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And, for our weekly Bookshop Diary...please Click here. Updated: September 18th 2021.
To make you think! Here's something on Baby Naming, Wystan Hugh Auden...and Spike Milligan on Epidemics!
To read about our mail Book Club.....
Image: Book Jewels.
In normal times, we can offer a wide-ranging experience in Public Speaking
Most Popular are: Book Talks with Demonstrations, and a wide variety of Science Demonstration Lectures.
Topics such as:
“Rare Books and Rarer People”. “On Running a Bookshop”. "A Life in Books".,
“Physics as a Career” “The Science of Light”. “Spectroscopy”. “Solar Eclipses”. “Our Star the Sun”.
For more information: Contact: Bob Speer
Senior Lecturer (retired) Imperial College.
email@example.com. Tel: 01297-445815.
Want to learn the book trade? Why not run our bookshop for a day, a weekend, or even a week..? Click here.
Image: Frank Doel
Helene Hanff...her life. Click here...
Stan the Man and Stornoway Slim
"Only those who wander far and wide find the straight path".
Last updated here including newly discovered photos: February 2020.
“She came into the bookshop where I sat in abstract thought, reviewing faded days.
I looked beyond my book, and met my childhood’s Mother, in another’s candid gaze…..”.
She was elderly, frail, apologetic. Two carrier bags of books…
“I have some books for you. I understand you buy books? My husband’s . He recently passed away”.
"It seems such a shame to throw them away. He was a good man…it’s rather lonely now…..”.
It had been a quiet day. A day for quiet enjoyment. Sympathy rose quietly like the tide. The books were bought…and for a fleeting moment she held my eyes….
“He often went off you know”.
Then, before we could catch her name or contact details, she turned and was gone. A life in two bags? What to do? Most bookdealers know the feeling. Respect? Sympathy?
Perhaps the kindest of all….what would we want done, if it was our life in two carrier bags…?
Two days later the books were sorted, collated, priced, and shelved…..all but one, and that one put aside.
They were mainly about the Roma, some Irish Gypsy lore…a few early dog-eared school textbooks…no signatures, but just pre-war at a guess…
The one held back…hardly a book. Twelve pages, stapled, cheap paper…
"Vagabond". Published in the New Forest, Burley, Ringwood, and printed by Brown & Son (Ringwood). Kathleen Phelan. 1962”.
Across the cover…(see above...)..
“For Bernard Watson with the author’s best wishes. Jim Phelan ’63!
“Jim Phelan his book. Here is the lore of the road. Bits and pieces written at a hundred halts…..the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic, from Galway Bay to the Alps, Sherwood Forest to Ilkley Moor, Maxwellton Braes to Banbury Cross.
The road goes to them all. And so do I…and so here is the road for you". Jim Phelan..
A search finds Jim Phelan author of no less than twenty-three titles, born 1895, dies 1966…tramp, activist, sometime prisoner………
We read: “Upon his release from prison in 1937, Phelan vowed never to live within four walls again and returned to the tramp life. Like most tramps, he had a preferred route; in his case, the northbound A1 in England. On this road, as it snaked its way from London to the York and back, he learnt the lore of the road from characters such as Lumpy Red Fox, Dicky Tom Cosgrove, Jimmy Scotland, Stan the Man and Stornoway Slim. He learned how to write the mysterious hieroglyphics that told fellow travellers whether a single house or entire village was friendly or hostile. He perfected the art of storytelling – a line of guff – to ensure that the passer-by or house holder would be as generous as possible. He would write his novels and essays in longhand and send the manuscript off to his publisher from the first post office he encountered as he commenced his day's "work".”.
So, Mrs Watson, Thank You for your husband Bernard’s books…the treasure of an unrecorded title by Jim Phelan, and learning of their friends Lumpy Red Fox, Dicky Tom Cosgrove, Jimmy Scotland, Stan the Man and Stornoway Slim….! We are sad we are not able to thank you personally, but maybe some kind reader will recognise the description and pass these kind thoughts on.....
To read of Jim Phelan's Life and Times online..click here...
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