When Derby greets you with endless torrential downpours, what’s better than seeking shelter in the snuggest cafe the city has to offer?
(This post was originally written in March 2018, but better late than never, eh?)
Coffee at The Bookcafe, Derby
Probably the snuggest cafe Derby has to offer, The Bookcafe’s been around for quite a while.
Every time I go in there, I’m smitten with the atmosphere. It’s like nowhere else – Quiet and serene, despite playing fairly loud music and the fact that it’s busy every time I pop in for a caffeine fix.
It’s not bustling or rushed, it’s peaceful and calm; unlike a lot of modern cafes and coffee shops. And I think that appeals to so many people in an increasingly hectic world.
On cold winter evenings, it feels quite ‘Hygge-ish’ with fairy lights adorning the walls and tea lights on each table. In the summer, it’s wonderful to sit in there with the sun bursting through the massive windows, and watch the city go by.
I’d been in Derby to pick up a new lens for my camera (more on that in a minute!) and while we were in the area, we decided to stop off there on the way back to the car, to shelter from the incessant downpours.
The Bookcafe used to be a book shop with a cafe. Now they’re just the latter. There are still plenty of books scattered around on tables and bookshelves for customers to lose themselves in while they wait for their coffees to cool, though.
Because they only allow 15 minutes of free wi-fi (which some might consider as a bit tight) this cafe isn’t littered with worker bees tapping away on MacBook keyboards all day long. It’s refreshing, in a way. There’s nothing like encouraging your customers to pick up a good read by subtly forcing them off their technology. (Of course, that didn’t stop me snapping away with my camera and tapping away at my phone at regular intervals. Once a Millennial, and all that…)
It genuinely forces you to take some time away from technology a bit. To recharge your batteries and reset your frazzled mind by sitting still and busying yourself with a proper book instead of a MacBook.
The Photography-Based Interlude…
I never really talk about my photography kit on this blog, coming to the conclusion that’s a bit too niche or that no-one’d be interested. However, the more I descend into Photography-nerdery myself, the nosier I get about other people’s kit too. I secretly really enjoy discovering what kit people shoot their blog photos with, and I thought for a one-off, I’d delve a little deeper with mine!
So, the camera in question is the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, which is pretty new to me. I picked it up mere weeks ago, second-hand, after resisting the temptation of Fuji for months. Luckily for me, the London Camera Exchange had a good deal, and I snapped it right up. (‘Snapped’, ha! Get it?)
Fuji lenses are expensive, though. Like most lenses, to be fair. They cost a pretty penny, but they’re an essential addition to your kit, so you’ve got to fork out, haven’t you?
I’d been using my Canon lenses with a cheap adapter I picked up on Amazon. It did a great job, initially, but there were two big issues: 1.) No autofocus, because Canon and Fuji electrical systems are different and 2.) You have to shoot wide open at all times, because modern Canon lenses don’t have an aperture ring on them, like most Fujinon lenses do. (It’s not that much of a problem for me, because I normally shoot wide open anyway; which I’m sure you’d have guessed from looking at my blog photos. Although I cannot manually focus accurately to save my life.)
After weeks researching Fuji lenses, I was drawn to the 35mm f2. (It’s the cheapest prime on offer.) And, as if luck would have it, LCE had one in stock at my local branch, for a fantastic price! Except, it was snapped up before I even had chance to put my Chelsea Boots on and march down there for a play with it. (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but y’know?)
The next day, however, they suddenly acquired a 35mm f1.4. The lens I really wanted but didn’t think I could afford. Within moments of walking through the door, the lens was mine. (Both the camera and lens are second-hand, but it’s far cheaper than buying new!)
Who’d have thought I could drag out the story of going into a shop and buying a lens for so long?
While this hasn’t exactly been the most comprehensive ‘review’ of The Bookcafe, I did write about it in more detail over on The Weekend Edition.
Have you ever been there?
Photos in this post were taken on the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 & the Fujinon 35mm f1.4 lens – with the exception of the (wonky) flatlay, which was taken on my phone. All were (hastily) edited in VSCO X.