Monday, 1 December 2014

Indie Advent: Dom Conlon on ebb and flo, Chorley

After kicking off #IndieAdvent with my post yesterday on the Big Green Bookshop, delighted to welcome the first of 23 fabulous guest contributors to the blog today! A huge thanks to Dom Conlon for this great post.

Wrapped in a shop and hid on a street

This is a story where all stories meet.

As tall as a tale and as full as a life

This is a world where adventures are rife.

Pull out a book, get ready to go

This is a place we call ebb & flo.

My local bookshop has a hold over me. I go into lots of bookshops and each of them are a joy, run by dedicated people and filled with wonder, but only ebb & flo really inspires me.

It’s not just the books, chosen to intrigue, delight and surprise. Nor is it the welcome I get whenever I walk in, or the welcome I see other people receive as they jangle through the door gasping for the book air after a busy few hours shopping around the local area. I don’t even think it’s Diane, ebb & flo’s magical shopkeeper as she stands always ready to find something that fits the reader.

I think the hold ebb & flo has over me comes from its roots. These extend deep beneath the shop and spread out across the entire area. I live four miles away and yet those roots reach into my home and my community and hold me tightly. I feel them each time I think about stories, and each time I listen to the stories of everyday life.

How a bookshop can do this, can create such a root system, amazes me. But it does. Readers, artists, parents, wanderers and wonderers all become entangled and find themselves pulled towards the heart. I see it all the time. I see mums and toddlers appearing from corners of the shop having made pictures or hats or heard stories. I see readers eager to talk about a book they’ve read, to talk and then leave the shop energised by a shared story. I see rows of eyes staring at rows of paintings and photographs hung about the upstairs space and I see the old and lonely coming in off the street to hear a friendly word - and where better to friendly words than a bookshop?

My local bookshop has a hold over me. I’m not letting go.

This Christmas, I’d recommend you pick up a copy of Phoenix by S F Said - a thrilling space adventure for 8-12 year olds. Also on my beady eye list is The Spindle and the Sleeper by Neil Gaiman, The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (this one is for grown-ups), and The Queen of Dreams by Peter F Hamilton.

Find out more about ebb and flo on their website and on Twitter. For more from Dom, head to Inkology, or catch him on Twitter.


  1. Beautiful. The bookshop and the description *moves ebb & flo up my must-visit list*

  2. This is my nearest indie bookshop too! I don't get there very often but it's a brilliant store! I will be sure to take a visit in the run up to Christmas! Thanks Dom!