When did you last visit your library? They're not like they used to be, no 'Silence' signs or bosomy ladies glowering over their half-rimmed specs.
I love mine, as soon as the doors close behind me, a new adventure awaits. I can visit the moon, the top of Everest, swim with Humpbacked Whales, dive to the ocean's depths, learn a bit of Greek, I feel like Mr. Ben when he walks into the tailor's shop...........
My library's just had a make-over, a Gok, the full works. Mossy green carpet, soft mint walls, comfy chairs, modern flat-pack book shelves snaking around the room.
I've discovered I can download e-magazines for free with my library number, so far I've got Countryfile, National Geographic, Cycling Plus. I can also download audio books and e-books - for free! What a service.
It's quiet in my library at 5.45 pm, only the humming of the wall heaters, the swish of pages being turned and the satisfying clunk of the date stamp as someone takes out an armful of books.
For fun, I like to visit the Westerns section. It's the only part of non-fiction that's not arranged alphabetically. The titles are fab - Desperado Doublecross, Last Stage to Gomorrah, Battle at Rattlesnake Pass, Last Chance at Devil's Canyon.
My Dad used to love Westerns as a lad, he'd come out of the Saturday morning cinema shooting imaginary arrows at his mates, who blew the smoke off the end of their imaginary pistols. Liverpudlian Desperados.
'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir
I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.
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