The Colne vs the Amazon

Foreword / 13th March, 2014

wivenhoe Some well placed World Book Day vouchers pointed family Forté to sunny Wivenhoe last weekend, a magical bohemian haven of writers, poets, artists and thinkers (and a few drinkers, although there was no sign of Francis Bacon today) on the banks of the River Colne just south of the border. Although within easy driving distance we rarely go foreign in this direction, maybe only for the May Fair but we really must try harder. Wivenhoe is a charming town, all wooden boarded tops and bays, nautical victoriana and the smell of pipe tobacco.

Once an important inland port, Wivenhoe housed one of the largest dry docks on the east coast, smuggling and shipbuilding in equal measure. Today it is home to one of the best little independent bookshops in the region – The Wivenhoe Bookshop is a brilliantly stocked tardis, rammed with well chosen gems. The selection bar is set really high and the owners obviously have a good eye for philosophy, poetry, nature writing and classics. There’s a great choice of childrens books and they’ve even squeezed in a massive sofa to browse away on. I really love bookshops that care about curation and if you follow the likes of the Caught by the River blog you’ll be sure to walk away smiling. It has a very active literary community too with regular events, book launches and Jungian workshops, so do check it out.

newellWivenhoe is also apparently home to wordsmith Martin Newell, psych pop poet and (alongside XTC’s Andy Partridge) creator of The Greatest Living Englishman, surely one of our most underrated post Barrett masterpieces.

We arrived rather late in the day so we missed out on what looked like a cracking wine shop and a whole raft of quayside pubs, surely a fine reason for a revisit.

Note to self… stop buying so many books on Amazon and start buying them on the River Colne instead.

Posted by: Forte