Bikes, books and stamps. And a proper welcome.

I do like a brand new year. I don’t make resolutions, but I do tidy up my working habits and straighten things out a little. And I do make changes.

My big change this New Year is a new website for myself (still at the drawing board stage). It’s nothing unusual for me to spend time thinking about websites, but there’s something about writing the content for one’s own that really focuses the mind.

So I’ve been particularly alert to websites that make you feel welcome. Here are a few that I’ve come across over the last few weeks – none of which has anything to do with architecture.

Firstly, I’m thinking about investing in a new Dutch-style bike, and so I paid a visit to Flying Dutchman near Mornington Crescent. I’ve also been loitering on their website, and their ‘About us‘ page is just as lovely as their shop. It’s worth a visit. 

Secondly, we recently had reason to take an old ‘schoolboy’ stamp collection – my husband’s – to Stanley Gibbons on the Strand for a valuation. Their ‘Sell to us‘ page prepared us admirably, both by keeping expectations low and by reassuring us that we wouldn’t be wasting their time. I particularly like the line ‘That being said, we do love stamps’. As it turned out, the stamps were indeed mostly only worth their face value (so not very much) but we did have a set of eight Penny Reds which they suggested we could sell on eBay. We’ve just done that, and it’s paid for a nice meal out.

And, lastly, I’m still reluctantly dependent on Amazon for a lot of things, but I’ve weaned myself off it when it comes to books. That usually means making the most of real-life bookshops, but it also means getting more closely acquainted with The Hive. Have a look at their ‘What the Hive’s all about’ page. I like the way they talk about themselves.

I’m always interested in hearing about companies and organisations that do a good job of being friendly, welcoming and three-dimensional even on a screen, so, if there are any that immediately spring to mind, let me know. I’ll add them to my little list.