Robin collects old Biggles books (by W E Johns) which were first published in the 1930's. Some are quite rare. One of his to-do things when we went to UK was to look for (and buy) more books. We found lots of secondhand bookshops on our travels but one of the best places we visited was Hay-on-Wye. It's on the border between Wales and England, and although it's only small, it has approx. 30 book shops.
Robin was in book heaven! He managed to find a few Biggles books there but it just increased his appetite for more. As for me, I really enjoyed walking around the little town with its narrow streets and interesting shops.
On the hunt for more books, we also visited Wigtown which is Scotland's National Book Town. It's not as big as Hay-on-Wye but still some more Biggles books were found.
While wandering around the town, I found my own books. What Katy Did and What Katy Did at School. I couldn't resist buying them because I have such fond memories of reading them when I was a child. But my best find was the red book - it's an embroidery manual published in 1948. It has instructions on how to do all sorts of embroidery stitches as well as project designs. There are clear diagrams and I'm planning to try some of the designs suggested. But, I'm not going to do any embroidery on our bed linen (apparently that was what people did in 1948).
In one of the bookshops I visited, I found a brochure which gave some information about Wigtown's history. I discovered that it is so much more than a 'book' town and was the scene of five executions in 1685 known as the Wigtown Martyrs. The 3 men and 2 women refused to call the king the head of the church and refused to become Episcopalians. They believed that Jesus Christ is head of the church and they were called Covenanters.
The men were hanged but the women had a worse fate. They were tied to a stake in the mouth of the Blednoch River and as the tide came in, the waters rose and they drowned. A monument has been erected at the place where the drownings occurred.
This story had such an impact on me. Not only because I thought it was an absolutely horrible way to die but because it challenged me to think about my own faith and what I would be willing to do for it.
I also discovered the town's motto: 'Let Wigtown flourish by the preaching of thy word, through Christ Jesus who is our only head.'
Until next time