New Books

I’ve had to resort to buying books online so here are my recent acquisitions.

Books Again

Escape from Loch Leven by Mollie Hunter is obviously about Mary, Queen of Scots. Loch Leven Castle, which is close to where I live is one of the several places she managed to escape from. This one is aimed at those aged over 11 – I come into the category!

Evelyn Finds Herself by Josephine Elder is a girls’ school book, one of the best of the genre apparently. I certainly enjoyed reading it recently, it’s unusual that it’s set in a fairly ordinary day school, rather than a posh boarding school.

Val Forest in the Fifth by Evelyn Smith is another school story, I have hope that this one will be good, the author taught at Glasgow High School until 1923.

The remaining three are all by Elizabeth Goudge.

Smoky House
The Valley of Song
Henrietta’s House

I’ve never read any of her books for young people so it’ll be interesting to see what they’re like anyway

The last book I bought for all of £1 and it was bought in an actual shop when the lockdown was lifted briefly last summer. I bought Every Woman’s Doctor Book just for the charm of the cover. It has no publication date on it but going by the woman’s hat and hair I think it must have been around the 1920s. It says in this book that women in labour should be lying on their side, that is obviously where I went wrong!

I think that bookshops will be opening again on April 26th, so not long now.

My Garden and St Andrews, Fife

Spring has definitely sprung in Fife, not that you would kow it from this photo, I think a new camera is required, or maybe it would be better if I used my phone. Anyway there are various primulas, snowdrops, heathers in flower, but they look very ‘peely wally’ in the photo, that’s a Scottish phrase meaning pale.

my Garden

Since these photos were taken the garden has had a good ‘redd up’ that’s another Scottish phrase meaning tidied up. There was a whole winter’s worth of dead leaves and broken branches.

my Garden , crocuses

There are a lot of primroses around, I think I only had one plant to begin with, they’re great at self-seeding in this garden.

my Garden.primroses

The one thing that does really well in my garden is moss, it grows abundantly on the soil and the grass. Looking on the bright side – I won’t have to buy any sphagnum moss to line hanging baskets!

Garden , garden in Fife

The Belfast/butler’s sink in the background is a fairly new acquisition which is needing work done on its surroundings. I plan to entice birds into it, it should make a good big bird bath. In my previous garden I had a bigger one and I put some water plants in it, it was very popular with the blackbirds but I’ve only seen a couple of magpies in this one so far. Luckily they were together so it was two for joy!

my Garden

I’ve been hard at work in the garden digging up more turf and I’m waiting for a delivery of gravel to arrive. Jack is very happy to have less grass to cut.

What else have I been doing apart from gardening and reading a lot? Well, last Friday we drove to St Andrews, it was really quite exciting to travel more than five miles, just lovely to see some different scenery for a change. It started out so bright but it got duller as we reached the coast. Below is a photo I took of one of the beaches in St Andrews. It was very quiet by the time we walked back towards the town. The wee cottage on the left hand side of the photo is the lifeguard centre and the ruins of the cathedral are almost in the centre in the distance.

St Andrews beach, Fife

The town itself was very quiet too, the only shops open in Scotland are shops selling food so it was only the ice cream shops and a posh whisky shop which were open. I’m presuming that as the whisky shop also sells shortbread that was the reason it was allowed to open!

I could only stand and gaze at the secondhand bookshop, my nose wasn’t quite pressed against the window, but it wasn’t far off. I think it might be open again in about five weeks from now – one person in at a time – or two from the one household no doubt.

Bouquiniste Bookshop, St Andrews

Guardian links

Today I just have a couple of bookish links from this week’s Guardian.

There’s a review by Kathryn Hughes of Frostquake: The Frozen Winter of 1962 and How Britain Emerged a Different Country by Juliet Nicolson which sounds like an interesting read to me.

I enjoyed reading author Jane Smiley’s answers in The books that made me article which you can read here. In her answer to My earliest reading memory she mentions Laura Lee Hope’s The Bobsey Twins. I loved those books as a youngster and I’ve never seen anyone else mention them.

Did you read any of Laura Lee Hope’s books?

Bookshelf Travelling – September the 12th

It’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times again, taken over from Judith at Reader in the Wilderness. How quickly it comes around!

Books Again

The bookcase this week is situated in our guest bedroom, there are three bookcases in there so if you’re ever visiting you’ll have plenty to choose from.

The shelf in the photo begins with a few Helen Dunmore books. I really like her writing, it’s such a shame that she is no longer with us.

I went through a W. Somerset Maugham phase when I was in my late teens and the two red volumes contain nine of his novels. Liza of Lambeth, Cakes and Ale, Theatre, The Moon and Sixpence and The Narrow Corner are in volume one. I have no recollection of Theatre or The Narrow Corner and I suspect I haven’t read those ones. Have you read them by any chance?

A.A. Milne is of course best known for Winnie the Pooh but he also wrote for adults – not that adults can’t enjoy Winnie the Pooh. His book Two People is a searingly perceptive account of a marriage between two people who come to realise they have little common ground. You can read my thoughts on it here.

Then there are a few books by various Mitfords. There’s something annoyingly fascinating about those sisters. I think that the youngest Deborah was the best of them all – but I would say that wouldn’t I – being the youngest myself.

Are you bookshelf travelling this week? Other travellers are:
A Son of the Rock

Bitter Tea and Mystery

Staircase Wit

Aberdeen book purchases – part 2

Yet More Books

The second bookshop in Aberdeen that we visited is a charity one right in the Merkat Square and as the books are all donated they sell them very cheaply. I bought:

1. The Century’s Daughter by Pat Barker
2. The Rendezvous by Daphne du Maurier
3. The World My Wilderness by Rose Macaulay
4. Beautiful Just! by Lillian Beckwith
5. Green Hand by Lillian Beckwith
6. Bruach Blend by Lillian Beckwith
7. The Spuddy by Lillian Beckwith
8. The Road Home by Rose Tremain
9. A Pack of Lies by Geraldine McCaughrean
10. Young Bess by Margaret Irwin
11. The Cockle Ebb by Isabel Cameron
12. The Herries Chronicle by Hugh Walpole This is an omnibus consisting of four books which are set in the Lake District/Cumbria area, and first published in 1939 although mine is a 1955 reprint.
Rogue Herries
Judith Paris
The Fortress
Vanessa

Visiting St Andrews just after Christmas I bought a lovely edition of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. You can see some of the illustrations here. – also from St Andrews – Young Bess by Margaret Irwin, and the postman brought me –
In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse.

That lot should keep me going for a while. Have you read any of them?

Waterstone’s book purchases

I rarely buy new books which I’m slightly ashamed of, but so many of my favourite authors are out of print so secondhand bookshops are much better hunting grounds for me. But we had a trip over the border to Chester during our recent stay in north Wales and I found myself wandering into Waterstone’s.

A ‘dump bin’ at the end of an aisle drew my attention and I couldn’t resist raking through the books in it, it felt like a surprise Christmas to me!

I ended up buying five gorgeous books all for either £3 or £1 as the prices had been cut and cut again. I’m just glad that the people of Chester turned up their noses at them!

HOME by Orla Kiely – complete eye candy if you’re interested in home decor and design.
home

Tile Envy edited by Deborah Osburn – a book of the most gorgeous and unusual ceramic tile designs.

tile envy

Bandstands of Britain by Paul Rabbitts – I love bandstands, especially the Victorian and Edwardian ones and it’s so sad that many of them have been demolished when they should have been conserved as things of style and beauty.

bandstands

Ride a Cock Horse and Other Nursery Rhymes, illustrated by Mervyn Peake – one to add to my collection of children’s illustrated books.

https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1411605037l/23258613.jpg

The Paper Cell by Louise Hutcheson – this is from the Contraband Pocket Crime Collection, it’s a pig in a poke for me but I have high hopes of it.

The Paper Cell

It is just as well that I don’t live near Chester otherwise I imagine my book buying would really get out of control!

More book purchases

These are the other books that I bought a couple of weekends ago at the annual book sale.

More Books

1. The Monarch of the Glen by Compton Mackenzie
2. Patrick Butler for the Defence by John Dickson Carr
3. Nella Last’s Peace – The post-war diaries of Housewife, 49
4. Sing For Your Supper by Pamela Frankau
5. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer
6. The Silent Traveller in London by Chiang Yee
7. The Romanovs by Robert K. Massie
8. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Not a bad haul I think. I’ve already read Bring Up the Bodies of course, as has Jack but he spotted it at the book sale and asked me if I wanted it for our shelves, as we have Wolf Hall. I loved both those books and I can see myself re-reading them at some point in the future, so it was added to my pile.

I loved Chiang Yee’s Traveller in Edinburgh book so decided to buy the London one although it doesn’t have much in the way of illustrations, I’m putting that down to London being a lot less scenic than Edinburgh is!

I loved Robert K. Massie’s book Nicholas and Alexandra so I have high hopes for The Romanovs – The Final Chapter

I’ve enjoyed a couple of Pamela Frankau’s books, Compton Mackenzie’s and the others. I know I’ll love the Nella Last diaries, but I’ll have to get around to reading her wartime diaries soon.

Have you read any of these books?

The Country Home – an Edinburgh purchase

I was in my favourite Stockbridge, Edinburgh bookshop one day last week and for once I was feeling a wee bit disappointed because there were no ‘must buy’ books on the shelves.

Another Book Cover

Then Jack pointed out The Country Home to me. Well I couldn’t resist it – could you? I could just move into that house and garden right now.

It’s actually bound copies of The Country Home magazine: Nov-Apr 1909. It has some interesting articles and lots of photos of – homes and gardens. It cost me all of five quid – bargain.

South Bridge, Edinburgh, and Books

It’s been ages since I had a mooch around a bookshop because there wasn’t any point in doing it due to the fact that I’m not supposed to be buying books until I whittle away at my unread book piles. But today, despite the horrible rain we just felt the need to get out of the house for a while and as I have loads of books that I really want to track down I thought – Edinburgh, Perth or St Andrews?

There’s flooding around the Perth area so we thought it best to give that a miss and as the weather forecast said that the rain was going to clear up in the afternoon around the Edinburgh area – we plumped for capital punishment!

The forecast was wrong and it rained all day plus it was very windy so we were buffeted going over the Forth Road Bridge – not nice. We decided to go to the South Bridge area for a change instead of our usual Stockbridge haunts. It wasn’t very successful, we must have been in about 7 book shops and charity shops and my haul was:

Behold, Here’s Poison – Georgette Heyer.
Duplicate Death – Georgette Heyer.
The Empty House – Rosamunde Pilcher.
Can You Forgive Her? – Anthony Trollope.

and my husband bought :
Ordinary Thunderstorms – William Boyd.

I’d been looking for Can You Forgive Her? because I wanted to read The Palliser series, and I thought that I’d better buy the Heyers in case I don’t see them again for ages. I really like Heyer’s detective novels because they’re very witty too, quite an unusual combination I think, and I’m on a Rosamunde Pilcher kick at the moment, this one is very short at only 182 pages, very unusual for her.

I was looking for books by Angela Thirkell, D.E. Stevenson, Janet Sandison, E.M. Delafield, Jane Duncan – all very retro but I haven’t read them before and much to my amazement they are being read now, I have to see what I’ve been missing!

Now that I’ve tried the shops and been unsuccessful I can order some on-line with an unblemished conscience because I always like to give my custom to small bookshops when I can. Plus it’s nice to have a poke around lots of books but none of the Edinburgh shops are anything like as good or crazy as Voltaire and Rousseau in Glasgow. It looks like you couldn’t possibly find anything you want amongst the piles, but I always do. Must get back there again soon.

After parking the car we had to walk past this hairdresser’s to get to the bookshops today. This place intrigues me because it’s such a throw-back to the 50s. It looks like nothing has ever been changed since then and I’ve never seen it open. What sort of hairdresser is closed on a Saturday afternoon? I know that you always think of Edinburgh for history and Glasgow for style, but I think they’ve taken this a bit far here. Who would use a place like this?

For all I know it might be a fantastic resource for the ladies of Edinburgh of a certain type. Stout tweed skirts, Fair-Isle jumpers and Lisle stockings. Not forgetting the blue rinses.

Anyone for a shampoo and set?!

Bookcovers

When I was visiting my local library the other day I noticed that they had put up a new display of book-cover posters. In particular, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World caught my eye, very deco-ish.

Anyway I thought I would have a look around the internet to see how much the posters cost. And the answer is: Quite a lot unless they’re in the sale, which you will see if you take a look here.

Mind you, I don’t even know why I bothered looking because all of our walls are more than well covered already so we have no space for anything that might have taken my fancy.

Still it was quite a nice walk down memory lane. I’m sure that I had the nursery version of Alice in Wonderland that they have, but sadly I couldn’t find the Hansel and Gretel which I loved when I was wee and which I’ve been looking for ever since my mum gave it away.