Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Our 'resident artist' Jim Pentney

The eagle-eyed among you who visit our shop regularly will have noticed the stone carving by our 'resident artist' Jim Pentney, displayed in the window.

It was just over two years ago, following a conversation we had with Jim about the beauty and endurance of the written word in all its various forms, that we decided to showcase his work in our shop window.

At that time he had just started a project to engrave the whole of Ivor Gurney's poem 'Brimscombe' using two lines for each stone.


Here's the full poem:

One lucky hour in middle of my tiredness
I came under the pines of the sheer steep
And saw the stars like steady candles gleam
Above and through; Brimscombe wrapped (past life) in sleep!
Such body weariness and ugliness
Had gone before, such tiredness to come on me -
This perfect moment had such pure clemency
That it my memory has all coloured since,
Forgetting the blackness and pain so driven hence.
And the naked uplands even from bramble free.
That ringed-in hour of pines, stars, and dark eminence.
(The thing we looked for in our fear of France).

There are two lines from the poem in St Laurence's Church in Stroud:
And he worked to complete the poem earlier this year in the churchyard there:

His inspiration for the work was the restoration of the canal at Brimscombe, and you can find some more of his work along the canalside from Wallbridge to Daneway in the form of hand-lettered haiku poems in slate. You can read about this here

Jim can often be seen in the window putting the finishing touches to his work and he likes to make sure they are in the best positions to catch the light.


His hand carved stones reflect his interest in the relationships between art & language, and landscape & place. Here are some more examples of his work that we have displayed over the past two years.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Joining In

I loved joining clubs when I was young and still have the badges to remind me of the excitement of getting a certificate or newsletter through the post, and the sense of belonging to a big community where everyone loves the same things that you do.

In these internet day I've recently rediscovered that joy of belonging through various websites and forums. I've been rummaging around the world wide web over the last few weeks trying to expand my knowledge about children's books, one of my favourite genres.

I've been amazed by the wealth of knowledge that collectors of children's books have and are willing to share with others in their groups and on their forums. 

Here are a couple that I've found:

The Enid Blyton Society

The New Chalet Club - Chalet School Books.

This society also has a lovely Facebook group.

I love reading the posts in Facebook groups and on forums - I think they can build connections between people with common interests and allow you to dip in and out if you're busy with other things or have longer discussions on a topic if you've got some time to chat.

And there are obviously some wonderful friendships that have built up over the years of sharing the books they love.

I'd love to hear about your experiences of joining in online. Have you got any favourite websites, book groups or forums you like to follow?

Monday, 11 May 2015

There's Nuffin Like a Puffin!

At Churchdown Book Fair last month I spotted some lovely Puffin bookends. I rushed over to see if the stallholder was selling them and she was reluctant at first - mainly owing to the fact that they were being used to display some of her stock! I kept checking back during the day and eventually we agreed on a price and they were all mine.

Aren't they beautiful - not official Puffin Books merchandise but they do state 'Handmade in Devon' on the base.

These bookends and a couple of conversations on social media got me thinking about my abiding love for Puffin Books, both old and new. I clearly remember going to buy them as a child and they were instrumental in my voracious reading habits. Later as a teenager I moved on to the grey Penguin Modern Classics series, but Puffin Books have always still had a special place in my heart.

Anyway as a result of these musings and after a prod from Barbara from March House Books who writes so beautifully on her blog, I've decided to revive our own blog with the emphasis on sharing the types of books that I love - the ones that made me want to go into bookdealing in the first place.

If you want to share the books that you love with me please do make a comment below - I'd love to hear which books put a smile on your face, bring back lovely memories or make your spirits soar.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier