home after a week away

books I bought in the UK


Imagine this: I'm still wearing my pyjama's, a grey mismatch, covered in stains from having cut fresh turmeric yesterday for a courgette soup, and what I think is a coffee stain on my left leg; I say 'still' as it's 1:30 pm and I am gradually starting to feel in a true holiday mood, letting self relax into what are to be, one hopes, two weeks of TIME to do whatever I like. I am finally sitting in the studio with yet another mug of strong tea and a desk full of books, receipts, feathers, cards, the usual bits and bobs reminding me of where we have been.
'Cos we have been away on a holiday.
We spent the first of my 3 week holiday mostly in Cornwall, and when I say we, I mean the husband and I. We motored through Belgium and in France to Calais, through the Channel Tunnel to Folkestone. Then a long drive through West Sussex (I think) Dorset and Devon, all of which we adore and love, we really like being in England together. The landscape, the scale of it, the language, the people, the cream teas, the gardens the bookshops and so on and so forth.....

I buy so many books for many reasons, the book shops close to home don't have nearly enough English titles in English in store, one has to order and wait a week and drive back and forth into town, the parking malarky etc, the library is much the same, so I often resort to amazon, which is okay I guess, but not for the independant bookshops; hence the 2 stacks of books bought at several small, independent book shops and Monk's House museum in the UK
The Cook Book in St. Just
The Book Ferret in Arundel
Kim's Bookshop in Arundel
oh yes, I also bought one on our last day's shhopping at a tesco's supermarket in Ashford, because of the title 'the trouble with goats and sheep' reminding me of Grace

I notice several things about the books I have bought:
some were intentional buys, I had read reviews and written authors' names and booktitles so I knew what to look for in the shops.
Most of the others have either animals in the title or are about the Bloomsbury group, add a couple of Agatha Christies and I am a very happy customer.
Over the years I have managed to assemble quite a nice collection of books about this group, image 2b, the stack on the right includes all my  Bloomsbury-related books.  This year we managed to visit yet another one of their homes: Monk's House Rodmell, Lewes as it happend to be on our way to Cornwall.
Don't even think for a moment that we are organised or anything like that; we kind of knew we wanted to go to Cornwall, but had nothing booked except the ticket through the tunnel on Thursday 10 August at a very early hour....I tried booking a place to stay the weekend just before we were meant to leave, no luck there as Cornwall is a very popular holiday destination and this being the high season, I couldn't find a vacancy in our price range.  I was getting a bit nervous. 'Not to worry' the man said (which could also be his middle name as far as I'm concerned) Monday evening saw us drifting through all airb&b has to offer and we managed to book several b&b's for most nights and payments went well, so he was proven right (as per usual, I suppose I should listen to him more often)
There was a slight hiccup the following morning as our reservation for 3 nights was cancelled by the owner due to family business, so yet again, after a long day in the office for both of us, we spent another evening searching for an airb&b somewhere we thought we might want to stay, we moved about quite abit I can tell you. Finally we did manage to find an even better place down in St. Just's at the tip of Cornwall*, a very romantic little holiday retreat for 2 as it turned out. Boy, was I ready to be off!

* Poldark country as it is now known, after a recent BBC series, which we will of course have to watch as we have now hiked all over the Poldark landscape!
back home: at last a bit of sunshine at the end of the day

the infamous soup, suddenly looking at the table through Dana's eyes: it is set!

baking almond flour cake (no longer tolerate gluten) lime zest, black sesame and poppy seeds, soon to come out of the oven

at last something for the dye pot: very thin cotton strip wrapped 'round avocado and onion peels, rolled and bound into copper pot, hoping this will also improve markings and colourations

Back home I get to read the news, it comes in waves and circular movements as I browse the week's old newspapers; we did not listen to the radio, watch tv or buy a paper, wifi reception was lousy so saw nothing on the laptop, the occasional glance on our phones in towns and museums to check on family apps if all was well back home.

I am horrified by what has been happening in the US, such sad news

to be continued


Debbie said…
You will enjoy 'The trouble with Goats and Sheep' I think, though it is nothing to do with either from my memory of reading it.
We live in the the west of England above Devon and quite a different kind of countryside though we were probably staying in Devon when you where here.
Unknown said…
Looks and sounds like an amazing time ... just reading the names of all the places you visited sounds so romantic.
Mo Crow said…
love seeing what you are reading!
Nancy said…
You'll have to let us know how you liked the books! It sounds like a wonderful get away, all of it...the countryside and charming places to stay and no news of the world!
Dana said…
I so envy your ability to casually motor over to England and putter around small bookshops. That sounds like a perfect vacation to me. Also, I love your table setting although I am wondering what makes your soup infamous.
Saskia said…
hi Debbie, oh well, never judge a book by it's cover....I was wondering where you lived and if we could have managed a visit, maybe next time we are in the UK??

It was romantic Tina, we make good travelling companions

anything in particular caught your fancy, Mo?

I read all the books I bought last year Nancy, I don't remember reviewing them though....I can tell tou I've just finished James Salters' "Light Years", an excellent read, such beautiful language, I would recommend it

As I do your being able to enjoy your spectacular landscape Dana; ah the soup is only infamous for causing the stains, tastewise it was creamy and delicious, if I say so myself

Mo Crow said…
I loved Orlando both the book & and the movie and Mrs Dalloway is on my must read soon list!
Sue McQ said…
Aren't book shops wonderful! Although I have grown tired of mundane shopping, I never grow tired of book stores or time at the local library. Love, love books.
Your soup looks delicious. Courgettes, I believe are in the squash family?
Table setting so delightful and inviting. I'll be right over. Haha.
Mo Crow said…
just finished "Mrs Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf, after 10 pages I put the book down with Rhett Butler’s line from the old film "Gone with the Wind" - "Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn" resounding in my head then took it back up the next day and finished last night, a brilliant stream of consciousness story crafted beautifully, every word placed with such exquisite precision...
"The compensation of growing old … was simply this; that the passions remain as strong as ever, but one has gained - at last! - the power which adds the supreme flavour to existence - the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it round, slowly, in the light.” (p. 69) Mrs Dalloway 1925 (Vintage Classics Random House)



Popular Posts