It’s not a Competition

Good to be back at the Old Bell in Malmesbury. Good supper, good breakfast – wifi not quite up to the mark for blogging purposes, but perhaps that’s no bad thing.

No need for swimming today. Tetbury first stop and just being out in the soft-teeming, seeping, drenching Gloucestershire rain is like being underwater. Three books bought damply.

Keogh's Bookshop in Nailsworth

Keogh’s Bookshop in Nailsworth

Still raining in Nailsworth – more books bought in Keogh’s.

Keogh's Bookshop in Nailsworth

Keogh’s Bookshop in Nailsworth

Still raining in Stroud – and an ominous queue of traffic trying to leave town. “Hello Stroud” on behalf of John Critchley.

Inprint in Stroud

Inprint in Stroud

Delighted by Inprint on the High Street – home of the excellent online TheBookGuide. Well done to them – a quirky and highly visual bookshop where you sense that everything has been chosen and not simply acquired.

Inprint in Stroud

Inprint in Stroud

Can’t find anyone else at home in the area, but all roads out of Stroud now appear to be gridlocked. We engineer a highly circuitous route to Christopher Saunders at Newnham-on-Severn. A battle of wills with Jane the (borrowed) sat-navigator ends with The First Lady reminding me somewhat tartly that it’s not a competition to find the most obscure route.

The Saunders Jug

The Christopher Saunders Pimm’s Jug

Mightily impressed by Christopher’s new garden water-feature cascading down to the river – and possibly even more so by the exceedingly pretty girl he appears to have hired to clean and polish his shrubs. Whether in our honour or not is not made entirely clear. She’s paid by the hour and not by the leaf, he tells us somewhat obscurely, as if it were something perfectly normal, like collating.

Good books – really good books – in his field. Good talk. Ideas for a fair. High praise of the ABA handbook as an instrument of reassurance when dealing with anxious sellers.

The Dive In Bookshop

Combined Bookshop and Post Office found by the wayside – neither open in mid-afternoon

And Jane is tacitly turned off as we follow the ‘Saunders scenic’ route to Hay.

About Laurence Worms - Ash Rare Books

Laurence Worms has owned and run Ash Rare Books since 1971. He represented the antiquarian book trade on the (British) National Book Committee from 1993 to 2002 and has been six times an elected member of the Council of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association. He was largely responsible for drafting the Association’s Code of Good Practice first introduced in 1997 (and its recent update), served as Honorary Secretary of the Association from 1998 to 2001 and as President from 2011 to 2013. He is a former member of the Council of the Bibliographical Society and continues to serve on the Council of the London Topographical Society. He writes and lectures on various aspects of the history of the book and map trades, and has lectured at the universities of Cambridge, London, Reading and Sheffield, as well as at the Bibliographical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Warburg Institute, the National Library of Scotland and at Gresham College and Stationers' Hall. Published work includes the compilation of fourteen ‘lives’ for the “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography”, a number of articles for “The Oxford Companion to the Book” and the chapter on early English maps and atlases for the fourth volume of “The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain”. Essays on the British map trade are also appearing in “The History of Cartography” published by the University of Chicago Press. His long-awaited “British Map Engravers”, co-written with Ashley Baynton-Williams, was published to critical acclaim in 2011. He also contributed the numerous biographical notes to Peter Barber’s hugely successful “London : A History in Maps”, co-published by the British Library and the London Topographical Society in 2012.
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2 Responses to It’s not a Competition

  1. I do congratulate the President and the First Lady, not to mention Jane, on their noble and sacrificial (to a holiday in sunnier climes) tour of the more western outposts of bookselling Britain. I cannot wait for the blog on their trips north and east which will no doubt follow during the course of a year, or two. I found myself gripped and shamed at one and the same time. I shall endeavour to go visiting fellow booksellers in and around my patch pronto – just as soon as August shows herself to be a summery month – currently it’s pouring with rain here in Dorset.


    • ashrarebooks says:

      Thank you very much, Julian. The least we can do in these difficult times is to support each other as best we can – by talking, communicating and visiting. And in any case, we all love going into bookshops – it’s what we were born for after all. All best. The north-west beckons next week.


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