At last I’m able to attend a meeting of my old National Trust book club! I started it with Judith Congdon (now FitzGerald) while at Polesden Lacey and soon we had on board, Sarah, Marion, Jane, Louise, Lara and Vanessa.
While I’ve been in the US, the group has continued twice a year even though everyone have now left the NT. This autumn’s meeting was at Sarah’s in Birmingham.
Sarah and Marion thought it would be fun not to tell anyone I was coming. However, Sarah warned both me and Judith that we would be on the same train and it was so funny to meet again after 10 years.
Sarah ferried us all into Birmingham city centre to see the new Library. The architects are a Dutch firm called Mecanoo and it turns out they also designed NXP’s 52 degree‘s building here in Nijmegen. It is very stunning both outside and inside and it seems to be very popular with the locals. Lots of open spaces and outdoor rooftop gardens. Then we walked to the bustling Brindley Place and Gas Street Basin that surrounds the historic canal to find a wine bar.
Back at the house, we discussed the books, Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and ‘May We Be Forgiven’ by A.M Holmes. I seemed to be the only one that enjoyed Woolf (which surprised me).
Sunday we took a trip to Sarah’s work place Martineau Gardens, which is a community garden and charity in Edgbaston. Then on to the city centre for some last minute culture before going on our separate ways. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has a big collection of Pre-Raphaelite works and has some of my favourites.
Next book club is at Marion’s in Devon in April.