Monday, May 2, 2011

Buxton Book Fair

Another top PBFA book fair, this time Buxton in the Pavilion. Several treasures found, at bargain prices too. A signed copy of Alan Bennett's 'Writing Home'; A beautifully illustrated 1919 copy of Lewis Carroll's 1869 'Phantasmagoria and Other Poems'; A translated 1st ed. of Satre's The Reprieve (Le Sursis); A 1910 1st Ed. of E(dith) Nesbit's 'The Magic City', illustrated by H.R. Millar and a 1949 good condition 'Biggles Defies the Swastika', 1941.


The one that got away, a first edition of Bunting's Briggflatts, not a bad price. I was just niggardly at the purse strings.  Also some of the shelves on display, including, Marple Bridge's Talisman Books. Below is the second stanza from Bunting's text:

"A mason times his mallet 
to a lark’s twitter, 
listening while the marble rests, 
lays his rule 
at a letter’s edge, 
fingertips checking, 
till the stone spells a name 
naming none, 
a man abolished. 
Painful lark, labouring to rise! 
The solemn mallet says: 
In the grave’s slot 
he lies. We rot."

My Finds :

Above: H.R.Millar's illustrations from 'The Magic City'

Arthur B. Frost's illustration's from 'Phantasmagoria'.

Essential reading Capt. W.E.Johns with quintessentially English 'fly boy' Biggles fighting the Nazi Luftwaffe. Alan Bennett's thoughtful observations and silent sighs and meanderings from Satre's colourful repertoire. 

"...But what is it all about, what am I trying to do, is there a message? Nobody knows, and I certainly don't. If one could answer these questions in any other way than by writing what one has written, then there would be no point in writing at all." 

 - Alan Bennett, Writing Home, 1994.

The Splendour of Scrivener's five floors in Buxton

On a recent trip out in Buxton, I was pre informed of a bookshop on the upper high street that would take my fancy, nestled up amongst the beautiful buildings and numerous pubs I found her, Scriveners. A near perfect bookshop, a warm welcome, beautifully arranged chaos, antiquarian jumbled in with cheap paperbacks, maps, charts, sheet music and everything in between. Something that immediately grabbed me was the window proudly informing passers by of the 'five floors' of books. I gleefully blenched and my partner simultaneously groaned this was a minimum six hour job.

I digress, another lovely feature is the set out of the rooms, the basement with its original cast iron kitchen, a white organ upstairs, a toilet and cake and tea facilities, a children's corner. In essence a Waterstones in a utopic future world, where the seven books on offer weren't written by either Dan Brown or Steig Larsson.

"Scrivener's books and bookbinding's is the largest known second-hand bookshop in Derbyshire. We have over thirty thousand volumes, ranging from pulp to antiquarian, hundreds of children's fiction and many collectables and first editions. We also have a small cafe, which is waitress service on Saturdays and self-service every other day." 

"We offer an extensive range of second-hand books, and repairs, restorations and new creations of books to your specifications, all done in-house by the proprietor Alastair Scrivener (above), and Holly Serjeant. We can create new bindings of your work, such as thesis bindings. We also carry out work done by Vivien Lunniss, both bookbinding and calligraphy. Mahogany boxes, slip cases and show cases are made to order by Harold."

The fabulous Derbyshire views offered by the attic window upstairs. Revealing Buxton's status as the gateway to the Peak District.

If having scones and tea mid browse is not enough, or the availability of a toilet, there is always the organ to belt out some of the sheet music waiting to be dusted off.

Blyton, Ransome, Saville, Lewis, Tolkein...this is what childhood is made of, oh and of course, the seaside, adventure, cliffs, caves, trees, boxes, pirates and treasure.

Camden shuffles...

A Prince of the Captivity - John Buchan 1933

Buchan up to his old tricks, this time with Adam Melfort as protagonist. The great war, politics, good vs evil, man vs nature...iceland.

A little trip from the Heath down to Camden markets a couple of weekends ago lead me to a cosy little nook offering all kinds of goodies, namely penguin classics, a few dotted first editions and Buchan's Prince of the Captivity, which I had to bundle off with. Although generally having some constraint with unnecessary consumption of goods, I often think the purchase of a second hand book from a shop or stall is rather similar to taking a photograph of a landscape visited and sought to be remembered. 

A table outside the market stall, Camden.