Where exactly to start when trying to describe Rileys & Co?
This is lot more complicated a question than it may first appear to be. If you have had the pleasure of visiting then you will obviously understand what I mean. If you have not visited Rileys then strap in tight as it is going to take every inch of my meagre descriptive powers to even attempt to do it justice.
If I am going to make a start anywhere it is going to be the entrance, which is like a time tunnel. You walk down the causeway with bunting overhead and not entirely sure whether Victory in Europe has just been declared or you are supposed to be celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second.
Rileys & Co has many elements spread amongst many rooms.
The first into which you shall wander with awe is filled to the brim with items. The items are disparate but there is a distinct feeling that a mad scientist of some description is at work in there. You continue on to the café area where treats of coffee and cakes and wholesome food may be purchased. Take a glance to your right and see the performance venue, where two walls are adorned with a lounging swimsuit clad lady. Carry on with your feet (or preferred form of perambulation) into a lilac themed back room with clothes and objet d’art to enjoy …. And a room past this that literally feels as if you have side stepped through the space time vortex and into a Victorian living room.
You cannot help wondering if all those clocks in the first room were the work of a mad scientist and interfering with the local Timey Wimey (whoops …. Nerd reference …. I have given myself away).
Rileys delivers the goods as a shop, venue, place to coffee with an all day breakfast and oozing with ambience. This somewhat eclectic, yet cohesive, nature is exactly why I have used it for two photoshoots. One for the glorious Miss Hannah McCreesh and one for the Antiques Quarter promotional shoot.
Behind, middle and front of Rileys are the delightful Kay and Matt Riley. Every soul who ventures up the bunting time machine tunnel will be greeted with a cheery hello and made to feel immensely welcome. The lovely Kay is always immaculately decked in 1950’s garb and always cheerful and chatty. Matt Riley (normally manning the café area) is both friendly and possessed of a charming razor sharp wit.
It is a place to come for antiques, retro, vintage and coffee and breakfast (or pleasing cake treats). It is also of a number of other people whose wares are there for a delightfully pleasing purchase.
I did say it was a difficult task to describe and capture the place fully …. So I had a long sit down, a shower, some food, an overnight sleep and a morning coffee sit down to have time to think ….. And what I finally came up with it this …..
Rileys is like having a coffee in a museum gift shop run by a mad professor, except the gift shop is the museum and it is run by friends you have popped round to visit.
The last time I was there a team of Chinese buyers were raiding the place for goodies, they seemed to be purchasing everything. They rampaged through taking item after item to the sales counter. One of them pointed to the clock in the café and Matt had to explain it was the café clock and he needed it to tell the time ….Though in Rileys I suspect that knowing the exact date is far more important.
It is easy to believe that if you leave Rileys without paying due care and attention you will become lost within the space time continuum and emerge who knows where!! You may even step out and come face to face with Mr Winston Churchill himself.
What’s that….? Churchill a bit too obvious an historical character…okay then … Lenin!
Didn’t expect that one did you?!