Finding books in Bakewell

My early childhood memories of Bakewell in Derbyshire are being taken there by my grandparents to feed the ducks and swans. The River Wye runs through the market town. Feeding the waterfowl is no longer allowed as bread is not nutritious for birds and can also cause problems including algal blooms in the water. There were still plenty of birds on the river in the town centre when we arrived : mallard, mute swans, coots and moorhens and a few Canada Geese.

We were in the town to attend a provincial book fair. These take place at different locations around the country and are particularly good for unusual and antiquarian books. Most can also be found online but they are also an excuse for a day out. The fair was taking place in the agricultural market building just across the river from the town centre. This is modern and clearly a well-used venue. Our local agricultural market recently closed and a housing estate is to be built on the land. We arrived a little early while it was still cool and the market cafe had not yet opened so wandered across the bridge and into town. The bridge padlock craze which begun in Paris has reached Bakewell. You can buy a padlock and have it engraved at the nearby key cutting and shoe repair shop. Several city authorities around the world have removed the locks as the additional weight became dangerous or they were deemed unsuitable.

The town has a few independent shops amongst the high street and outdoor chains and also the original Bakewell Pudding shop and tea room. We picked up a few essential items and then returned to the fair where I added three volumes to a collection and enjoyed browsing and chatting to the booksellers. We also discovered another antique map seller who is not very far away from home. When we emerged, the town was getting very busy and Morris Dancers were getting ready to perform. The sun had at last come out. Driving back over the moorlands was also busy as there were lots of cyclists on the road and walkers parked up near the local trails. The campsites were open and very busy. 50% of the population of England live within 50 miles of the Peak District so if you want peace and quiet, don’t come on bank holiday weekend. We did find one empty space in a lay by so that I could get a couple of shots of the landscape.

Finding Books in the Fog

The northwest was shrouded in fog this morning as we left to drive to York. We were visiting the largest one-day book fair in the UK which attracts sellers from all over the country and having a break from jobs around the house and garden. The focus is on rare and unusual books and also some maps, prints and ephemera. The fog persisted until we were over Saddleworth Moor and the highest point of the English motorway system. As we descended into the Vale of York we could at least see where we were going. This journey across the Pennines and into Yorkshire used to be a regular one around 20 years ago as my parents lived in North Yorkshire for a few years but it was some time since I had crossed the country on this route. Just as on our local portion of the M6, they are also upgrading part of the M62 to a smart motorway so there are several miles of road works north of Manchester. We found the York Racecourse without too much difficulty. I have never been to see horse racing or bet on a horse race but this time last year I had to give a lecture at Aintree Racecourse and here I am this January at another one.
Aintree racecourse (1 of 1)
Some familiar booksellers were there e.g. the Old Town Bookshop in Edinburgh and others I had not visited so far. Some, including one who used to be in Heswall but has now moved to North Wales now mainly sell via the internet and book fairs. I found a few volumes for one of my collections and enjoyed browsing and chatting to some of the sellers. The journey home was largely uneventful other than passing a Rowntrees Fruit Gum tanker. Presumably it was full of sugar syrup but I have not seen one of them before. Now it is time to rearrange the book shelves to accommodate the new purchases. I do have a large box in the study where books I am not going to read again are deposited for the next decluttering trip to Oxfam.