Our first proper stop (it's more or less half way) was at the Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells. I've been going to this bookshop whenever I can, more or less since it opened a decade or so ago. It's changed and grown quite a lot in that time, it has a deli (an excellent one) and a home ware section now, the cafe has grown, and it no longer sells antiques (we kind of miss the antiques). The two things that have remained a constant are how very good the cake is, and how very good the book shop is.
The thing about really good independent bookshops is that even when they're quite small there's always something interesting for everyone, and my find this time was the current issue of Elementum . I've wanted to see one of these for a while now. I like journals (Slightly Foxed, Hortus, and Archipelago are all ones I'd recommend) but they're not particularly cheap and with money being tight at the moment I like to see what I'm buying.
The Jackie Morris article about painting otters and making an otter alphabet is worth the £18 cover price alone, and that's only the beginning. I'm so pleased with this that I'm now committed to ordering the back issues asap. I completely missed Alex Preston and Neil Gower's 'As Kingfishers Catch Fire when it came out last year, so that's gone on my wish list too - and that's all I've had time to read so far.
Visually this is the richest, most colourful, and downright inspiring journal I've had the pleasure of finding. Everything about it speaks of quality, it's going to be a joy to read - so just in case anyone else was dithering over subscribing - go for it!