Monday, 16 June 2014


Our last trip in the motor home was in late May. Bill wanted to marshal one of those crazy 100-mile walks that the Long Distance Walking Association does overnight. As we meandered our way back from South Wales we visited a few National Trust properties which I hope to tell you about soon. When planning the trip I asked if we could be back by the night of the 29th. The Linskill community centre was having its annual book sale on the 30th and 31st and we were going to be elsewhere on the 31st.  I love a huge sale where the books are 50p for paperback, £1 for hardback!

I spent a grand total of £10 and got the following:

Vanished Years, Rupert Everett
The blurb mentioned Evelyn Waugh & Ivor Novello, so I 'had' to buy it!

The Black Prince, Iris Murdoch
I've not seen the Judy Dench film yet, but thought I ought to read something Murdoch had written.

The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
Frequent references to this book in other fictional books I've read made me curious about it.

Past Imperfect, Julian Fellowes
Sadly, his novels seem not to be set in the inter-war period like his screenwriting, but I liked Snobs well enough to pay 50p for another.

The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
I read this at my cousin's flat in Nice and thought I might well read it again. Explains the history of politics in the US quite well.

Best of Betjamin, John Betjamin and John Guest
Bill's favourite poet, also an inter-war personality. I'm sure I'll be sharing a few of his scribbles - many very irreverent for a Poet Laureate! His first wife was a Cavendish, the family of the Dukes of Devonshire, owners of Chatsworth, one of the grand houses we saw. 

211 Things a Bright Girl Can Do, Bunty Cutler
The word 'bright' in the title made me think of the 1920s, though this is relatively modern. A few useful ideas, but more silly ones I think. Will report back perhaps.

Maigret Takes a Room, Georges Simenon
We love the Maigret series filmed with Michael Gambon (currently re-watching!). I read a biography of Georges Simenon, disgusting man, but I thought I'd try reading a Maigret mystery to see if they were as good as the series.

The Chase, Louisa May Alcott
Apparently this is one of the early works she wrote to earn money, not the sweet stuff of Little Women. I'm expecting it will be tedious but thought it worth a try; I've never seen this title before!

Bess of Hardwick - First Lady of Chatsworth, Mary S. Lovell
I'm certain I've read about Bess before, though I'd not remembered her connection to Chatsworth. Lovell writes a lot about the inter-war period and so her name drew me to buy it as well. Funny, we spotted this book (for a lot more than 50p) at the Chatsworth gift shop and was almost tempted. Instead, I took photos of the books I wanted, in order to look for them elsewhere. Major score!

The Last Great Edwardian Lady, Ingrid Seward

Bill pointed out this book to me. Turns out it's about the Queen Mother, Elizabeth. I have other books about her. I wouldn't say I was so much a royalist but I do think of her as an interwar personality.

Guinness Guide to 20th Century Fashion, David Bond
That Extra Half an Inch, Victoria Beckham
The World of Downton Abbey, Jessica Fellowes

All very silly books I'd never pay full price for. £1 each was about right...

Perfectly Fitted: Creating Personalized Patterns for a Limitless Wardrobe, Lynne Garner
I bought this at a National Trust gift shop for about a fiver. As soon as I opened it I regretted the purchase as it requires a 'fitting buddy' which I don't have. Unless I manage to train Bill...hmmm. Wish me luck on that!

The White Queen, Philippa Gregory
I must have been desperate for a book, having finished all I brought, as I paid full price for this (well, reduced a bit) at a grocery store. An excellent read, mind. May look around for the rest of the series, but only for 50p or less! She does a great job of telling stories from Britain's medieval period.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
Bought this at a National Trust house, but in their used book room, not the gift shop. Increasingly a lot of places collect donations of used books for visitors to browse and buy, usually displayed in some funny little end room somewhere. I always take the time to look, as their prices are great (about like the community centre's) and you never know where you'll find a gem...or a pearl (sorry). I've recently worked out that if the book was good enough to be made into a film, it's probably a pretty decent read. Worked this time anyhow, great book!

Books I Took with Me:

Modesty Blaise, Peter O'Donnell
Described to me as a female James Bond, a mid-60s thing here in Britain. Also as 'popcorn'. I do love 'popcorn'! Looking forward to more of Modesty!

The Winter Garden Mystery, Carola Dunn 
I've read it before and it's OK, just not terribly gripping compared with other books. Bill has a lot of these and re-reads them often. I think he like 'popcorn' as well.

My Grandmothers and I, Diana Holman-Hunt
An autobiographical account of the extreme differences between her grandmothers, one the widow of William Holman-Hunt who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a raffish set of scamps. Black humour colours a very sad upbringing.

All Will Yet Be Well: The Diary of Sarah Gillespie Huftalen, 1873-1952, Sarah Gillespie Huftalen and Suzanne L. Bunkers
A friend gave me this book saying he thought it interesting but it was hard work and he didn't think he was ever going to finish it. I agree with his assessment but finished it as a point of pride.  A bit tedious in places but boy did it ever bring home to me how soft we are these days! Her daily routine at 84 would kill a horse these days.

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