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Tuesday 28 February 2012


It's a while since we had a dog on the blog and Sally here was too friendly to ignore.

Biscuits evaporated as they neared her mouth.

She was lovely and can come back, any time she likes.

Thursday 23 February 2012

War Diaries - A Nurse at the Front

The First World War Diaries of Sister Edith Appleton is the sub-sub-title of this fascinating book. Edited by Ruth Cowan and with a forward by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse etc), it is the second of the 'War Diaries' series produced in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum. Quite a pedigree!

We are delighted that the discoverer of these amazing documents, Sister Edith's great nephew, Dick Robinson will be here to talk about Edith and her diaries on Saturday 17th March at 10.30 am.

The price of this hardback is £14.99 but, to encourage you along on the day, it will be available at £3.00 off on the day and Dick will happily sign your copy if you wish.

Please drop in from 1st March onwards and dip into this fascinating account of the day to day life of a young nurse who worked close to the front line during this horrific piece of our history.

The IWM will be opening brand new First World War galleries during their programme marking the centenary of the 14-18 war. More information is available at

Shrapnel and Rare Books

One of our favourite customers and good friend called in with a box of rare treasure yesterday. Something you don't see every day of the week.

As well as her Identity Card and Ration book from the war period, the box contained some rather deadly looking chunks of shrapnel that she had picked up as a young girl during the Blitz.

Can anybody identify the brassy looking pieces in front of the box? They have the word SAFE written on one piece and there are markings around them indicating perhaps time, or height. We thought Ack Ack?

Friday 17 February 2012


Glad to say, our friend is safe and well.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Bookpoint Visit.

Nina and I enjoyed a day out yesterday when we returned a pile of books to Bookpoint near Abingdon. It was great to meet the lovely ladies who arrange all our orders and now we can put a face to a name when we order our next pile of paperbacks

Lisa and Olivier were kind enough to show us round the vast warehouse where the picking and packing is done. I was annoyed that I'd not thought to bring the camera down.

A very impressive organisation. Not a patch on our shop, of course.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Mr Jingle's dog

Here's Mr Jingle again, with another unlikely tale.

'Ah! you should keep dogs - fine animals - sagacious creatures - dog of my own once - Pointer - surprising instinct - out shooting one day - entering inclosure - whistled - dog stopped - whistled again - Ponto - no go - stock still - called him - Ponto, Ponto - wouldn't move - dog transfixed - staring at a board - looked up, saw an inscription - "Gamekeeper has orders to shoot all dogs found in this inclosure" - wouldn't pass it - wonderful dog - valuable dog that - very.'

Pickwick Papers

And so to Tiny Tim, of course in A Christmas Carol.

'God bless us, everyone!'

Monday 6 February 2012

Mr Sparkler

Perhaps the dullest wit of all the Dickens characters?

Mr Sparkler, stimulated by Love to brilliancy, replied that for a particular walk, a man ought to have a particular pair of shoes; as, for example, shooting, shooting-shoes; cricket, cricket-shoes. Whereas, he believed that Henry Gowan had no particular pair of shoes.
'No speciality?' said Mr Dorrit.
This being a very long word for Mr Sparkler, and his mind being exhausted by his late effort, he replied, 'No thank you, I seldom take it.'

Little Dorrit

Sunday 5 February 2012

An introduction - Mrs Gamp

Here's Mrs Gamp in her introduction.

She was a fat old woman, this Mrs Gamp, with a husky voice and a moist eye which she had a remarkable power of turning up and only showing the white of it. Having very little neck, it cost her some trouble to look over herself, if one may say so, at those to whom she talked.... The face of Mrs Gamp - the nose in particular - was somewhat red and swollen, and it was difficult to enjoy her society without becoming concious of a smell of spirits.

Martin Chuzzlewit

Saturday 4 February 2012

Mrs Nickleby

Here's a long one but Mrs Nickleby's chunterings are a favourite of mine and nothing uttered by her could ever be short.

Your grandmother, Kate, was exactly the same - precisely. The least excitement, the slightest surprise, she fainted away directly. I have heard her say, often and often, that when she was a young lady, and before she was married, she was turning a corner into Oxford Street one day, when she ran against her own hairdresser, who, it seems, was escaping from a bear; - the mere suddenness of the encounter made her faint away directly. Wait, though,' added Mrs Nickleby, pausing to consider. 'Let me be sure I'm right. Was it her hairdresser who had escaped from a bear, or was it a bear who had escaped from her hairdresser's? I declare I can't remember just now, but the hairdresser was a very handsome man, I know, and quite a gentleman in his manners; so that it has nothing to do with the point of the story.'

Nicholas Nickleby

Friday 3 February 2012

Alfred Jingle

I might save Jingle's dog story for the 7th but for now, here he is with another piece of fiction, duly noted down by Pickwick.

'Terrible place - dangerous work - other day - five children - mother - tall lady, eating sandwiches - forgot the arch - crash - knock - children look round - mother's head off - sandwich in her hand - no mouth to put it in - head of a family off - shocking, shocking!'

Pickwick Papers.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Buddy Holly

Another anniversary. 53 years ago tomorrow, Buddy Holly died in a plane crash.

I'll be playing Buddy Holly and the Crickets in the shop tomorrow, if I can find the CDs.

Must tidy this place one day!

Mrs Gamp

In many places in his novels, Dickens suggests that the consumption of beer, wine or spirits is an inseparable part of the character he is describing. Mrs Gamp has more than her fair share of quotes in this book and, no doubt, more than her fair share of gin.

'Tell Mrs Gamp to come upstairs,' said Mould. 'Now Mrs Gamp, what's your news?'
The lady in question was by this time in the doorway, curtseying to Mrs Mould. At the same moment a peculiar fragrance was borne upon the breeze, as if a passing fairy had hiccoughed, and had previously been to a wine vault.

Martin Chuzzlewit.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Sale 20% off children's books

February is not only important because of the Dickens bi-centenary though.

We have decided to have a genuine
for the very first time in our ten year history.

ALL children's books in stock are on sale at
20% off
throughout this month.

So if you want them reading quietly, this half term, look in and browse the shelves.

The Wicked Wit of CD - Mr Squeers

Shelley Klein's collection of pithy and humourous extracts from the novels of Charles Dickens, The Wicked Wit of Charles Dickens, contains a wealth of my favourites and I'll pop one on each day from now to the great man's birth date, 7th Feb.

His description of the facial features of Dotheboys Hall's decidedly wicked 'headmaster', is both very funny and a masterpiece of vivid description making Squeers unforgettable from his very introduction.

"Mr Squeers's appearance was not prepossessing. He had but one eye and the popular prejudice runs in favour of two."