of patterns!
The piece-de-resistance of The Book Centre though has to  be the ceiling of the coffee shop - it's entirely papered in sheets of old newspaper, which must have been a labour of love and begs a stepladder to do a Michaelangelo and read the ceiling. I discovered later on why the shop is so quirky in layout, as it's a veritable Hogwarts of labyrinthine proportions with tiers of floors at all odd angles, and Escher-like optical-illusionary steps and stairs going in all directions. The building was an old cinema - which perfectly explains the stepped layers to the top and the sloping ceiling of the upper coffee-shop level. It's the most atmospheric bookshop I've ever been in and this was my first time absorbing it. I was at a whole other level of relaxation when the teens summoned me to meet them as Penneys was closing, and I was in a Zen-like state all the way home, unperturbed by the booming bass of their high-decibel music played on my car radio from their phones via my knock-off wannabe iTrip.


Stephanie V said...

Not sure how I missed this - I remember you mentioning the books and I thought I'd visited. Better late than never :)

I always regret that we didn't get down Waterford way just for the scenery but now I'm regretting that bookstore, too! Next time, yeah?

We have knitting groups who regularly meet at the coffee shop in our big bookstore. The leather couches are quite inviting. And, see? You bought stuff so it paid off for them to let you enjoy your rest.
I haven't bought a Burda mag in a long time. It seems cheaper to buy the few clothes that I want/need nowadays. I used to sew everything.

Catherine said...

Hi Stephanie! Hope you see this - I didn't get round to posting it up till now - somehow it ended up in the spam box on blogger! Yes, there's a lot of temptation to buy something when you're not under pressure and after relaxing and enjoying the browsing for a couple of hours I was happy to buy a few mags and the socks book. I still think of your Balbriggan heel - I have looked it up and will try it some day! Burda mags are for me to enjoy looking at - I used to sew everything and make clothes for the kids and me and now I don't have time or else I knit. As you say it's so cheap to buy stuff. Shame really . My boys grew up in bright African batik prints - made into shorts and shirts!
Thanks for visiting the blog!
Catherine xxx