Sunday, 19 October 2008

Autumn treats!

Well, Autumn has hit Bo'ness and the leaves have well and truly started to turn - looking out the shop window now there's a fair few lining the street already. I love Autumn, it's my favourite season - there's Hallowe'en, bonfire night, the trees bursting out into golds and oranges and reds. Brilliant! OK, enough of my personal opinions... I'm just saying.

So anyway, it's been brought to my attention from a few different sources this week that I've not updated the blog in a while so I thought I'd take a little time out today to mention a few of the new things we've been working on in the past few weeks...

First, thanks to everyone who voted in the Independent Booksellers Book of the Year awards. Voting postcards were to be back here by 15th and they've now been sent off to be counted with those from other independent shops all over the country. We look forward to getting the results at the end of the month and will be sure to let you know who won!

In the shop itself, we now have a spookily fabulous Hallowe'en window with lots of wicca, ghost and scary children's books on display ... wooooo!

...and our Christmas catalogues are available too - pick up a copy and get shopping!

On the products side of things we now have cards available from Museums and Galleries (featuring literary favourites like Paddington, Winnie the Pooh and more), and Wedgewood, and we also now have individual letterpress Christmas cards available from Blush too. BUT remember to keep checking back as well because in the next few weeks we'll also have some of our very own Christmas cards available (individually or in packs) with a few exciting personalisation options too ... shhhh...

We also have Lunar Calendars available now too for anyone who needs to organise their life, garden, go fishing or cast spells in specific phases of the moon (or perhaps just find out when everyone around you is going to go a little loopy during the full moon)!

Finally, we've recently taken delivery of some simply fabulous diaries for 2009 from Paperblanks. They come in a variety of styles and sizes in either week-to-view or day-to-view formats and they have some really useful extras like reference pages, two ribbon markers and a brilliant little memento pouch for keepsakes (...or expense receipts)! Some even have a little removable address book! Brilliant! They are absolutely gorgeous and I've got my eye on a few already... how many diaries can a girl legitimately have??? (P.S. They'd make great Christmas presents too...)

So you see there's been a few things happening here recently - stop by and see the window, pick up your catalogue, organise your cards and check out the diaries... and on the way why not just pause for a second to marvel at the wonder of Autumn! I love it!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Champagne High...

I've been meaning to post more book reviews on this blog and never quite gotten round to it till now, but I read a classic book the other day that I'd heard lots about from various sources over the years and feel compelled to tell you all about it. It was a book I'd only ever heard and read good things about, but I hadn't really thought it was 'my cup of tea' in particular. However, last week I decided to give it a go - read outside my comfort zone and all that, and I have to say, I'm very glad I did!

The book was The Ascent of Rum Doodle by WE Bowman - it's a story of an expedition to climb the wonderfully named 40,000 (and a half) foot mountain peak in the Himalayas by a mountaineering party consisting of Binder, Burley, Wish, Shute, Jungle, Constant, Prone and a team of (at one point) 30,000 porters. What follows is an adventure of epic proportions in which paths are lost, parties are split (some are kidnapped by bandits) and, spurred on by the gut-churning yet relentless cooking of Pong their chef, an almost unfathomable quantity of champagne is consumed... all on the side of a mountain.

I must admit it was the introduction by Bill Bryson in the most recent 2001 edition which finally tipped the scales and persuaded me to give it a go, as I'm not a mountaineer by any stretch of the imagination (though I have, like Prone the doctor, been high enough). Narrated by Binder, the book wanders from the sublime to the ridiculous by way of the surreal and the hilariously funny. The writing is easy, the story moves along apace, and a finer collection of comedic characters I haven't found in anything else I've read in a while... they certainly kept me chuckling through a wet and miserable day in Bo'ness last week.

The book itself has actually been around since 1956 and has attained almost a cult like status in mountaineering circles, and reading round the book, I found out that there is now even a Rumdoodle Peak in Antarctica, a Rumdoodle Ridge in Colorado, and a restaurant named Rum Doodle in Kathmandu which is an unofficial starting point for the ascent of Mt Everest, and who's walls are graced with signatures of successful Everest-ers including that of Sir Edmund Hillary.

So to 'summit' up ('scuse the pun), if you haven't had the good fortune to stumble upon this luckless band of mountaineers yet, please do give them a read - of course we have a couple of copies in the shop for anyone as wants and if we run out (as I'm sure you know by now!) we can always order more!