The Aardvark Blog
End of year thoughts
End of year thoughts
At this time of year it is traditional to review the year that has gone, and to look forward to the year that is to come. I thought that I would take the opportunity in this end of year blog to talk about some of our highlights (and the odd low light) and to give a few pointers to what we are going to be up to in 2019.
There have been so many positives this year that it is difficult where to start. First off I think it would be fair to say that the number and quality of books coming into the building has never been higher. We have bought substantial libraries covering everything from kids Pop-Ups to Philosophy, from Arkana to World History; there have been mountains of Folio Society volumes in superb condition, and equal piles of children's picture books. And then there are the art books. New books, rare books, libraries of all sizes and types. Amongst the more usual books have been some uncommon volumes - many of which have sold over the Christmas period.
Looking at our over activities all but one of our exhibitions met with an appreciative audience. The year started with a superb double sculpture exhibition featuring the works of Paul Caton and Paul Bearman.We had record numbers through our H.Art exhibition in September, and I was also delighted by both visitor numbers and sales at our new Spring replacement for SHAW - ''Out of the Hills'. Out of the Hills is returning again for 2019, and as last year will be curated by Kim and Maggie Davis. I was also delighted by the response from summer visitors to 'Summer Sextet', our second exhibition curated by Rob Fountain, which contained sculptures, ceramics, art and much more. We have some fantastic exhibitions planned for next year, and they will all be posted onto our website next month.
Our various markets achieved record stall numbers and visitors in 2018, and we are anxious to continue that for next year. We are holding our stall fees at 2018 levels ( and indeed we haven't put them up for some years) in January, and if you want to book for any of our Brocantes or other markets that is the time to do so!
2019 will be special in another way as we will again be welcoming the English Civil War Society on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of August, to commemorate the 375th anniversary of the two sieges of Brampton Bryan. For any-one who hasn't attended a re-enactment at Brampton Bryan I cannot recommend them highly enough. The story is exceptional - a plucky woman on her own defending her home against a large force of Royalist attackers who outnumbered her forces by nearly 20 to 1.
The cannons and muskets and pike charges get the attention, but personally I like the wonderful scholarship behind the Living History Village, and the battlefield models and commentaries that go on at the same time. At a time when the world seems to be wracked by conflict, there has never been a better opportunity to see what we can learn from the travails and sadneses of the Civil War era.
One of the most enjoyable developments of 2018 has been our hosting of Anna Dreda's monthly 'Poetry Breakfasts' on the the fourth Wednesday of every month. The cost for the event is £8.00 which includes multiple drinks and breakfast, as well as the reading programme. Themes for forthcoming breakfasts will be listed on the website, and also look out for the poetry spectacular that Anna will be organising in Aardvark on the 7th of July ( really exciting).
Turning to the sad events of 2018 I would like to put on record our sorrow for the loss of a number of customers who have left us during the year. In some cases we are called in to sort through the books for the families, and I always welcome that as an opportunity to share memories with their loved ones.
But above all New Year is a time for renewal and for setting goals for the next twelve months. We have a number of improvements highlighted for next year (some of which will happen in January), so I hope that the shop will look even better when you next visit. We are also looking at a new website which is very exciting, and the first book visits of 2019 are already pencilled in the diary! Let there be no end to great books, superb cakes and coffee, and literary companionship.
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