Clutter Books and Clobber

I acquired that pile of goodness last weekend at a lovely town called Sedburgh which lies within the scenic lushness of Yorkshire Dales National Park. Winding cobbled streets lead you past stalls selling beautiful sheepskin rugs, vicarage lanes and cottages with twee names. Then you trundle down the lane further past book shops called Sleepy Elephant, spectacularly green cricket grounds and shop facades that seem to be peeling away at leisure, till you arrive at the point of why Sedburgh declares itself the book town of the Blighty.

You may ask the question of the cheerful lady at the till of a charity shop and she would smile (because she must have answered this one a few times) and say: “Every cafe, shop and store in this town is stocked with books, and if you go up the street, you will see Westwood Books. It is worth taking a look into because it came from the Welsh town, Hay-on-Wye. They have done a fair bit in promoting Sedburgh as a town of books.”

Now my dear readers, you must have heard of the Hay Festival which for bibliophiles is supposed to induce a Christmas-in-the-mind-at-any-time-of-the-year feeling. It is takes place in the book town of Hay-on-Wye in Wales which boasts of a dozen bookstores. My husband should thank his lucky stars I have not set foot inside that market town yet. But the point of this is that Westwood Books is indeed a jewel of sorts. I entered it, I read inside it (a Gertrude Stein book which was thoroughly mind numbing because boy that woman knew how to pile on the negatives in one sentence – forget double negatives), then I did not know how to leave it behind.

Even Adi, who is not a reader, bought a book and browsed inside the store. Usually he takes a quick look and then hangs around my neck with the look of a bored child who demands to be entertained.That is what a book store worth its salt should be able to do – convert a non-reader/browser into one. Don’t you think?

Sedburgh and Hay-on-Wye are not unique really with their book town status, keeping in mind the fact that there are 40-odd book towns spread out across the world, but here’s how a book town can charm you.

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Clutter Books & Clobber charity shop
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Past the gorgeous tulips you enter the shop that will cast a spell. You shall have to make efforts the size of Hercules to leave those doors.
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Collectors’ editions
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Sketches of quirky personalities
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Punch Library, ladies and gentlemen. Did you even know that it existed?
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That spot of red is Adi browsing books. The very sight of which made my imaginative monocles fall off. 

Finally I leave you with the words of a writer, Eric Robson, who makes me nod vigorously (here you have the Indian head nod), as he says this: “First, a confession: I spend far too much on books. Which is why this idea of creating a Book Town in Sedbergh is a thoroughly bad idea. Until now my nearest Book Towns were Hay‑on‑Wye and Wigtown, which meant my obsessions were held in check by sheer distance. Now it’s going to be far too easy. I can already hear my bank manager turning in his vault. I won’t be able to resist. And there are thousands of other bibliophiles holding their heads in their hands as we speak. ‘Not Sedbergh!’ I hear them cry just before they get into their car and are drawn slowly but surely towards the Howgills.”

 

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105 thoughts on “Clutter Books and Clobber

  1. What a wonderful bookstore. Unfortunately, so many have disappeared in Los Angeles except for maybe a few like The Last Bookstore in downtown. I (Neek) used to work in a bookstore when I was in high school and it was one of the best experiences that I had ever had. I’m envious that you have
    so many!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Neek, you worked in a bookstore… why that is a lovely experience. Puts me in mind of The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. The Last Bookstore sounds like you should hold on to it. The very name would be like doomsday to a book devourer! Adi rues the moment he spots old books and bookstores. His face darkens at the thought of All the books that will move with us soon and then the prospect of more to be added to that unending pile 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The bookstore I worked at was called B. Dalton Booksellers which no longer exists. Funny, the way that you describe how Adi feels about old books and bookstores is how I feel about technology – always having to buy more gadgets to replace older models that don’t support the “new” software. But I do love books! and you don’t have to keep buy ing new software to access them. 😉

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      2. Oh Neek! I can see his grin already 😀 I love your comment. He is actually a tech geek. He loves gadgets and keeps updating them. Ha ha ha. I am so with you there. My laptops usually grew moss till he came into my life and was horrified at how I was using everything outdated from television to laptops. So he considers himself my knight in techie armour.

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  2. It’s a good thing I was sitting down when I saw the photo of the shelves of Collector’s Editions. I could’ve broken something. I couldn’t imagine living in a town like this. I’d have no money left!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for a lovely trip and photos. Place is superb (though maybe a tad cold and humid for my taste).
    Indian head-nod back at you. Virtual. One needs a lot of training to avoid spraining a cervical or two. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Brian. Yes, that training is crucial. Even I need to remember at the best of times that I have got to keep my head fixed to the spine. Aw I love this cold place, it makes me shiver alright, but what it also does is make me yearn for a teacake and tea to attack the cold with. How can I fight the goodness of that 😉

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      1. I find that nod, so pleasant. Probably memories of my childhood. And the teacake sounds good. I’d not thought about the cold. We spent a day in Brighton in July two years ago. Bright sunny day, but sooooo bl..dy cold and windy. And yet there were Brits (or Swedes I don’t know) swimming. 🙂
        Have a lovely week-end.

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      2. Tee hee. Brighton is gorgeous, sunny but yes the wind is wicked. It can send shivers coursing down the spine even under a hot midday sun. When you say childhood, were you in India at any time or do you have associations with Indians to draw upon?

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      3. I’m a Sindhi frog. 🙂 Born in Karachi. Actually my family on my father’s side lived in India for two centuries. My little sister was the last one born there. Hence the association. 🙂

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    1. Tee hee a little. But it is more practical and I bow to that. I have a Nook called Noorie who lies at the back of my bedside table and Adi used to threaten that he would give it away because I just do not use it. Instead I still lug books around and it annoys him no end because it also means I buy that many 😉

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      1. Philippines. …..libraries here are only found in schools…bookstores on the other hand have been dwindling over the past years….in my local area alone. .there is one just one bookstore operating. …see how sad. ..

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      2. It does make me sad to hear that. May one person there get up and decide to start a library that I am sure people will flock to. Changes can sometimes take place with the efforts of just one individual too, isn’t it?

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  4. 1. I never heard of the Hay Festival before.
    2. That said, I never encountered the word “twee” before and I thank you for this addition to the British cabinet of my vocabulary. Love that word!
    3. The idea of Christmas-in-the-mind-at-any-time-of-the-year scares me
    4. Your photos are wonderful – love the colors!

    And finally – thank you for another, truly captivating read! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is truly a nifty point-by-point feedback. I shall therefore try and do justice to it 😉
      1. Someday I want to attend it. Who knows, maybe we shall meet there.
      2. I have a weakness for anything twee, so I am happy to have done that bit of goodness here. That word fits in naturally with everything English.
      3. Ooh but just imagine.
      4. Thank you for the generous words. They truly make me feel happier on this lovely Friday evening.
      5. An extra one never hurts, does it? Have a lovely day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They do have enough place to rent them out to book lovers. It was like an antique store that I had been to some time ago where there were rooms and rooms leading to more rooms filled with old stuff. Only this was about purely books. Bliss.

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    1. It did to me too. For a change even my husband was tempted. See after I once bought a collectors’ edition Tennyson at an antique shop for 25 quid, he has always been scared of me entering any book shop, period. I think I have finally broken past that barrier 😀

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  5. I had not heard of this festival. With a name like the Hay Festival though, I wouldn’t imagine that it would be about books. Will you be around for it next time? And did you pick up anything interesting at the store?

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    1. The name is misleading, Jen. Must be getting its name from the town itself. I will be around but I am gearing up to move countries and I shall be moving out at the end of the month. So possibly we will not be able to make it to the Hay Festival 😦 I did pick up a few books (in the lead photo) xx

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  6. This is the first time I read about Book towns! How is it possible I didn’t know about any when I was in England? On your photos the place looks like a heaven on earth.

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    1. But now you do, so next time you are here and near one of them, drop in and inhale some books 😉 It was lovely this little town of Sedburgh. About not knowing of these book towns, Michaela, I am also learning daily about so many things and it is quite wonderful to make these discoveries xx

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      1. Indeed, learning new things is what makes life interesting! 🙂 I guess I need to plan a trip to UK very soon, so many lovely places, it’s difficult not to fall in love with the kingdom 🙂

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  7. OMG!. Book heaven. I have always been more comfortable reading a book rather than watch TV. Your post made me realize i have been too swamped with a lot of things i have barely gotten lost in books for a while now. Early this morning i started reading Haruki murakami’s kafka on the shore and so far so good. Lovely post 😍.

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    1. Oh Jen, don’t even mention the self-hosted thing. It has bombed. I have ended up transferring my domain to Site Ground in the process and paying twice over for it but cancelled the account. I guess I will wait a year now. The reason I have not got around to posting is that my father-in-law is quite unwell and in hospital which has us worried. My husband is getting ready to be off to India while I sort out things for our move at the end of this month. Thanks for asking xx

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    1. I have an unsaid deal with my husband (who by now has realised that most of my books travel are our faithful travel companions). I relented a fair bit when I left 90 per cent of my earlier collection in Delhi. Now I have built up almost half of that quantity. I am going to have to weed out a few for which I shall lay a stone on my heart and go about it 😉

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