Adventures in London
Every 4 weeks a couple of "lucky" bookbinders get to drive our wee van down to London and back on a two day road trip. Last week it was the turn of Gail and I.
We left at 7am on Monday morning and with just a few stops for coffee on the way we had a thankfully uneventful journey to the capital. We blethered all the way and arrived at our first stop, The British Library, at about 3:30pm. After making our delivery there we headed to pick up a little box of books in need of repair from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths'.
We also needed to deliver an order to the London Library and collect another even bigger one to take home. The London Library give us lots of interesting rebinding work as they are such an eclectic organisation and a beautiful library - I encourage everyone to visit. They run tours!
All this before we even get to check into our hotel!
But, not a minute is wasted as we head out to enjoy the small amount of free time we have to explore the city. Gail and I love a walk to Covent Garden and a look around the quirky stalls and shops. Although we had to cut our wanderings short as we had a dinner date with our bosses!
Robin and Lesley-Anne are currently looking after a huge library cleaning job for the Royal College of Surgeons and kindly offered to take us out for our evening meal. We had a lovely time, a couple of cocktails and tried to keep the work chat to a minimum.
The following morning, Gail and I were up early to get back to the British Library. As we are not allowed to remove any of the materials from the library we need to go and measure up all the items to then create a bespoke box for each back in our workshop. The process can be fairly time consuming but they require such an accurate fit that it is the only way we can do their order effectively.
The British Library is another amazing place. It is like an iceberg as it has more levels under the city as it does above, with the vast majority of their items being stored in temperature and humidity controlled, airless environments below street level. The main areas of the library are littered with people working from notepads and laptops with the reading rooms being completely and eerily silent.
With only one more small collection to do on our way out of London we drove our laden van back, through the rain, to Glasgow. Our highlight of the drive home was meeting these two cheeky chaps at Tebay service station!
It is a long trip to do every month but we need to take care of our customers in London in the same way as we do our lovely Scottish clients!