Reading a well-written story of 2nd hand books recently, my mind skimmed over the value of books. They are friends and I feel comfortable and safe with them. In this case it counts for "The more there are, the merrier”!
Libraries and charity shops have a distinctive atmosphere – it can be difficult to leave once you’re in and the last to leave.
My favorite place of books is at The Bosnian Shop on the main street of Lochgilphead, a Scottish town situated at the head of Loch Gilp. Brightly lit with fairy lights it is the busiest place pre-Christmas for those last minute presents and X-mass cards. The most popular place for bargains and even beats the Safe Way Shop a few steps further up the road.
A space reminiscent of a shoebox this dingy shop offers its heart with old and new to young and old. I even got a lined black coat there for a mere £5. One always hears the door bells jingle. First thing to catch the eye is someting like a 1970 reading lamps or potato chip cutter. At deeper investigation a Dutch Wall Hanging Clock pops up, or a hairdryer, workman toolboxes, clothes, Oil lamps and Storm lanterns, nearly complete English Cutlery set with a Hallmark Crown logo, Antique Sock Knitting machine or a Vintage Crosley Wood Radio. Plastic crockery and BRISTOL china stuff, outdated tapes, records and cd’s, posters and jewellery...
Can-fruit bottles with their original lids, Sugar & Butter Pots or Sugar Tongs & Salt Spoons, Small Teacups with patterns or pictures painted on them – peeling or cracked and with a missing saucer.
In the archives of BOOKS: Lesser known jewels such as old David Attenborough books, Oceanography, Gardening, Natural Healing Recipes (curing everything under the sun from nits to nose-drips), Indian-, Chinese-, Cornish-, English or The Hebrides Cookery books. Ambushed by an army of romantic novels by authors dominating the scene at Lochgilphead’s Bosnian Shop: Barbara Cartland, Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Danielle Steele, Stephan King, Dick Frances and inevitably Wilbur Smith. Pocket size dictionaries and translation books keeping their own on a shelf, children’s games, dominoes and even computers in good working order.
I found notes falling out of books - recipes, postcards of visits to foreign lands, leafs, photographs... Some smelling of dog hair or smoke, others had blotches which I presume came from reading in the kitchen, bathroom or eating ice-cream whilst lying back on a sofa?
"Notes found in books” - our lady friend at the library told me the following tale: A few months ago a member returned a John Grisham book. The next day she rushed like a whirlwind through the doors; a bus-ticket to the north for her mother’s 80th birthday had been missing. She thought it had been stuck between the pages of John’s book and she needed it for that exact evening! They headed to the far end where the book was kept and there amongst the pages was the Bus Ticket in one piece! The daughter was relieved out of her skin. How does a child explain to a parent that they had lost a bus ticket for their 80th?
A lovely story with a beautiful end – I thought.