On Holiday In A Bookshop Part 4: The Cinema Bookshop

I think I’ve already mentioned ConstructoBoy’s obsession with¬†Zeppelins. All through the holidays, and our many outings and pop-ins to bookshops (believe me, I’ve not mentioned them all in my posts), he had been searching in vain for a book about Zeppelins. Just Zeppelins. Not a book that had a random picture of the Hindenburg, or a book about balloons that mentioned Zeppelins in passing. No. He wanted a book just about Zepplelins, with all there was to know about Zeppelins, including lots of pictures of different Zeppelins. Blimps. Airships. Whatever ūüôā

The Hindenburg

You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find. Several bookshops we went to had decent selections of books about fighter planes, bombers, seaplanes… you know, all the glamorous, heroic aircraft that it’s trendy to be interested in. But no books about Zeppelins. He was close to¬†despair by the day we went to Hay-On-Wye.

Now I could spend all day in Hay-on-Wye. Possibly all week. And if you don’t know why – where have you been??! Hay-on-Wye is the bookshop capital of the UK.¬†But I didn’t have all day or even an hour – because Hay-on-Wye, like many other tourist areas in the UK, does itself no favours.

We had gone to Tintern Abbey that day and the trip there -and back – had taken a lot longer than we expected. Every tractor in Shropshire and Herefordshire seemed determined to get in our way. Caught in a traffic jam, it was 4.35 pm by the time we hit the streets of Hay-on-Wye, on a gorgeous summer afternoon.

And most of it was already shut.

Every cafe we saw was either closed or on the point of closing. We walked past so many closed bookshops, to begin with, that I nearly suggested we turned¬†round¬†and headed back to the car park. People were drifting home in their droves – because there was nothing left to do. Come on, Hay! People still want to buy books at 4.45pm, it’s not that radical! And after an afternoon of book-hunting, what about some tea or a meal? Where are your tearooms, cafes, restaurants for the person who wants to eat at that outlandish time of 5pm? Or even, perish the thought, 5.30?

However! We did find a few shops that deigned to open for something-approaching-standard trading hours. The queen of them all, though, has to be the Hay Cinema bookshop. I admit that as I came up the road and saw the sign, I thought – ‘ah – a bookshop that stocks books about the cinema’ followed by ‘and that’s a shame, because it’s open until 7pm. 7!!!!’

But as I got a good look at it, I saw it was a perfectly normal bookshop, except for 1)it’s huge 2) it lives in a building that used to be a cinema. (I know. Who’d have guessed?). And once inside, the internal architecture that’s been preserved makes the¬†building’s history very obvious, enhancing your book¬†browsing¬†experience no end. Plus this marvellous place is open, to quote their website : ‘every day of the year, except Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. Monday – Saturday 9.00am – 7.00pm, Sundays 11.30am – 5.30pm’.

Not only that – the lady at the counter was very helpful and superbly knowledgeable about the books they had, even though there must have been thousands and thousands and… you get the idea. She assured ConstructoBoy that they definitely had books about just Zeppelins, please,¬†and his expression swung continually from dubious pessimism to fragile hope and back again as he trotted upstairs and ‘nearly to the back’. She signposted ArtyDaughter to two places that would house graphic novels and manga.

And bless the woman, she was on the nail. They had around eight books just on Zeppelins. They had more than one copy of three of them!! A few were quite expensive, but luckily the one that could have been written for ConstructoBoy Рit fitted his requirements so perfectly- was £3. It was a moment of pure happiness. Which we shared in Рuntil he tried to download all the information he learnt from it directly into our brains by Continuous Verbal Input at every available moment thereafter.

ArtyDaughter was happy too as she found graphic novels to satisfy her exacting it-has-to-be-the-right-style-of-manga-and-not-just-a-sloppy-love-story specifications. Both offspring failry Bounced back to the counter, and there was Much Thanking of the Lady and Much Gushing about the Wonderfulness of Ye Bookshoppe.

So well done, Hay Cinema Bookshop. We award you the Runham Award for Really Ripping Bookshops. 10 out of 10.

If you go to Hay-on-Wye, go there! You’ll find it in castle Street.

“Welcome to the world famous Hay Cinema Bookshop for the best in secondhand, remainder and bargain books.¬†If you like a lot of books for your money, then come and see us and browse in what must be the world’s largest open-air bookshop situated in the garden in front of Hay Cinema”

D is for Daughter

I thought today was the perfect day to blog about my daughter, although she doth protest ūüėČ

I refer to her as Arty Daughter because she is…arty. She is a very talented artist who doesn’t have enough faith in her own ability. Her DeviantArt account is here (on DA she is TheDarkfellProject) and although she has protested that she’s ‘only uploaded one piece of her art to her online gallery and it’s nowhere near her best work’ (exhibit A, below) –¬†I’m still posting the link because she is someone to keep an eye on (particularly if manga and graphic novels are your thing), and also because She Is My Daughter & Very Talented.

We often talk about what inspires us, and even though superficially art and writing seem very different mediums, it’s surprising how often we have similar problems, ideas or sources of inspiration.

She also deserves a pat on the back for listing me on her DeviantArt profile as her favourite writer ūüôā Cinders, you shall¬† go to the ball.

The London MCM Expo

So here’s a post that’s sat in my drafts for nearly a month, waiting for me to fiddle with photos etc.
But there was too much for one post anyway, so here is the first instalment of my witterings about the London MCM Expo (MCM = Movie Comic Media).

Those of you who used to grace my Writeous Indignation blog may recall I went to the May Expo, and missed seeing the cast of Stargate Universe due to a late train and no timetable for the shows (gnashes teeth at memory). Techie Husband and I go for the sci-fi and movies, Arty Daughter goes there for the – er, art. And Constructo Boy goes along for anything related to Dr.Who and Star Wars.

Arty Daughter brought along her best friend this time (we’ll call her K the Cat – you’ll see why in a mo), because she has infected her with the Manga Madness too. Poor girl. They had a fantastic time and dressed up, because this is The Thing To Do. K was…a cat, kind of, and Arty Daughter went along dressed as Misa from Deathnote.

For comparison, I give you: Misa

Below: Arty Daughter and K the Cat – a but fuzzy I’m afraid (blame TH, he took the photo!), and Arty Daughter isn’t smiling – not because she is going for the moody look, but because this is just before we left, and her black lipstick had wandered on to her teeth by that time…

Arty Daughter (right) and K the Cat.
Arty Daughter (right) as Misa, and K the Cat.
And yes, K the Cat did have a tail, which attracted strange looks at Stevenage train station ūüôā
This time we made sure we were there early, so TH and I caught the interviews we wanted to. Haven, Eureka, Warehouse 13…more on them soon.

Morris Dancers & Free School Meals

Well if you were searching the horizon, hoping to see steam from the boiling cauldron of creativity rise above the roof of the Runham household, then I’m afraid you were disappointed – unless it arose from the manga drawings Arty Daughter continues to plaster the house with, or Constructo Boy’s attempts to be comical when he wrote his spelling sentences homework this week. How he delights in taking the words and turning them into sentences that convince his teachers (whom I have to work with, mind!) that I’m bonkers and our family life is positively freakish… so much damage done in so few words.

In between helping ArtyD prepare for her English GCSE assessment and being madly busy with work (of the Proper Job variety), all the ‘free time’ (ha ha) that I’d earmarked for writing dissolved. I did get some of my coursework for A363 done at the weekend, but that’s about it. I’m hoping the next few days will be better, and holding out for Thursday – we adore Thee, Thursday, for Thou Art the Day without any Proper Jobs. At least the pesky tax return has Left The Building. Phew.

Meanwhile I’ve been gathering data on area stats for free school meal eligibility for a friend, and pondering how to put disappearing Morris Dancers (found here on Julie P’s blog!) and an exploding bass trombone (from a Darwin awards article I read!) into a story. Not necessarily together, you understand – there’s a limit to how much hilarity a reader can take… ūüėČ

I’ve tried to sub to a couple of blogspot blogs today (including Julie P’s Article Antics), but found the ‘ol ‘IE cannot display…’ error. This is making me feel a trifle miffed¬†and Needs Further Investigation.

Right. I must abandon the laptops, chase Constructo Boy to bed, and go back to making Arty D’s costume for the London MCM Expo (of which, more later!).