Book shop cafes are among my favourite things and Anna’s Shop around the Corner at Cronulla, now comes near the top of the list. It’s an eclectic mix of second-hand books, quirky furnishings and simple, home cooked food. I loved the leadlight shades, the deep French armchairs, and pew resplendent with a quaint array of cushions and warm rugs for those frosty mornings and chilly winter evenings (Yes, they open for dinner too).
There were books from every genre to browse with your cup of coffee or purchase to read later. The doorstop consisted of a number of old, hard backed novels, tied with a deep purple ribbon and bags of coffee grains lined up at the door, “Free for your garden”. It’s homey and comfortable with bags of character.
While the sleek, white trendy cafes are great, they can be found almost everywhere. This place is unpretentious, evocative and nostalgic – it has personality.
I wonder who has held those books before me, whose life is a little different because someone penned that page? I wonder about the home where the old chair once filled a treasured corner – who curled up in it to read a child a bedtime story or who rested their weary bones there at end of day?
Some weeks later my parents came for dinner and I’d filled the wooden vase with a huge bunch of tawny coloured chrysanthemums and the china vase with an armful of roses from my garden. My mother remarked on the flower arrangements then suddenly realised that the vases were the ones she’d discarded. “Oh I wish I hadn’t given them away now”, she said.
She hadn’t seen the magic in them ... hadn't imagined what they could become.
I love that Anna has taken what has been discarded and preloved and drawn them together with a new life and a fresh purpose. We can be so quick to discard the old, to fail to see its value but there's something about age and history that turns the simplest things into beauty, even you and me.
Anyone for coffee, cake and a touch of nostalgia?