I own a high number of books, gave away a lot when I moved out of Auckland and am weak-willed and best to avoid book fairs, especially when the books are $1 and children’s books 50cents. The second day - Sunday’s sales were ‘$5 for a bag of books’. Open slather for me!
I seemed to have a fabric bag in my pocket when I called in to the library to return a book and DVD. The library happens to be in the same building as the events centre. There was a queue at the Book Fair door in waiting for the 10AM opening. Well that made me justify entering ‘in case I missed something’. The hall was heaving and at 5’2” height, and shrinking, I’m at a disadvantage. I headed straight for the gardening books and engaged my elbows. This fair - It’s not like Harrods’s sale but there are determined buyers there who are not to be crossed.
I know who Roy Strong is (now Sir) but have not read any of his garden books and have sadly never been to The Laskett, his garden and creation of his late wife Julia Trevelyan Oman and himself. Roy Strong isthe ex-director of the National Portrait Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum, and now has a freelance career as writer, consultant and broadcaster and continues an active role in overseeing the gardens.
‘A Small Garden Designer‘s Handbook and ‘Creating Small Gardens’ by Roy Strong were certains. My garden is small and open to Roy’s suggestions, so these two books went straight into my bag.
I have old books ‘Colour In Your Garden’, ‘Flower Gardens’ and ‘The Flower Arrangers Garden’, by Penelope Hobhouse and Rosemary Verey - they are classics and worth a look by my friend Claire Bennett who is designing a new post-earthquake garden. I visited Barnsley, the Verey garden and was shown around by Rosemary herself, when the laburnum arch was in full bloom). Easy to justify those so into the bag. And how could I resist the cover of ‘The Gardener’s Companion’ with the strange subtitle of ‘A Think Book’?
The floristry book ‘’The Constance Spry Handbook of Floristry’, by Harold Piercy, my principal at the Constance Spry Flower School, London, where I trained, went into my bag. I already have a copy so it’s for old time’s sake. Some of the floristry methods may be dated but my training at this school and employment in their Chelsea and Mayfair shops set me up for a life of skilled floristry. Constance Spry whom I never met – she died before I attended her school - may turn in her grave if she saw some of my creations post her exclusive school but thanks to her I learnt basics I adapt still today.
Peter Dunnachie thinks I have ‘a taste for the absurd’. ‘FOOD’, by Ogden Nash and fabulous illustrations by Etienne Delessert was too good to ignore.
The parsnip, children, I repeat
Is simply an anemic beet.
Some people call the parsnip inedible;
Myself, I find this claim incredible.
Two Dvd’s, for friend Maggie, on ‘fibre craft’ may or may not hit the mark? Books on herbs will go to the sales table of the Wairarapa Herb Society if they are declined by the society’s library. Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ seems like a good idea for someone like me who’s not great on history unless it’s on specific subjects that I like.
I bought five books written by myself. I am not keen on seeing my own tomes in bargain bins despite the fact that those I bought are out of print and out of date – except to me of course. Pathetic eh? I used to look in those bins of remaindered but new books on trestles on pavements for my own recent books and was pleased never to find any.
Now, where to put all this treasure?