27 December 2013
We took Jamie out to St. Andrew’s today to find a leather bag at a place called “Scaramanga’s”, which makes bags out of reclaimed leather from old jackets and clothes. There were some incredible bags and old wooden trunks, boxes, and some beautiful wooden print stamps from India. I bought one, but when I got home and tried to use it as a stamp, it didn’t quite work, so now it’s just a beautiful decoration.
It was a pretty rainy day, so we just went shop-hopping, ducking in and out of charity shops. Jamie and Andrew hunted for clothes, but I know the real gem of St. Andrews: books. There are amazing books in every charity shop, reduced down to £1 or £2, and they’ve all been donated by students from the university. Because it’s a small town with a big university, it means the concentration of interesting books is very high. I also stopped by my favorite stationary store, but only left with a pen and a few new post-it flags (the plastic ones, not the paper ones. I like the plastic ones while I’m reading to save the place of good quotes). I didn’t take any notebooks home because I’m still working my way through the ones I bought last year. St. Andrew’s is also the site of the StAnza poetry festival in March each year. I usually go for at least a few days, but this year I won’t be able to go at all — because I’ve been offered a volunteer position in Iona for eight and a half weeks. I haven’t had a chance to tell you yet. I’ll be there from the 5th of March until the 8th of May. I can’t wait to write to you every day and show you the world up there. I can’t decide whether to make a tag for “Iona” or to keep posting in “Up North” =).
I can’t finish this letter without telling you all of the books I adopted and brought home from St. Andrews:
- Persuasion by Jane Austen (green hardback edition from Reader’s Digest)
- Essays in Love by Alan de Botton (which I have read before, and is really for sfp, but I will make notes in it and send it to her.)
- Red Earth & Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra
- Dear Writer Dear Actress: the Letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper
- Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
An accomplishment. I came home so happy. I could barely move from hauling these books around, and then running for the train, and then getting myself through all the rain, but the boys went and explored Edinburgh Castle in the afternoon, and then we all went out for Thai food =).