Have you ever wondered what 1 million books look like when gathered into one place. The main town for bibliophiles in the UK is Hay on Wye. The Bookbarn on the A37 (BS39 6EX) is the largest second-hand book collection in Somerset. Here, in a coffee bar cum restaurant, you will find bookish people failing to resist the temptation of buying yet another pile of books and at one or two pounds each who can say no.
It was to this place that I took my sister and brother-in-law thinking that it was the best type of thing for a fairly miserable day, foggy and so on. I had my usual conversations with complete strangers including with a man who was the splitting image of Michael Eavis of Glastonbury fame. I told him he had the same twinkle in his eye as Michael does, which give the impression of welcoming everybody inclusively. We chatted about books, declining values, and asked the question whether we were the last generation of people who own books. The man and his wife (who had traveled from Fishguard, Wales) noted with quiet satisfaction that the use of Kindle is declining and that young people are taking an interest in real books. ‘Michael’ said that all children should be taught the value of reading and how to swim.
For some time I have been thinking about what to do with my books when I eventually leave this mortal coil which is laughingly called life. I dread the idea of someone coming along with escape and just tracking the main so I have decided to leave this noble establishment all my books in my will. The person who deals with this i.e. the owners were not in so they will call me next week. I think the course of my life was very much influenced by reading, not only the normal children’s books, but adventure stories. While my brain was young and influencable I was able to use these volumes to build up my imagination. This talent or learned skill has never left me.
There has been a lot in the press about making sure that your passwords are not too easy to crack. There were some computers in the restaurant with a card giving what I can safely say is the easiest to guess or crack username and password in the universe, above.
I have nothing much to say so here are a few pictures to tempt you into coming. Anyone remotely interested in books will not want to spend less than two hours here. You will see something that catches your eye, and then something else. If you are a bibliophile you will be totally hooked on entry.
Shepton Mallet Lantern Festival takes place every year about this time. we went along in the dark and the fog and found a parking space and entered the park where a number of carefully prepared lanterns were being displayed. It is virtually impossible with the nonspecialist camera to give any idea what it was really like. Everyone stood around for half an hour proudly holding their lanterns and then everyone went off on the musical possession round the park and through the town.
My sister counted 107 lanterns. By any standards that is a very good effort. She also noticed not one single black face in the whole audience. About the only foreign people I know in Shepton are Poles.
Back home to stoke up the fire. No real need since it is 9°C but I love staring at a real live fire. And so to bed.