Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Pleasure Inherent In An Old Book













Surely reading is one of life's greatest pleasures? 

I am steadily working my way through a pile of books. They have been gathering dust and they are Quite Cross as a result. To the extent that I've heard dim mutterings about people who buy books and never read them whenever I walk past the shelf they've all been sitting on these past two or three years. Badgerlands, The Sparrowhawk's Lament, Meadowlands, H Is For Hawk, Inglorious, The Cuckoo, The Green Road Into The Trees, Where Do Camels Come From, as well as Robert Ryan's excellent Dr Watson series. I've distributed them around the house now so there is one to hand whenever I feel like reading and the grumbling has settled to the extent I now fancy I can hear a purr of pleasure in its place.

While reading is a delicious thing to do, offering escape, learning, excitement and many other things, and while all these books are excellent reads, the pleasure derived from looking for, and finding, and brining home, old books is something else. 

It started with M giving me the Dean of Rochester's book of roses for valentines. It was a rediscovery of an old pleasure, because when I was a teenager I spent hours and hours in a wonderful old bookshop in the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells revelling in the ancient tomes that covered acre upon acre of the shelves in the old building. I wonder if it's still there.

As a result, I have old, old copies of works by Disraeli, Shelley, Shakespeare, Wilkie Collins, Chaucer, Keats, Wordsworth and others. I like to look at them, take them down from the shelf and open them and consider the other hands who have likewise held them down through the years and what the readers felt when they settled down to read them.

Yesterday, I added to them. A new old book, the first one in twenty years. It's an 1889 edition of Richard Jefferies The Open Air, a treatise on nature. I have dipped in and it is wonderful. The chap who sold it to me had lovingly wrapped it in bubble wrap and brown paper and thus it arrived, neat and tidy and protected, like a sacred trust passed on. I shall treasure it and take the responsibility seriously.

I am going a tad Jane Austen this week- as well as appreciating old books and spending time in the day reading (with Amy's gorgeous hand-crocheted scarf around my shoulders for extra warmth and comfort), I've been painting. Efforts offered for your perusal above. I'm not a very tidy or painstaking painter: I prefer to sweep colours about. I also like pen and ink drawings and have been doing a few of Dorset's ancient manor houses taken from a book written by a friend of the family. I've also been knitting (a blanket for cold knees when on the sofa)  I fear am in danger of soon finding a piano with which to break into song by candlelight after supper and (more worryingly) swooning when my husband comes home from work.

The keen eyed among you will have noticed the Swarovski's. Uber expensive and tiny weeny bins they may be (they fit in the palm of your hand and are as light as a feather), but my goodness they are sharp. I've adopted a slightly devil-may-care attitude this week and the new bins are the result :o)

Have you done anything devil-may-care recently?

CT :o)

49 comments:

  1. Hey CT,
    I envy you the bins. CJ has assured me that they are the best. Lovely painting. I draw, but am far too self conscious about it to show publicly. It's good to hear you are taking time out. Jane Austen would heartily approve.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Swaros or zeiss I'd say. I am very lucky to have a pair of each. Zeiss for the biggies and now swaros for the small ones. Can't fault either pair. Id love to see your artwork : I bet it is full of life and colour, like you my dear xx

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  2. The books sound very interesting, I would like a decent pair of binoculars, the ones we have are not very good, but I use my camera lens sometimes to see things afar xx

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    1. If you think of bins as a lifetime's investment the cost will make your eyes water less ;-). A decent pair is well worth having if you use them often x

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  3. Yes, I stuffed a lemon Viennese whirl by Mr Kipling in my mouth whole. That's as devil may care as it's got. I'm sending you some corsets and some lavender scented lace edged handkerchiefs as befits your current Centuary of living. In face would you care to take afternoon tea with me and the Dowager Countess next Thursday? I'll have my butler send a letter to your butler!

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    1. Excellent re the Viennese and yes please to tea, but let's leave the lady's maids at home this time, shall we? Xx

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  4. Also, gorgeous wool and you paint very well.

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  5. Such pleasure, reading this post CT. I love the idea of your books muttering. Funnily enough I was in Tunbridge Wells today meeting a friend and I wished I had more time to potter. A bookshop would have been perfect. Instead I found myself trying on and then (sshh) buying the most beautiful skirt (which is very devil-may-care as I'm not supposed to be spending any money...). There's a smart party coming up this summer and the skirt was too beautiful to leave behind. I am reading H is for Hawk and would like a clear day with nothing else happening to immerse myself in it. Your paintings are vibrant and joyful. Sam x

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    1. A beautiful skirt for a forthcoming party sounds perfect. Piccy on your blog so we can all admire it? Haven't been to T Wells for years. I used to live near Mayfield. It's where I grew up. Xx

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  6. Your new bins look fabulous. It is great that they are small and sharp as you wl be able to carry them everywhere with you.

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  7. I have the very same copy of The Open Air :) Read it last year after finding it in a favourite old bookshop!

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    1. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

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  8. Sounds like you've had a perfect day. I love old books too and especially like the idea of them calling to you. Your tulip painting is lovely - what a special way to unwind and relax.

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  9. I do hope you enjoy H is for Hawk when it catches your eye.

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  10. One of my oldest books is 1875 poetic works of h.w. Longfellow...faintly written on a dark inside page is "Julia Beale from mother December 25, 1875". I love the smell and feel of old books! :)

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    1. The inscription sounds as fabulous as the book itself,

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  11. Sweet tired gud dug in last photo. Huggles to him.
    Your artwork is fabulous. I love looking at what other people design.

    cheers, parsnip

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  12. What lovely paintings, clever you. It's something I'd like to try one day. And gorgeous binoculars. I tried some out at the wetlands place once, they were absolutely brilliant. we're fans of old books here as well, there's some wonderful, wonderful writing to be found. It sounds as though you've got some fantastic books on your pile. I saw a selection of wildlife books in Waterstones in Cheltenham a while back, lots of yours were included and I thought how interesting they looked. CJ xx

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    1. The nice thing about painting is that you don't have to be perfect at it to enjoy it. Just the action of splashing colours about is lovely.xx

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  13. I got out of bed this morning - that was pretty devil may care. I too love old books - I have acquired two huge ones in the last 2 weeks.

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  14. Oh you are a clever old girl - sorry a young lady. Love your paintings. Ah the scent of old books & even more so shops that stock them. One of the reasons I haven't yet got a kindle, I don't think you get the same sense of history unless you hold the older pages between your fingers xx

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  15. I have H is for Hawk awaiting my chubby fingers to unfurl the first page for sometime now, as well as a selection of others but I think I may just be tempted to source a copy of 'the open air' first as you wetted my appetite Ct ;-)

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  16. It all looks very therapeutic, such a good way to spend your time. Love the pictures and the wool. x

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    1. The wool is now a blanket for the sofa and very warm it is too!

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  17. I love your selection of books. I finished 'Meadowland' a few weeks ago and must get round to reading my copy of 'The Green Road into the Trees', I hadn't heard of the Richard Jefferies book but it looks interesting - and a fabulous old edition, too.
    I'm afraid I believe a good pair of bins is an essential possession!

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    1. I agree about the bins, wincingly expensive but not so much when spread over a lifetime.

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  18. I didn't realise that "bins" was a short form. Spent several minutes trying to find crystal encrusted little boxes. ;)

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  19. Glad you are taking time for you, whatever you may be doing!! Enjoy the reading and the meditation and the relaxing of it all. Glad that the shawl is working, but tell Poppy to keep her paws off otherwise Aunty Amy will not be happy! Hugs!! xx

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    1. I've knitted a blanket that she shares with me so the shawl is safe! Xx

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  20. I much prefer a second hand book with a bit of history and love it even more if it has an inscription inside. Your paintings are fabulous and I'm very envious of your binoculars. Love that you've come over all Jane Austen - watch out for the TB though! xx

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    1. I agree re old books. I rarely buy new. Xx

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  21. Your paintings are lovely, and I do like the colours of your yarn.

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    1. Thanks my dear. They're all heather type tones which has worked really well in the blanket.

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  22. I would love a good pair of binoculars, will have a look at these.
    Nice to spend some time reading, been going through my book collection and recording what I've got as second copys of the same book have been bought lately ! Some books are bought because I like the cover (will never be read) and just like to have them :) Reading The beauty and the beast, Britain's favourite creatures and the people who love them, by Hugh Warwick. You would like this book.
    Hope to have the moth trap out this weekend, have you put your out yet.?
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks for the book tip will note that one down to add to the collection! Its worth trying bins out before buying. The bigger swaros didn't suit me at all, so I got the Zeiss, but the Zeiss little ones didn't work either so got the swaros of those instead xx

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    2. No moth trap yet except two weeks ago and got nothing! Xx

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  23. I think you have made a giant leap into this 'relaxation' thing! Reading to me replenishes the soul and feeds the mind! Vital!!!!
    Keep up the good work!
    Love Sally!
    Btw home safe but arrived with a dose of flu! My turn to lie low! Temperature and aches!
    Xxxx

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    1. Nourishing the soul with books, I love that idea. Hope you're feeling better now? Xx

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  24. When I finished work it took a while before I could give myself permission to read for pleasure in the daytime. It`s good to know that you are relaxing more now and able to dip into your books.

    I have Meadowlands beside my bed and I love it.

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    1. I know what you mean- it feels indulgent to read during the day, but I am loving be able to do so. I'm dipping in and out of meadowlands, it is beautifully written.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x