It has been a long, long, week and although I’m glad it’s over I wouldn’t have minded a slightly longer weekend – after a final marathon slog through today I get to look forward to being back for 8am on Monday morning, still that gives me a whole day to ignore housework in favour of reading. I’d better make the most of it.
The highlight of the week was Thursday off, which was also the blondes birthday so we set out for a day of our favourite sport; book hunting. We had heard there was a decent book shop out Northampton way, but when we got there it was to discover that it closed a couple of years ago (damn you internet and your faulty information). In fact Northampton turned out to be a bit of a wash out all round so we headed to Market Harborough. It’s one of those terribly middle class market towns which encourage book groups and consequently has well appointed charity shops. It also has the twin glories that are Christine’s Book Cabin, and Gilberts (it also has an all female fishmongers which I still find vaguely confounding – it feels like there should be a story in it somehow)
Christine’s book cabin is down a side street round a corner and through a car park until you find yourself in a shed full of books. There’s county stuff, nautical stuff, really seriously collectable, and correspondingly expensive, children’s stuff and then bits and bobs of the kind of thing Persephone reprint. It’s an experience.
Gilbert’s is not even slightly book related but It’s been there for 40 years and I’ve known it since I used to be taken to visit my Gran as a child and I think it’s heaven in shop form so I’m telling you about it anyway. It’s a hardware store/kitchen shop; they have everything you can imagine, and plenty of stuff that I for one would never have thought to imagine. The outside (as you can see) is festooned in wicker baskets, and inside is a tiny temple of Cornish wear, burleigh pottery, Le Creuset, and anything else handy. It’s also ridiculously cheap compared to department stores; in short the sort of shop it seems scarcely credible still exists.
Book wise I managed to find Angela Carter’s ‘Shadow Dance’, Sylvia Townsend Warner’s ‘After the Death of Don Juan’, and Robertson Davies ‘Murther & Walking Spirits' – all despite promising (and honouring my promise) to let the birthday celebrant into the shops first and at the shelves first. I had a great day, and I hope she did too, I also had some exciting post when I got home, but more of that later!