Had a brilliant, impromptu night out last night. Headed to Stirling (of silver fame) to buy a hoover, then swung back via Paul's daughter. Had pizza, went out for a quiet drink with her and her husband at the Settle Inn. Ended in town, via two other bars, at around 1am.
Much fun had by all. A great night made even more surreal by the appearance of Bookstore Greg dressed as a Pokémon.
Before we bought the hoover, we did a bookstore recce. My library wouldn't even fill one shelf of Paul's. Below is a corner of the living room. Every other corner is similar, and there's an entire room, floor-to-ceiling, of occult works out back. Grof, Devereux, Michell - if you can name it, you'll probably find it. Everything from the Celts and ancient etymology, through to transpersonal psychology and psychedelics.
Most of these come from scouring charity and second-hand shops. Paul introduced me to Stirling Books. It was love at first sight. If you're ever in Scotland, go. They also sell a lot on the web, and they're guaranteed to find most titles if you drop them a line.
I ended up on my hands and knees, scouring the poetry section. Left with the following:
Canterbury Poets Collection dating from 1884/5, including: Blake, Byron, Campbell, Chatterton, Coleridge, Hogg, Keats, Marlow, Meredith, Poe, Shelley, Spencer and Wordsworth.
I just couldn't resist. I bought for resale, but it's very difficult to let go of something like that once you have it. Well, it is for me. There are two copies of Byron, so perhaps I'll keep one. I'll certainly read them all first. Maybe by then I'll have changed my mind.
Unfortunately, by that point, I'd rather caught the bug. Picked up another couple:
Rhymes of a Rolling Stone, Robert W. Service. No publishing date, but dedication date of 1931. Looking forward to reading this one.
Bottom Left: collection of Longfellow, again no publication or dedication date. Signed A or Q. W. Besh. Lovely inner cover art. Guessing late 1800s.
Top right: leather bound collection of Milton. Again, no dates but thinking early 20th century.
Bottom right: (moment of madness) Words of Peace, Oxenden. Dedication I can't make out, May 1888.
Wonderful chapter on God's Purpose in Afflicting You [with illness]:
You are convinced, I hope, that God chastens purposely and lovingly. Affliction comes from Him, and He afflicts, not as a stern Judge, but as a Father and a Friend.
This one is definitely for resale.
Finally, blue on top, the smallest but perhaps best return on investment: Scenes from the Andria of Terence, F. W. Cornish M. A. (back in the day when those two letters meant anything - said the disillusioned academic). Made out to M. C. Robb VIA (?), publication date 1924 reprint. Love plays, will have a read through before saying goodbye.
I absolutely adore Stirling Books. It's a proper bookshop. One of those places where you have to roll up your sleeves and go hunting for what you want, and where you will stumble across a hundred other titles you never knew you wanted until you saw them.
Plenty of dusty old tomes with frayed hardcovers, from the days when books were books. Not so much of this pulp fiction paperback trash. It evokes a sense of place and purpose. Leafing through the mildewed mystery of times past.
That's where we met Greg. He served us. Then ended up in the Settle Inn on a mate's birthday bash - theme of Pokémon. With ping pong balls.
Nice end to a lovely day.
Although, talking of pulp fiction paperback trash, I did indulge in a charity shop a few villages down. 12 paperbacks for £2! Went a bit wild. Now have my reading list sorted for the next couple of months.
Pleasantly colour co-ordinated.
Paul has now been banned from taking me anywhere near book shops ever again.