Book Buying And Other Existential Crises

It would be more than safe to say that I like books.  I love books.  I greatly esteem books.  Sarge says I eat them.

I buy clothes when I need them, or every three years, whichever rolls around first.  I buy or trade books once a week.  And then I go to the library.

A few years ago, I set myself a goal to ‘visit all the bookshops in the world.’  Lofty goals are the truest ones.  I’ve been doing pretty well.  Some personal highlights have been Shakespeare and Company, The Strand, and Heffers.  No, I haven’t been to Powell’s.  Yet.

I’ve even been known to read books about books and reading.  Last week, I read this, complete with a list of more bookshops for me to visit.  I’m also going to work on this list.  And because I’m not picky, this one, too.

Yesterday, after our monthly book-group, Sarge and I went to Blackwell’s, Edinburgh (number 39 on this list.)  We just had to buy next month’s book.  A Steinbeck, yes!  It was Sarge’s idea to get it yesterday.  He is such an enabler.  I love him.

I get short of breath with sweaty palms anytime there might be books to buy/check out anywhere.

Here is the ‘reasoning’ behind this, in list form:

  1.  BOOKS!
  2. All the books I might want to read, I already have, but haven’t read.
  3. Books are so pretty.  Want, want.
  4. I’d like something that isn’t in a 3 for 2 deal.  And two books that are.  So I should pick out something else that has a damn sticker on it.  Because it’s a free book, people.  So Sarge picks out something that I’ll probably start/read first, anyway.  Because he reads slower than I do, and because it’s there, and because he loves me.
  5. BOOKS!
  6. There’s a space on a shelf that doesn’t have a book with my name on it.  Sometimes Sarge creates that space (in alphabetical order) and says:  That’s where your book goes.  Put one there.

And then I feel bad, because I’ve bought all these books when I should be writing one.  That is, finishing one.  It would seem I have issues with finishing things.  It’s a shame I don’t have any issues with finishing a bag of Doritos.  I couldn’t even finish a bowl of porridge this weekend.  Because it tasted like paste.  I told Sarge that I’d eat half and we could use the rest as spackle.  Good deal.

Back to the books, and finishing them.  I should probably work on that.

And because I like to change the subject, where is your favourite bookshop?

Shakespeare and Company
Image via Wikipedia

On The Road: Cambridge

Edinburgh — Peterborough – Cambridge — Peterborough — Edinburgh

We boarded the train with two backpacks, my butterfly bag and George Bailey-Penguin, our travel mascot.

I like train travel, and have come to accept the sometimes not-so-faint whiff of piss as part of the journey.

This time, I ignored it by reading Three To Get Deadly and eating chocolate-covered popcorn.

One hundred and fifty pages and an empty bag later, we arrived in Peterborough to catch the train to Cambridge.  The only thing possibly worthy of note is the fact that there was a wheelbarrow in the accessible toilet.

After one more, much shorter train journey, we met the wonderful Emily from Emily Drinking Tea and her equally wonderful husband and went off in the direction of their local pub where I broke my self-imposed no cider rule and had some lovely ice-cream.

On the way to their house afterwards, I lost count of the number of cyclists whizzing past, and we met a hedgehog not going nearly as fast.  It was all very quaint.

Now, our friends have a very lovely, but very narrow  house.  After we squeezed the chair in the front door, I found myself with an actual gin and lemonade in my hand.  It must have been a strong one, because I fell asleep watching The Thick of It, only waking up to actually drag ass up the stairs and check out their incongruously large bathroom.

The next morning, there was really strong coffee and Emily’s homemade bagels.

We took the scenic route into town along the river, and met Sarge’s friends for what turned out to be lunch, before getting lost in a bookshop.

Sarge and I came out with a pretty good combined haul and I may have taken some photos of the sky.  I do that when I’m happy.

We had really good Indian take-away and Emily’s homemade raspberry strudel, and I discovered my new favourite drink when elderflower cordial was added to  another gin and lemonade.  I might have pretended I was Anne Shirley for a moment.

We stayed up until one o’clock and I really did fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

The next morning, we finished off the bagels and watched Mr Cat enthralled with an iPad.

Too soon, it was up a taxi ramp and time for a backwards goodbye.  Our train snacks didn’t taste as good this time.  But I did start and finish The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop.

Sarge and I arrived in Edinburgh and scrambled our stuff.

‘Where’s your butterfly bag?’ asked Sarge.

‘Stuffed in your bag.’

‘No, it isn’t.’

‘I thought you had it.’

‘Well, I thought you had it.’

Luckily I’d given Sarge my phone, which is probably why I forgot my bag.  After something akin to the scene where they realise Kevin is Home Alone, I texted Emily and asked her to have a look around, hoping it was safely upstairs.  It was.  And now it’s in the post.

I arrived home feeling lighter.  Maybe it was the lovely trip.   Maybe because I was bagless.  Maybe both.

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Bow-Ties Available at Reception

Regular readers will know that my boyfriend sometimes wears a kilt and walks around with a knife in his sock, in the name of Scottish traditional dress.  His 90 year-old Gran recently requested that he get fully decked out to attend her birthday dinner, and he obliged.  With a little help.

Last April, he bought a full kilt when friends of ours got married.   He wore the  jacket and my father’s tweed waist-coat.  This caused me to get all misty-eyed and gooey, but that could be another post.

A few weeks ago, we packed a bag and his kilt, and stayed at a hotel closer to the birthday dinner.

The accessible room wasn’t, actually.  And the quest to find another one was like something out of Goldilocks/Fawlty Towers/The Twilight Zone.  The third key opened a door to a room that was usable for the one night we used it.  We brought my chair and Sarge’s kilt over the threshold and all was right with the world.  Sarge put on his kilt and went back into the bag for his bow-tie.  Wasn’t there.  No romantic-looking silk cravat, either.  Not in the bag, under the bag, or in his shoe.

‘How do I look without it?’

‘Fine.’

‘That means not fine.’

I shrugged.  Something WAS missing.

‘Should I phone my Mum?’

‘What for?’

‘To see if Dad has a tie?’

‘You can try.’

‘Is that like ‘fine’?’

‘Maybe.’

And so, he called his Mum.

No tie.

‘Is there time to go to a shop and get one?’

There wasn’t.

Five minutes later, his Dad called Reception and the same woman who showed us into our room brought Sarge a bow-tie.  From her brother-in-law down the street.

‘That’s pay-back for the room mix-up,’ I said when she left.

I have been traveling, and living, all my life; no room is the perfect fit.  That’s true for anyone.  What’s accessible to me in my chair may be inaccessible to someone else.  I know work is always being done to improve accessibility. Somewhere, everywhere.  I’ve helped to do some of it.  One place/attitude at a time.

But there are times when I have access issues.  Most all of my issues are access issues.  When life gets interesting, as I like to say, I choose to laugh and write about it.  Last time I had an ‘access issue’, I got free beer.  Most recently, compensation came in the form of a clip-on bow-tie for my boyfriend.  I can take, and appreciate, both.

A digital photo of an old BOWTIE (red_velvet_p...
Image via Wikipedia

Confessions of a Girl Scout Reject

Sharon at Hyperactive Inefficiency and Susan at LostnChina have given me the Versatile Blogger Award.  This means a, you really, really like me or b, my ramblings are truly aimless or iii, I am Waffley Versatile.  I can take all three.  Thanks a bunch.

In the name of blogging community, I’m going to share yet more random factoids about myself.

Here goes:

I used to think that I was born in the wrong era.  I have since made peace with this one.  My favourite musicians are still old or dead.  I can name that tune in one note and it’s usually More Than A Feeling by Boston.  Don’t ask, because I don’t know.  And that ‘s OK.

I get high on life, the smell of books and paint and gasoline and cigars.  But not intentionally.  It just happens.  In related news, I smoked pot at University, but I wasn’t co-ordinated enough to do it more than once.

When I ‘graduated’ from the Brownies, the leader suggested I ‘might not want to move up to the Green Uniform.’  So I didn’t.  I’m a rebel from way back.  I guess she doubted my commitment to Sparkle Motion.

I’ve said before that I quote my favourite movies in everyday conversation.  I’ll say now that most of the time, it makes sense.

Wine gives me heartburn.  This is probably a good thing.

I don’t like chocolate, either.  Unless it’s expensive.

The stack of books by my side of the bed keeps threatening to hit me in the head as I sleep.  Currently reading:  Fante, The Tiger’s Wife, and Two For The Dough.  Because I’m versatile.

More random factoids can be found here, here  and elsewhere within my posts.

I’m supposed to tell other bloggers to do this.  You can, if you wish.

What I will do now is mention some folks who I think should start a blog.  Because I would read it.

My Dad:  Everyone needs his philosophy on life and baseball.

Sarge:   He wants me to write lyrics to go with his music.  And because I want even more insight into the workings of his brain.

My cousin Karin:  I want to be like her when I grow up.  And I told her so.  Yes, I am that corny.