The True Cost Of Rioting?


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The media coverage of the rioting in London and elsewhere over the past few days has concentrated on the spectacular, pictures of blazing multinationals and police facing down brick-throwing hooded yobs. But in the 9th of August edition of the BBC’s One Show, Anita Rani visited Hackney and interviewed a shopkeeper whose store had been ransacked. Sitting with tears in his eyes in his van outside his devastated premises, he told Anita that the looters had taken everything, even the shelves off the wall. After eleven years of working eighty to ninety hours weeks, everything was gone in a few hours. “I don’t know what I’ll do next” he said. It was a powerful piece, it could have been me.

His experience will have been repeated numerous times in the wrecked high streets of London and elsewhere. The chains and multinationals may be be able to absorb the costs of the disruption, many small shopkeepers will not. Insurance companies may not pay out on certain policies if the the disturbances are not classed as riots. Government ministers have been curiously reluctant to describe them as such. If shopkeepers are sole traders or partnerships, and not limited companies, their homes will be at risk if bills cannot be paid.

The clean-up campaign promulgated on Twitter and Facebook was admirable, the subsequent turnout by members of the public fantastic. However, if they then go home and do their shopping on Amazon and Tesco, have people really done anything other than boost their own self-esteem? Now as never before the man in the van and other small shopkeepers in the affected high streets needed your support.


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The Football Season Starts Here

Retford United F.C.

Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow sees the start of a new football season for Retford United under their new manager, Brett Marshall, and the horrors of last season, when the team came bottom of the Evostik Premier League with only 5 wins out of 42 matches, will be forgotten.

In the close season the club voluntarily dropped 2 divisions and have found a home in the  Baris Northern Counties East League. Brett has brought in new coaches and players who can compete at this level, retaining the services of only three of last seasons squad. Importantly, sponsors, sadly lacking in the last couple of seasons have come forward to help out. Even at this level the expense of running a football club is alarming. The ground has also become home for the Sheffield Wednesday Ladies team for this season, again bringing much needed revenue to the club.

The pre-season warm-up has been impressive, the team winning five games out of seven, including matches against higher ranking clubs and scoring an impressive twenty-one goals.

If you’re local, and are fed up of the prima donnas of the Premier League, why not give the Badgers a try? It’s got to be worth a fiver (or less) for some good attacking football. The first home match is at Cannon Park, Leverton Road, Retford tomorrow (6th August), kick-off 3.00pm, against Barton Town Old Boys. I’ll see you there.

Season ticket holders receive a 10% discount on any item at Bookworm (excluding National Book Tokens).

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Busy Bees

HiveWe’ve joined the Hive Network. Now you can buy your next book, eBook or DVD from us online for delivery at home or at the shop.

The Hive is a concept devised by Gardeners’ Books, a distributor to independent bookshops, who have recognised the appeal of the independent high street store and given them a new, collective online platform.

While we can, of course, recognise the appeal of shopping online from the comfort of your home, there is no match for the warm welcome, expert knowledge and best deals that comes from visiting your local, independent bookshop. The Hive delivers the best of both worlds, supporting and sustaining your local high street from the comfort of your living room. Simply visit our store online at, order and have your items delivered to the shop or straight to your home.

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A Name to Watch


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Around seven or eight years ago we had a quiet lad come to us for a week-long work experience in the shop. He was hard working and conscientious and was looking to go on to a career in catering.

Those of you that watched the BBC Young Chef of the Year in 2009 will have seen Douglas McMaster win the event, unaware that he spent his schooldays in Retford.

Now Douglas is touring the Southern Hemisphere and making a name for himself on the “Wasted” project, cooking food that would normally be wasted at pop-up restaurants in Australia. Now I’m not an adventurous eater, I pick out the kidney in steak and kidney pie and won’t be seen in the same room as tripe, so some of Douglas’s menu would have me running for the hills. Anyone fancy cow’s nose and nettle soup followed by the intercostal muscle with potato skin and a serve of popeseye (the cow’s sphincter muscle) to finish?

However they are loving it in Australia, as you can read in the Melbourne Broadsheet and the London Evening Standard and I can only applaud Douglas on his mission to stamp out waste (we throw about 3.6 million tonnes of food away each year in the UK alone).

Watch out for Douglas, he could be to food waste what Jamie Oliver was to turkey twizzlers. And when he gets round to writing a book about the subject I hope he’ll come and do a signing for us – even though I might be a bit selective about what I cook from it!

You can find out more about the Wasted Project at and if you fancy a bit of nose to tail cookery yourself why not try Nose to Tail Eating by Douglas’s old boss at the St John Restaurant, Fergus Henderson?

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A Trip to the Peaks

Nelson's MonumentToday the family and I, with dog (Tag) in tow, visited the Baslow area to try out one of the walks in the Peak District, published by Jarrold.

Starting off from the car park adjacent to the Robin Hood Inn on the A619 we followed Birchen Edge to Nelson’s Monument and the Three Ships, dropped down to cross the A621 and then followed an ancient trail across Eaglestone Flat to Wellington’s Monument where we had a picnic lunch.

From there we walked to the old quarries at the end of Baslow Edge before dropping down to an old packhorse bridge to re-cross the A621. Following the path along Gardom’s Edge we eventually dropped back down to the Robin Hood for a well-earned drink.

The four-mile walk afforded some wonderful views towards Chatsworth thanks to near-perfect walking weather.

The book we used was the Peak District, part of the Jarrold Short Walks Series. (ISBN 9780711749948). The book gave very clear instructions and we didn’t get lost once!

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Changing Platforms

Well a change from Blogger to WordPress. Reading up on blogging it seemed to be the only way to go. We will see in the coming weeks but ….. so far, so good – my previous Blogger posts were imported with ease. Next stop? Installing it on our host server but that looks like like scary stuff so it’ll save for later.

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Image via Wikipedia

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Where’s the Justice?

George RR Martin at the ComiconImage via WikipediaIf I was to release a book that has been embargoed to one of my customers a few days early publishers tell me that I would have sanctions taken against me, not least non-supply of future releases prior to publication.

An employee at Amazon, working in Germany, has released 180 copies of the new fantasy novel by George RR Martin, A Dance with Dragons. The official release date is the 12 July, the thousand page novel has been six years in the writing and is subject to a strict embargo by its publisher. We haven’t seen our copies yet.

Martin has threatened to mount the head of the guilty employee on a spike. Will Amazon’s supply be cut off by his publishers? Of course not. Is bookselling a level playing field? You’ve got to be joking!

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10 reasons to Shop Local


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Around Retford town 21 Jan '11 Beautiful day #...Image by Roger Bunting via FlickrThis Saturday sees the beginning of Independent Booksellers Week when we indies promote the reasons why you should buy your book with us rather than in chains, supermarkets or online. The independent bookshop experience is only one of the reasons why you should shop in your local town.

1. Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences, stock different, traditional and often local products.

2. Local shops sell a wide range of great products at affordable prices.

3. Shopping local creates and retains jobs – evidence shows that for every £10 spent in an independent shop £25 is generated for the local economy compared to £14 spent in multinationals.

4. Shopping local can save you money – not only are many products priced competitively, travel costs, parking and time are all reduced.

5. Shopping locally helps to retain strong and vibrant communities.

6. Local independent shops invest more in their communities and support many local activities and organisations.

7. Shopping local saves the environment – no need for long car journeys to out of town stores.

8. The loss of local retailers often leads to the loss of other local services. As shops disappear so do hairdressers, vets, dentists, etc..

9. Local shops are for everyone – most people can get to their local shops easily and this is especially important for elderly, vulnerable and young people and those without transport.

10. Local traders survive by their reputation so will often go out of their way to give great customer service.

Next time you write your shopping list try to think “Could I buy this in my high street?” Every little helps.

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The Man Behind War Horse

Autograph session with Michael Morpurgo at Sal...Image via WikipediaCongratulations to the producers of War Horse which won five awards at the Tony Awards on Sunday – New York theatreland’s equivalent of the Oscars.

The play uses life-sized horse puppets to show how the animals were used in the First World War and is based on a book written by Michael Morpurgo. Amazingly the book was first published in 1982. I say amazingly, because we still sell at least a couple of copies a week nearly 30 years later in leafy Retford.

Morpurgo’s latest book, Shadow, about an Afghan boy who befriends a dog whilst fleeing the war, won the Red House Children’s Book Award (voted for by children) on Saturday. He has previously won the award for Kensuke’s Kingdom and Private Peaceful, two more books which outsell anything in our children’s section, now that J. K. Rowling’s books are backlist.

His books are not easy, comfortable reads but are gritty, realistic and thought-provoking and children (and adults) love them.

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