CEREDIGION MP Ben Lake called on a Llandysul bookshop with a difference recently and left with a copy of a new novel by a local writer under his arm.

Nyth y Robin is the name Sandra Richards-Davies and Jonathan Davies gave to the warren of a second-hand bookshop they took over in Llandysul last summer.

And launching The Seaborne by Llandysul-based writer, AGRivett, was their first open-to-the public event in November last year.

Sandra and Jonathan have worked tremendously hard to make Nyth y Robin a welcoming space and their efforts have been rewarded by the steady stream of visitors to the shop, some of whom have special needs and find Nyth y Robin a real ‘Nyth Bach’ – a safe place to come and connect.

Sandra, a former mental health nurse, is bubbling with ideas about different ways of making the shop a meeting place of real service to the local community.

In these days of pressures on high streets, she believes that the local community model is key to mental health in a world where loneliness is becoming an increasing problem and social inclusion is now flagged up as a political issue.

Ben offered to put her in touch with funding sources that could help support her ideas.

Sandra’s thinking is in tune with the story of The Seaborne, which has been described by poet and academic, Damian Walford Davies, as “a parable for our particularly torn times.”

The main character, John Finlay, runs away from the pressures of his city life and finds himself on ‘the Island’ where life is lived as it used to be for most of human history: more simply, more locally and more closely harmonised with natural cycles. The author believes that’s something we need to get back to in some way if we’re to stand any chance of reducing carbon emissions.

“But,” he added quickly, “as one reader has said, the book’s not at all preachy. It’s a story about stories. The world John falls into is held together by the stories the Islanders tell. John ends up re-enacting one of them. And, in doing so, he mirrors an older, and greater, story.”

Ben admitted that he doesn’t often have time for novel-reading, but occasionally does sit down with a good book. He was glad to hear that the chapter length in The Seaborne, published by Wordcatcher, Cardiff, means he will have a good chance of completing one at a sitting.

Look out for Nyth y Robin on Facebook or call in Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday 10am–3pm.