Edinburgh Botanics and books

On Thursday we had a family dinner date in Edinburgh so as it was a lovely bright day we decided to go early and have a walk through the Botanic Gardens. As you can see the crocuses were enjoying the sun.


Then it was on to the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll realise that Stockbridge is usually a dangerous destination for me, due to the secondhand bookshops in the vicinity. Mind you it was only about three weeks since we had been there so I did think (half hope) it might be a case of slim pickings book wise, but I was wrong!

Books Again

China Court by Rumer Godden
The Princess Sophia by E.F. Benson
The Three Hostages by John Buchan
The Hand of Ethelberta by Thomas Hardy
Harding’s Luck by E. Nesbit
The Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge

I know I read China Court way back in the 1970s but I’ll read it again and I seem to be collecting the Goddens that I read when I was a teenager but then I borrowed them from the library.

I have a horrible feeling that I gave my Nesbit books away before we moved house, when I was trying to de-clutter. But they might still be in a box in the garage, I live in hope, I definitely haven’t read Harding’s Luck anyway. The House of Arden comes before it so I think I’ll have to read that one first, I might just put that one on my Kindle.

I don’t think I’ve read anything by Goudge before but I know she is well loved by some people.

The Princess Sophia was written in 1900, long before Benson wrote his Mapp and Lucia books that I love.

I seem to be collecting John Buchan books although it’s a good long time since I actually read any.

I read a lot of Thomas Hardy books as a teenager and I loved them although they are often quite grim, especially the endings. The Hand of Ethelberta is apparently a comedy in chapters – could be interesting, but then again, might not be. Anyway it’s one of those wee books with thin paper and gold topped pages, like most of my other Hardy books, so it’ll fit in well – after I’ve had a bit of a shuffle around of that bookcase!

Have you read any of these books?

14 thoughts on “Edinburgh Botanics and books

  1. No, I’ve not read any of them. I do have a couple Goudge books on the shelf but haven’t gotten to them. I too, bought them as they seem to be popular on the blogs and sound good.

  2. I have read China Court. I think my favorite of her books is An Episode of Sparrows. Now that I am typing this I have a vague memory of a children’s book about two little Japanese dolls. I am going to have to look that up and see if my memory is correct. I haven’t read much Elizabeth Goudge but I did read Green Dolphin Street years and years ago.

    • Jennifer,
      I enjoyed reading The Fairy Doll by Godden fairly recently, but I don’t recall one about Japanese dolls. I haven’t read An Episode of Sparrows yet, that’s one to look out for.

  3. My grown daughters and I enjoy E. Nesbit’s books – last year I acquired “The Enchanted Castle” while on holiday and read it through in one session – what a quaint and intriguing fantasy.
    I hope your E. Nesbits turn up. Nothing worse than deciding to read something only to realise one has relinquished it – did this myself with a book recently and had to pay a ridiculous sum to buy another copy!
    The wee books with thin pages and gold edging are usually absolute treasures – I seem to have acquired a little collection like this of Ruskin’s works, and enjoyed even reading one aloud to myself to appreciate his writing and breadth of ideas all the more.

    • Valerie,
      I have taken to putting books in a bag and leaving them in the garage for six months or so to see if I change my mind and decide to hold on to them. I’ve given my old books to children in the past – thinking that I’ll pass on the joy of reading to them, but I don’t think it was appreciated.
      I’ve seen quite a lot of wee Ruskin books but never thought to buy any, maybe I should.

  4. I’m ‘immune’ to used book stores – antique stores, too. Can’t stand to buy something that was already owned by a stranger. Maybe too many hand-me-downs in my childhood. Or maybe it’s a spiritual thing…people’s mana passing into their well loved objects*. Anyway – weird me. Thank God for Kindle!!

    *the mana thing makes more sense – I love my family heirlooms for that very same reason. I feel like their spirit is with me.

    • Pearl,
      I hate modern paperbacks that are all dog-eared and nasty but I don’t mind reading an old hardback, whilst thinking that somebody probably died of TB as they read it in the past! I’m like that with lots of old things though, I like to think of who owned it and it doesn’t worry me if it was a stranger rather than family.

  5. I’ve read books by all those authors – but not the ones you bought! I’d like to go to the Botanical Gardens – I passed by it every day when I was having radiotherapy at the Western General, but didn’t feel like going in at that time. Maybe one day – my family enjoy their visits there.

    I loved Hardy’s books as a teenager too. I re-read Tess and Jude a few years ago and still loved them, also The Woodlanders, but I haven’t read The Hand of Ethelberta. I’ve also read and loved some of Elizabeth Goudge’s books a long time ago. I’ve got The Herb of Grace, but haven’t read it as it’s the second in her Damerosehay trilogy and I’ve not read the first and I haven’t found a copy yet.

    • Margaret,
      I didn’t realise it was the second in a trilogy so I’ll be looking for the first one too. I think I learned a lot about trees and country living from The Woodlanders.
      You should definitely visit the Edinburgh Botanics when the weather is warmer and everything is at its best. It’s quite big but of course has places to sit and eat when you get tired and hungry and usually has free art exhibitions on in an old house in the grounds.

  6. Katrina,
    If only you knew, your book haul would have been perfect for my bookshelves. I must say that I have never been more envious. Let me tell you:
    China Court. I didn’t even know she wrote it!
    Elizabeth Goudge–I only read her books that were published in the U.S., and I may be wrong (I usually am), but I don’t think this was one of them. I adored her books all through my teenage years. I think I once told you my favorite: The Child from the Sea.
    The Thomas Hardy novel fascinates me. I think I could find that one, if I don’t dig up the rest from someplace first.
    I love your bookshop visits.
    And, I know I’m gushing, but the photo of the Botanic Garden is just what I need in late March here when ice is still in the creeks.
    Have fun reading and do report!

    • Judith,
      You still have ice in the creeks! Mind you we quite often have snow at Easter but I think we’ll be fine this year, even although it’s early. You could always get the Hardy book from P Gutenberg but as it only cost me £1.50 I decided to buy it and put it with the rest of my wee collection. I hope you have some luck at nearby bookshops!

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