A Designer's Shopping Heaven


Hay, Bath

Hay, Bath

Having visited Hay in Bath before, I made a beeline for it immediately after arriving in the city centre. There is something incredibly addictive about the precision displays of stacked, aligned multiples; piled pencil boxes, stacks of squared notebooks, trays of tactile wooden rulers, rows of uncategorised ceramic decorations, cushions ordered in colours. It embodies all the things my chaotic self will never be.



I high-five the articulated wooden hands, run my fingers round the curved corners of tables, open a ‘laptop brush’ & feather the sable across the back of my hand – everything is tactile, regardless of its intended purpose. Not only do I feel compelled to pick everything up, I also have the creeping feeling of wanting to buy everything. Gradually, in this serene, ordered and quietly persuasive shop, the relatively expensive price of a wooden set-square doesn’t seem unreasonable. Neither does the comparably eye-watering tag on a handmade rug.



I make it all the way to the door, having put an elegant wooden set square (which I would probably just have admired, and never used) back on the shelf. Lying in wait is a deep forest green sketch book with rounded corners and glittering gold edges to its pages. I do not need another sketchbook. I turn on my heel and take it to the till. Even the polite, refined, and unassumingly beautiful woman serving embodies the Hay atmosphere. I shuffle my entirely regular self out onto the street, grinning, with my purchase clamped under my arm. It turns out I don’t even feel guilty…


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