Moffat and no books

We stopped off at Moffat on our way down to the Lake District, it’s a pretty area and it has a second-hand bookshop. The author D.E. Stevenson lived there and is buried in the town. We parked the car in the High Street and within three seconds of getting out of the car we got into conversation with a local. This is something which would never happen in Fife – it taking a lang spoon and all that. Anyway, after the usual weather observations – well we are British – which included the info that we had come from Kirkcaldy, the chap said that he had been to Kirkcaldy once and it had been shut! Queue laughter!

However, I felt like tracking him down to tell him that Moffat was shut – as indeed it was! Apparently Wednesday is half day closing, but a lot of the shops hadn’t bothered opening up at all, including the bookshop. What a disappointment.

Moffat Book shop door

But as you can see from the notices on the door, there’s quite a lot going on in the wee town. Well they have a murder evening and a quiz night anyway.

In fact we should have taken this as a bad omen because there were hardly any bookshops in the Lake District, it would seem that hill-walking and outdoor pursuits don’t go hand in hand with reading books.

There was a big bookshop in Whitehaven, which is quite off the tourist beaten track but although there were loads of books I only found one which I wanted to buy, and it wasn’t one I even knew about, but it was a D.E. Stevenson as it happens, called The Musgroves. I think that it isn’t one of her amusing ones though, it looks like a slushy romance, but it may just be that it has a terrible cover.

Apart from a book for one of my sons which I bought at Grasmere, that was it bookwise. Absolutely pitiful as I usually come home with an armful of treasures. When we got home I did manage to buy an old copy of J.B. Priestley’s Faraway, which I found in Kirkcaldy High Street of all places. The wee tobacconist at the east end has loads of books at the back of the shop, it was a complete revelation to us as we thought that he only had the few which he has in the window.

I don’t know why I’m complaining because I have hundreds of books at home, waiting to be read and I’ve just picked up Raven Black by Ann Cleeves and Losing Ground by Catherine Aird. I’ve also requested a couple of books by Joyce Dennys – Henrietta’s War and Henrietta Sees It Through. I haven’t read anything by any of those authors before, they’re all blogger recommendations.

Meanwhile my reading rate has slowed right down, I’ve been reading Georgette Heyer’s Duplicate Death for about a week now, that’s what happens when you go away.

13 thoughts on “Moffat and no books

  1. How frustrating, especially the extra early closing! I have far too many unread books at home, but I can’t help thinking of all the wonderful books that may be out there – all those unknown treasures.

  2. There are places that close early on Wednesdays? I can’t imagine it. I lived in Arkansas about ten years ago and the shops closed at 7 pm – it nearly drove me mad!
    I’m always disappointed when I leave a bookshop without buying anything because there is sense of it being like a treasure hunt and finding no treasure isn’t fun!

    • Anbolyn,
      It used to be common but not nowadays. Mind you the shops here close at 5.30 unless it’s a supermarket. It seems very late to shut ordinary shops at 7pm – it must be terrible working in them!
      I much prefer second-hand bookshops to normal ones because you just never know what you might find there – if they are open of course!

  3. I read that – they have a murder evening – and imagined the locals getting together and having the odd murder or two! Perhaps that’s why they have to close early!

    • Peggy Ann,
      14 books – now that’s what I call jammy!! Dying to know what they all are. We didn’t see her grave although I do now know where it is. On the way there we decided to just bash on to the Lake District quickly, then on the way back we were delayed by a horrible traffic jam caused by an accident. Next time we’ll just go to Moffat for a day trip and visit her then.

  4. My heart would have sunk down somewhere below my stomach, so crestfallen would I have been. You must tell Jack that he must drive you back there within the year. Promise him a special treat if he does. That’s what I do with my Ken.


  5. Have you ever read any of the children’s books by Eleanor Estes? She wrote a lovely family story entitled The Moffats. And did I ever gulp down her little series of books that started with The Saturdays! I have a great deal more than an inkling that you would love these stories, even as aged as we are now. They were first published in the late 1950s, I believe, but I read them in the 1960s and adored them. I don’t see why they wouldn’t have been popular in the UK, because the stories were timeless and universal.


    • Judith,
      I’ve never heard of the author but I’ll look out for her books now, good writing always wins, no matter what age the ‘child’ is. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Hi there!
    Thank you for the nice photo of my shop door. I’m sorry about the Wednesday closing – I agree it’s maddening. From May the shop will open every day (except Wednesday! – it’s my only day off to go book buying) The Murder in Moffat weekend was a big success and we are planning the next event now. Go to for news of future happenings.
    Interestingly, there will be a launch, in Moffat on 1st June 2013 of a previously unpublished title by D.E Stevenson – “Jean Erskine’s secret” published by Greyladies, and later in the year, Persephone Books are re-publishing “The two Mrs Abbots”
    Do come back to Moffat. As you said , there’s plenty going on (How about Sheep Races in August?) have a look at
    All the best from Moffat!
    Katherine Clemmens
    Moffat Books
    5 Well Street, Moffat DG10 9DP

    • Katherine Clemmens,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’ll definitely be visiting Moffat again, soon I hope, maybe the 1st of June. The sheep races sound a hoot, it’s a pity Moffat is so far from Dundee and St Andrews (where our sons live) otherwise I would definitely consider moving there! I don’t grudge you your Wednesday off, especially as you are book buying, we’ll avoid Wednesdays in future.

      best wishes,

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