Back in 2008, the Shop Manager of Barter Books, David Champion, went scouting
around to find room for more badlyneeded office space. And he not only found it, he
found a whole room - a room no-one really knew existed. (There were no windows
and the access door wasn´t on the bookshop side of the central platform.) As one of
the shop owners, Mary Manley, would be among the first to benefit from this new office
space (until then Mary, herself, had had to work from home), he immediately sought her
out. This would be great news! On their way to the room, David warned Mary that the
room, unused for so long, was virtually derelict. And so it was. After turning the large
old-fashioned key in the lock, David slid open the heavy door to reveal a room in such
disarray it seemed untouched by time since the last train had left Alnwick Station almost
half a century before.
But the room also revealed two wonderful surprises: clinging to the
far wall was a magnificent green fern miraculously alive after all these years thanks to
water from a nearby leaking drain pipe and light from a totally unexpected source, a large
glass skylight. "Look", said David, one hand gesturing around the room, "office space!"
"No", said Mary, looking from the fern up towards the skylight, the sun streaming into the
lost room even then conjuring up something she had wanted far longer than a desk, a
chair, a lamp: "Forget the office! This is our Buffet!"