An unexpected visit to the hospice bookshop this weekend and a modest but decent haul to reinforce my green credentials, i.e. recycling old books. I won't say which hospice bookshop as one of the assistants (and no it wasn't a woman) wouldn't stop talking all the time we were there in a very carrying voice about utter trivia, until I was reduced to muttering Oh, do be quiet, under my breath and contemplating ssshhing loudly like an officious librarian. Even The Good Companion, normally the most patient of people, was annoyed by it.
Anyway, back to the books: two poetry books, The Nation's Favourite Poems of Childhood and A Book of Modern Verse (1942) with a lovely butter-yellow cover with a sun(?) motif on it (for a mere 50p), which, among the usual suspects, includes some more unusual poets in it (Rosenberg, Sorley, Monro?), though only two women, Laura Riding and the amazing H.D. Looking at the list of other titles in the series, I realise I may have another and trawling the shelves find The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, though the cover is not as cheery as the Modern Verse one.
And (yet more verse) an old green-and-white Penguin of The Song of Roland (£1) with, oddly, the former owner's name, E Davies, written at the top of the front cover (maybe he/she had had trouble with losing books). I probably won't be rushing to read this any time soon, but it looks so nice and has a copy of a roundel from Chartres cathedral showing Roland blowing the Olifant (?) and trampling 'dismembered Saracens' on the cover. God's hand is sticking down from heaven to accept Roland's 'token'.
Finally, a selection of Kilvert's Diary (£1.50) for which I have Susan Hill's warm recommendation in the celebrated Howard's End is on the Landing to thank. (I also considered an old hardback Enid Blyton, rather tatty and jacketless - one of the more expensive items at an outrageous £5 - presumably because these are now once again Fashionable, but decided against.)
I also borrowed more from my mother's shelves; The Hill of Devi, E.M. Forster's letters home from India (which links in to my reading of Virginia Woolf's diaries who mentions 'Morgan's' trip to/return from India') and to satisfy my diary longings: Nella Last's War diaries (as brought to the TV by Victoria Wood) and her post-war diaries.
And, absolutely finally, as I keep recommending it, I reborrowed The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield to dip into. Having recently been to a similar parents' social evening/PTA recruitment event, I find a chord being struck with this:
I sit with several other mothers and we talk about our boys in tones of disparagement, and about one another's boys with great enthusiasm.
Am asked what I think of Harriet Hume but am unable to say, as I have not read it. Have a depressed feeling that this is going to be another case of Orlando about which was perfectly able to talk most intelligently until I read it, and found myself unfortunately unable to understand any of it.
And so back to Virginia ...