Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Now for the books . . .

Of course, it is virtually impossible to visit Hay-on-Wye's bookshops and come away empty-handed, although on a couple of occasions 18 months ago that is exactly what happened. I was speifically looking for old horse books, and they had none which fitted my bill - what was on offer I already had!

Yesterday I didn't include antiquarian horse books in my remit as they don't come cheap. However, I had flagged up Phil Rickman (saw nary a one, but probably not looking in the right areas), C Henry Warren (only one and I already had it), H V Morton (success!), and anything that took my fancy in the way of between the wars books about the countryside, old buildings etc.

My dear friend MM, from across the pond, has recently been talking to me about Edwin Way Teale, the American naturalist. Imagine my delight when I actually found a hardback copy (1945, so probably a first edition - not that such things matter to me) of his book The Lost Woods for just £2. I am looking forward to settling down with it this evening, when my day's work is done.

I was delighted to find another H V Morton to add to my collection too: The Call of England (1933, 10th edition), £4. He wrote so eloquently, and found such interesting facts to include in his books. I shall put an extract as a blog posting shortly.

I also added to another of my collections, the Batsford books of the 1930s which wrote about the countryside, towns, villages, areas (as in Cotswolds), and buildings of Britain. This one is The Old Inns of England (2nd edition, 1935). The illustrations are superb - both photographs and line drawings - and for just £3 it was a bargain in my eyes. What price knowledge?

Finally, I found my hand hovering over D Parry-Jones' Welsh Country Upbringing. Born in 1891, he will be long-dead now, but wrote several books, others being Welsh Country Characters (which I may buy another time, as it was fascinating reading too), Welsh Legends and Fairy Lore, Welsh Legends and Folk Tales, Welsh Childrens' Games and Pastimes, My Own Folk and A Welsh Country Parson. There are photographs of Carmarthen from the early 20th century - cockle women selling their wares on the old Carmarthen Market, a clogmakers' camp at Llandovery, the hermit of Llangeler (John James of Waunfawr) , and the 'Car Llusg' or wheel-less cart still in use in Llanffynydd (our nearest village). This book also deserves a post to itself.

For a little money spent (£14 I think) - SUCH lasting pleasure.


  1. Oh the joys of rummaging through second-hand bookshops. My cheap old books are usually acquired at the doctor's surgery where they sell donated items for 50p each. I don't go that often, so stock up on anything that takes my fancy when I do.

  2. If only we could pass the joys of books on to a younger generation--those who seem caught up in computer games and such! I am about to be crowded out of this little room by tipples of books--and more books. I finished Nella Last's War on Saturday and felt that I would have enjoyed being her neighbor. Nella Last's Peace is here, but I am burrowed into An Echo in the Bone.... along with having to work at home on deadline for quilt samples. The illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford was still at the Book Basket when I went in for your Edwin Way Teale--I resisted it once again as I have a paperback copy somewhere, but it seems to be calling to me, as such things do.
    I must say, you do keep tantalizing us with views of that wide-lapped red chair and its cozy cushions. It would hold me, an assortment of cats, a spare book or two!

  3. MM - It DOES look so cosy doesn't it? We will be trading in our leather chesterfield sofa when we move, and hopefully getting something like this from auction the other end . . . BTW, you have just described my BIG sofa where I sit of an evening . . . An assortment of books, cats, knitting, cushions and across the back a motley crew of crocheted blankets (one I made) mostly found for a pound or so each at car boot sale . . . Sounds like the illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford has your name on - far superior with the beautiful Helen Allingham illustrations . . .

    WSC - When I was in Manorbier this summer, even the church led me astray, as there was a selection of donated books there and of course, it would have been churlish to come away empty-handed . . .

  4. aha another chair for me!! red ,red! glorious red!
    whats with the books on the outside cases???!
    GTM x