Like many commuters I have a love/hate relationship with travelling. I love being able to write, read and gaze out of the windows but hate the hustle and bustle of the station. Last summer when travelling to Paddington I discovered the hidden gem which is Word on the Water, a unique floating bookshop and a real labour of love.
On the bookshelves outside the boat contained a real eclectic selection of classic modern novels and nonfiction. However this was just a taster for the warm welcome of stepping over the threshold of the boat into.a cosy sitting room with more books and even a cat for company. Invited to explore the floating bookshop further I walked under the low canal boat ceiling to a an Aladdin’s treasure trove of books, very clearly hand selected and curated by someone who loves and is very knowledgeable about books and literature.
Over the months the boat became one of my favourite haunts, a very welcome rest an oasis of calm and literature on the way home as well as the perfect place to hang out when my train was inevitably late, again. I picked up a range of books from children’s picture books to delicious history books and even a rare graphic novel in Dutch, a geek’s paradise.
I also met and chatted to many interesting people, drawn by a common interest a book and spent time putting the world to rights with Paddy, the book shop owner.
In May I left my job in London and so have no longer been commuting to Paddington. But was sad to hear that the shop’s application to have permanent mooring at Paddington had been refused, with plans for a coffee shop chain and visitors centre instead. I think this would beautiful travesty as it is more that likely that the shop would have to close and Paddington and London would lose a unique boat.
A petition has been set up here and here is my response to the plan.
“Word on the Water is an incredibly unique shop and cultural centre. It brings a real charm to Paddington station and a welcome break from the hustle of travelling. The boat is an wonderful asset and should be counted among other much loved features of Paddington station such as that very familiar bear and Brunel’s cathedral like arches.
I ask that the decision to reject Word on the Water’s application for permanent mooring is reconsidered as through losing this, we lose a very special boat which has a place in welcoming visitors and commuters alike to Paddington and London.”
Sign the petition here