February Friends Matters


Welcome to the first letter of 2021. The pandemic may still be in evidence but life goes on despite the many restrictions. Brixham Library is closed to visitors entering the building but a ‘Choose and Collect’ service is available (see below) and if you haven’t discovered e-books and e-magazines then they are definitely worth trying. The vaccine has already been given to a number of known library users and we hope that in the days and weeks to come this too will escalate. Unfortunately, our Monday Health Walk can’t take place under the restrictions but as reading exercises the mind, a daily walk, run or cycle helps the body too. So, without further ado, let’s move on from pandemic news to our newsletter round-up, which this month has a plethora of articles.










Emma writes:                Happy New year to you all!

So, we begin the new year with another lockdown! I hope you are managing to keep yourselves busy. I have found it harder this time, partly due to the season we are in. So, the library staff are back (mostly) working from home and are focusing on the Libraries Unlimited recovery plan. We have started to introduce Choose and Collect again. We are offering this service when we can. This is because there can only be one member of staff in the building at any time. This is why we can’t offer pre-booked slots in the week. If you request a book, we are asking that you call/email the library in the morning and we will offer you slots where there is availability that morning.

This is the official wording from libraries Unlimited:

After receiving updated guidance and reviewing local information, we have introduced Choose and Collect as a lifeline service.

Lifeline library services are offered by appointment only and customers will need to get in touch with us via phone/email. 

Our lifeline library services are COVID secure and contactless. We encourage you to book at a time when you’re leaving the house for other essential reasons or taking exercise to avoid unnecessary trips out. 

Masks must be worn when approaching the building (unless exempt). Please only come to the library if you have a booked slot. 

The raffle was huge success and thank you to everyone who supported it. We raised a huge £421, and our Christmas stall also raised a huge £221. Thank you!  (This is a huge success for both FoBL and Brixham Library and our thanks to you all  for supporting both initiatives and to the Brixham Library staff for making it all happen under very difficult circumstances).

We are continuing to offer our online services e.g., Libby, BorrowBox and free access to Ancestry UK has been extended to 31st March. If you need help accessing any of these services, please get in touch by phone or email.

Hopeful soon we will have better news about opening again for browsing but until then, please stay safe and we can’t wait to see you all again.

Kind regards

Emma, Michelle, Sarah and Becca – Brixham Library

Jottings from the Sofa:

Lockdown has meant different things to different people whether it be the frustrations of not being able to see friends and relatives, go on holiday and a host of other things. Thus, we all have our own strategies to overcome the sense of being at home for such long periods of time. One of our committee has been inspired by the works of A.A. Milne and his Winnie the Pooh stories and shares this inspiration in our newsletter. She writes:

I might be an old softie but how about some of the brilliant quotes from Winnie the Pooh stories! I have chosen some if you care to use them.


It never hurts to keep looking for the sunshine’

‘A little consideration, a little thought for others makes all the difference.’




Winnie the Pooh

‘Rivers know this, there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.

‘What could be more important than a little something to eat.’




‘The things that make me different are the things that make me.’

Winnie the Pooh & Piglet 

‘How do you spell love?’ asked Piglet 

‘You don’t spell it, you feel it,’ said Pooh 


Above illustrations by EH Shephard.


Whilst on the theme of words, another committee member has enjoyed word games and thinking about her favourite words. She writes:

Mine is petrichor – that smell after it rains!  Love the word because of what it represents – a freshening shower after a humid summer’s day.  If I owned a racehorse that’s what I would call it!

So, if you have a favourite word or words or would like to share quotes from your favourite books do send them in and we’ll publish your entries in the next newsletter.

 Reading and the Media


For many of us of a certain age, reading was an interest that in my case came in two forms. I was one of the fortunate ones who loved listening to a story and a bedtime story was always something to look forward to. Then again, ‘Listen with Mother’ on the radio also had its pull, especially during the autumn and winter when snuggled up near the coal fire, as all the other rooms in the house were freezing cold for the days of central heating were yet to come. The flip side of this was actually learning to read and that was a personal trauma for me to begin with so the sudden appearance of the ‘Dick and Dora‘ reading series, the forerunner of ‘Janet and John’ and the ‘Ladybird’ learning series of books was the source of this personal anguish. However, my discovery of the local library in the High Street in Banstead soon made up for all this and those early visits were to shape my life for ever.

Many years later I was to rediscover my love of listening to reading either on spoken word cassettes available from the library or in more recent times on CD,  but also on the radio. ‘Book at Bedtime’ continues to entrance so many people and introduce new authors, titles and of course new worlds. Such programmes as ‘The Book Programme’, ‘Open Book’ and ‘A Good Read’ all inspire and who could ever forget the wonderful Sue McGregor and Jim Naughtie as our hosts.

As with everything else, the digital world that influences our living so much today, is also having its impact on reading. The recent announcement by the Duchess of Cornwall, in her launch of an on-line book club, will once again inspire us to read more widely. In her first reading list of books, she includes ‘Where the Crawdads sing’ (mentioned later in the newsletter) but I’ll leave you to follow the link to find out more.


Or try ‘The Reading Room’ on Instagram: “HRH The Duchess of Cornwall welcomes you to The Reading Room”.


For those people without the technology, you might like to ‘join’ The Duchess by knowing what her reading list includes:

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Restless by William Boyd, and Elif Shafak’s The Architect’s Apprentice.

If you have read and enjoyed any of the above books, then please let us have your thoughts on any or all of the above titles by sending in your review(s). For those of you joining ‘The Reading Room’ on-line we welcome your reviews too as new books are introduced by HRH. We look forward to publishing these in future editions of ‘Friends Matter’ as well as inspiring you to try out new titles.

Thus, reading whether a paperback, hardback or e-reader continues to be with us all in one form or another. With ever more reading resources available on-line, through listening to book programmes via catch-up or through on-line reading groups, lockdown has reminded so many of us how important reading is for us all, enhancing our lives, helping our mental health and bringing us together on new virtual platforms.

Recommended reads

If nothing else the national lockdown has inspired many of us  to try new authors and genres and to go back to old favourites. My favourite ghost story of all time is one that is so short but nonetheless just a fantastic read and a great railway story to:

‘When my fellow companion in the railway carriage suddenly asked me if I believed in ghost, I replied: ‘Well … er … no.’ ‘Neither do I!’ he chuckled – and vanished.’

Splendid isn’t it? In those few words are two instantly recognisable images – a railway carriage and a fellow traveller – and a dénouement that any passenger who has ever boarded a train can appreciate.

Extract from ‘Mysterious Railway Stories‘, edited by William Pattrick

My wife Sue writes:

Three of my favourite books borrowed from Brixham Library during 2020, all very different and great for escapism.

The story of Kya a young girl abandoned by her family and left to fend for herself.
Contains elements of romance, possible murder and nature.


My best read of 2020 too – Alasdair.




A fictional account of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet who died aged 11. It’s a story of life in 16th century England in the time of Black Death Plague.






Set in 1930s after the Great War, Violet has become a ‘surplus woman’ after losing her brother and fiancé.  Single Thread is a story of friendship and love and a woman crafting her own life.

Really enjoyed this book too as it is set around Winchester, a place I grew to love during my final working years – Alasdair.




Why not let me know some of your favourite reads during lockdown so we can share your good read thoughts with other newsletter readers.

And Finally….










Alasdair Anderson – Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library, 29 January 2021


Post Script:

Poetry – Brixham Theatre invites you to write a Love Poem…….

Valentines Day is coming – you can submit your poem or poems by e-mail or via the Town Hall, and you may win Champagne – or Chocs!

Click here for all the details: love Poem poster Final