WARNING – lengthy catch up Blog


Good afternoon from a rather guilty feeling DRAKE – The Bookshop, where it was discovered the last blog was in March!

You’d thing we had nothing to talk about (like that’s ever happened), but as you will see….. far from it!

So, take a big, deep breath cos here we go.

Green Duck and Richard went to their 1st Book Launch at the start of June. Teesside author and Uni of Teesside lecturer Gabrielle Kent released the second of her Alfie Bloom series (signed copies available of both book in the shop). Then afterwards there was a staff trip (including the U3A work experience girl) out for tea!

In celebration of the unveiling of our James Patterson Storytime Corner we were lucky enough to convince Bethan Woollvin ot read to us live via Skype. The kids loved Little Red and were all comfy at the same time!

We have had 1 or 2 other live via Skype events (Will Mabbutt, “This is not a Bedtime Story”) and we are always on the look out for other author to join us.

Kids artwork and a piece by a fantastic illustrator!

Independent Bookshop Week was AMAAAAAAAZING thanks mainly to these 3 fantastic ladies. 3 days, 6 schools and hundreds of happy kids as Ros, Gabrielle and Sally wowed everyone with their artistic talent and storytelling skills. Thanks again ladies it was a blast! Signed copies are still available in the shop by the way.

Never one to miss an opportunity to don the Wally costume, The British National Road Race Championships gave me the perfect opportunity! Famous cyclists (Dame Sarah Storey, Hayley Simmonds), a trophy and members of the Council who should have been at work?

A fantastic Saturday in July saw one of my favourite authors venture to town. How appropriate that local author Peter Robinson should come to Stockton to do a signing given the geography of his latest  Banks novel When the Music’s Over. Thanks Peter and thanks everyone who came along to make it such a successful afternoon.

Anyway, that’s us pretty much up to date. I’m sure I have forgotten lots that has happened and lots that is due to happen, but keep watching and reading.



It may have started back when my mum used to read things like 101 Dalmatians to me at bedtime and me hiding under the covers at the mention of ‘her’ name; or maybe reading an extract from To Kill a Mockingbird for my English oral exam; or perhaps when I decided I’d had enough of the education system around 2010.

It was certainly made a more conscious idea on a trip to Penrith when we stumbled upon the Wordsworth Bookshop & Coffee House and got talking to the owner about his time as a Headteacher before opening a bookshop.

It was made almost concrete the day my son said “You’re really serious about this aren’t you, Dad?” as the topic raised its head for the umpteenth time at the end of last year.

The decision to take the plunge was made at New Year with my intention to hand my notice in before Easter.

It became a scary reality in July when I left school (I think I heard cheering) with good memories and amongst others a lovely present from a friend SEE PICTURES BELOW (who spent most of the last term laughing at the fact I had nowhere to open!) and who it now seems I can blame for a headache or two!

And now, we can see the finish line – it’s about to become a reality, we are just over a week away from DRAKE – The Bookshop opening and we can welcome customers in.

But why a bookshop? Cos I love books.

Yes, but why a bookshop? Cos I don’t fancy the idea of buying a Harley!

Yes, but why a bookshop? Because I want more and more people to have more and more books and I want to share in the experience of them choosing them and buying them and sharing their joy with others.

It is such an exciting feeling – every time I am able to talk about it I do, at length (no surprise there) and I get more animated and enthused and can’t wait to get started.

Sure, it’s scary as hell – one of ‘those’ meetings at school last year had naughty boy notes being passed along and the main one was “yeah, but at least I’m gonna get paid!” and they have a point (perhaps) but I’m confident they are going to come in and spend a fortune and set me on my way!


And, so the end of my 1st blog and the start of a new era. No more tie; no more registers to do; no more marking; no more “I can’t it’s a school night!” A bit more scarily, no more safe and cosy Reggie Perrin-like existence. September 21st is D-Day, that is to say delivery day and the day we set up shop ready to welcome friends new and old to our new venture and revel in the joy of selling books!