Friday, 11 January 2008

A little bit of wonderful....

I virtually swam into town this morning... flippers, snorkel and goggles would have been far more appropriate than my tweedy coat, velvet scarf and leather boots..
I was a very soggy and sorry mess by the time I got home clutching a parcel from the parcel depot that was close to turning into papier mache. Deciding not to walk home after getting a good soaking and missing the bus home by seconds... too old to run for buses these days .. I decided to kill time in Waterstones until the next bus came..

I am always asked what I would like for Christmas and my quick and trusty reply is .." A book token please". This is invariably met with " Really ? " in tones of amazement ! Well .. Yes.. REALLY ! I ♥ books and chose my early profession to indulge in this passion of mine... I became a Bookbinder/Conservationist of Antiquarian books way back in the early 1980's.. It was this apprenticeship that brought me to Bath having applied for a job as a 'Bookbinding Assistant' advertised in the Daily Mail.
I worked in a wonderful 'old curiosity' type of shop... crammed full of dusty second hands books and with a working bindery within the shop.
I was very fortunate to work with such wonderful specimens... old crumbly leather bindings that clothed parchment pages.. vellum covered works, buckram and linen bindings.. I cut my binders teeth on them all... Not literally you understand!
Unfortunately the shop closed down many years ago and after three redundancies in my bookbinding employment I turned my attention to other crafts and have not bound a book since.

So.. sorry .. wandered off there a bit..

Back to Waterstones... I have had a book token burning a hole in my bag since Christmas so I ventured into the wonderful world of Waterstones wall to wall books and seized upon Nigel Slater's new book entitled 'Eating for England' .. .... The Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table. I shall so enjoy reading this new book of his.. having read his semi-autobiographical book..TOAST.. a bitter-sweet account of his childhood growing up in the 1960's where food was his consolation.. a poignant tale. This latest book of his is sure to be a treat ...anything to do with the British and their eccentricities is a good read.

Next to a jug full of Daffs, a hot cup of coffee and a choccy biccy... who could ask for more !

P.s After reading 'Good Intentions' you will see I am losing the fight with the biscuit tin devil... It was only one choccy biccy M'Lord.


Brenda said...

I've noticed a trend over the last few days of bloggers blogging about reading! Warm Woollen Mittens said she loves visiting blogs because she loves to read, and many bloggers put together wonderful stories of their lives for us to enjoy. I never really considered it like that, but I think it's true, bloggers like to read! I love nothing more than a visit to a good bookshop or library, and having a book token is even better!


OhSoVintage said...

That's really interesting reading about what you used to do and where you used to work. I used to work in a bookshop and never felt guilty reading when we weren't busy as I was just familiarising myself with the stock! I loved the smell as I opened the shop in the morning, all that new paper and now only like to read new books and I never visit the library. I've heard many people rave about 'Toast' so it will be interesting to hear what you think of his latest book. Reading is just about my favourite pastime.

ChelleBez said...

Aren't books great? I love the smell of all book shops, old and new. It takes all I have to keep from spending tons of money in bookstores. When I was in Bath I found some first edition Jane Austin books, but was unwilling to pay the price to own them.

There is always just something so soothing about being in a book store. I don't know what it is, but it always feels so peaceful and calm to me.

I also worked in a publishing house as an intern when I was in college. I was actually the proofreader. We only did text books though. I enjoyed the history books, and no so much the quantum physics ones.

Sounds like you had a fun day despite the weather.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michele,
How wonderful.. book binding has always intrigued me. You lucky girl to have worked somewhere that sounds so special. I have read Toast as one of my bookclub books and really enjoyed it. I didn't expect to, I'm not sure why, but I did, so I shall be awaiting your review of the sequel! Have a great weekend x

Anonymous said...

I don't run nowadays. I fear young children and defenceless animals would be injured. :o)
Whenever anyone asks me want I want for christmas I always say 'expensive perfume' but rarely does it materialise! This year I got a pen and a jar of Evelyn & Crabtree wrinkle cream! That'll teach me.


Hi Michele, great delving into your past, what an interesting job, many a rare and valuable book must have passed through your hands? You possess a rare talent there. I am pleased you found a good book with your voucher, I have read through some of the reviews, and it sounds really good, great for us all who love nostalgia, I hope we get to hear some facts from it? What beautiful daffodils adorn your lovely table, much needed colour on such a grotty day, a nice cup of coffee and one chocolate biscuit was what was needed after getting drenched. x

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Oh...look at those daffodils. I need to take a stroll in the garden and see if any little daffodils are poking their green heads up yet. Enjoy your book. :) That was a very interesting job you had.

Gill at Lucy Locket said...

What a interesting past life you lead, sounds fascinating. I love books too, I could buy them day in day out and have to restrain myself. I enjoyed "Toast" and it's a book I could re-read, it's bittersweet and nostalgic. I read "Eating for England" too before Christmas, it's not such a personal story but interesting nonetheless. Heavy rain forecast this weekend so perfect weather for staying and reading a good book!

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

A bookbinder! What a wonderful job! I just adore old book stores. There are many of them here on the Cape; one of them used to be an old meeting house and it smells soooo musty and has the best creeky floors!

Alchamillamolly said...

Oh what a wonderful time you must have had with those old books. I am sorry to find in our weekly paper that the lovely independent bookshop is closing in our town. It has struggled since a chain arrived (Ottakers first then changed to Waterstones) - I know its lovely but I loved the independent one. I have never been able to afford new books from there very often but I know al ot of people that did. I have spent more there in the last few months as things have become a little easier in the Maudsley household plus the books I bought werent actually in Waterstones anyway. Alan bought me the most sumptious book on Audrey Hepburn which was a massive £25!! so I have at least supported when I could even if it was at the end. I hate to see independent shops go - I hate chains they just gobble up little shops and couldn't give a damn (PS I still like Waterstones!! If you read my latest post you will see things turned turtle again yesterday on the move. I am in a bad mood today!

Ragged Roses said...

I have been seduced by the cover of that book, it is so inviting! I might have to pop into Borders today. How wonderful to have been a book binder, M and I often fantasise about having a second hand book shop. M would happily live in one and whenever we go out he spends hours just rummaging in the shops. I'm sure it is written somewhere (in fact I think it is the law) that you HAVE to have a choccie biscuit on rainy days! Enjoy your read

GeorgiaPeachez said...

I found that bit of history very interesting! That book sounds interesting too, I will look it up at the library next time. xo, suzy

mrsnesbitt said...

I worked in the library service for a few monthd prior to college, loved every minute of it!

Katherines Dream said...

I would love to read that book too. I have several of his books.
It was interesting to read of where you wonderful. We have somne great old book shops in Stow, I can spend hours in them..........just touching the old books feels very special.
Carol x

Curlew Country said...

We're a token family too, Woody got enough to buy a bike with on amazon for hsi 40th! I eard Nigel Slater ebin interviewed on radio 5 about this book, it was cracking, I was gripped especially about his passion for the ritual of eating a Kit Kat (you now, rubbing the foil etc, well at least I know now that I'm not the only one who does this!). I bought my first bunch of daffs of the year this week too. Crikey, don't they cheer you up! Have great weekend and give into the biscuit devil, then I won't be the only one on that front either!

Nonnie said...

I almost bought that book before Christmas. It's definitely going on my Amazon wish list. I loved Toast which I bought for the Brother-in-law at Christmas as he's such a foodie. I totally understand the need for a book token. I could happily spend any book token that came my way.

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Very interesting job! For some reason I had a flash of Hugh Grant working in an old book store in the movie Nottinghill! I will have to see about getting that book to read. I am intriqued in other's food cultures.

The sun was shining here yesterday...will see what today brings! I get my new washing machine sometime today, so off to get ready for the delivery man to show up at my door.

Have a happy day!