Thursday, 23 July 2009

Guest Blogger Goes Bookaging

A while ago I went to the Hay Festival to see Dan Pearson's talk called Inspiration - the title of his forthcoming book in September - and to devour all the gardening books in this fantastic secondhand bookshop town. It even has one devoted to natural history and gardening titles and so - I thought - would easily supply me with enough reading matter for the rest of the year at least. How wrong I was. All I came home with was a history of the Chelsea Flower Show - a meagre haul from such a promised land.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to Norfolk. I was desperate for a view, any view after being surrounded by so much flatness and so pitched up one day in the slightly decaying seaside town of Cromer. A sharp shower sent me scurrying for cover and I was surprised to find myself in a secondhand bookshop sheltering from the rain. I was even more surprised to find the anticipated riches of Hay on Wye transported to this quiet little backwater. It wasn't a one-off phenomenon either. A quick search of the three other secondhand shops in the town all had rich seams of gardening books to plunder. However, the first one was the best by far, staffed by an enthusiastic lady who was delighted 'her' books would be going to a good home. Here's my haul:

  • Not one but two Vita Sackville-West first editions - In Your Garden and In Your Garden Again

  • Ground Cover Plants by Margery Fish. A pristine Garden Book Club edition

  • Gardening on Chalk & Limestone by E. Bertram Anderson. Another pristine Garden Book Club edition

  • PH19 The Flower Garden by E.R. Janes

All are in good nick complete with their dustcovers. How much did I pay? Just under 50 quid with a book on needlepoint cats thrown in for free. Apparently a couple of weeks earlier a woman interested in garden history had hoovered up a number of titles in that genre, so I dread to think what the damage to my purse would have been if she hadn't been there before me.


(thanks VP - bookaging is like foraging, but for books - GMx)


Helen/patientgardener said...

I'm not surprised you found loads of gardening books in Cromer. My sister lived there until a couple of years ago and I think it is abit of a retirement place. Definately agree with your description of the town, I could never understand why she choose to live there. I did read somewhere that it is popular with the pink pound but I'm not convinced

Val said...

Well found it at last! My husband was born and brought up in Cromer but I expect it has changed since then. I love old book shops! You certainly got lucky! Val