Been for a stroll alongside the canal recently? Then you’ll have seen – or heard, as blues or jazz often emanates from its tome-strewn innards – one of the capital’s best second-hand bookshops.
Word On The Water is the nomadic baby of literary-minded Jon Privett, whose boat moors up in different watery locations in London every couple of weeks. Generally, he can be found somewhere on the Regent’s Canal; right now he’s offering diversion for Central St Martin’s students and the hordes who pour in and out of Granary Square.
Step inside, and a roaring (and diminutive) woodburner adds to the atmosphere. Shelves of well-thumbed books in all categories fill the narrow space, and there’s a surprisingly good children’s section, too.
For north London landlubbers, Jon also has a twice-weekly stall in Archway Market. Eight years ago he was selling books from a shopping cart on Old Street when founder Stephanie Smith invited him to be her first trader – and he’s still there on Thursdays and Saturdays, in addition to the more daily business of the boat.
So support Jon and the capital’s only floating bookshop, if you can, this weekend: late last year canal authorities turned down Jon’s application for a permanent mooring in Paddington Basin, and so its future, like so many other things nowadays with cultural rather than economic capital, looks uncertain.
Follow Jon on twitter @wordonthewater