Friday, 23 February 2018

planet zug (23/Feb/18)

I’ve been learning more about my old new book, the one I bought the other day at a charity stall in a DIY shop… I mentioned it in yesterday’s blog, it’s ‘The Penguin Encyclopedia of Places’, which for me itself is an unstated title for a huge book… not huge in size although it’s quite thick, just huge in subject and yet so simply titled as ‘Places’, sort of vague and yet to the point, kind of… anyway…
… it has a great smell, it smells of book, it’s very ever-so slightly yellowed pages fading to lighter the further away from the edge of the pages where sunlight didn’t penetrate, but after all these years still smells of book, luckily its previous owner whose name as I said is actually written inside the cover in biro didn’t spill anything on it and am guessing wasn’t a smoker which would forever have tainted it with a sickly, stale nicotine…
… I discovered to the best I can it was never published in hardback so my paperback is indeed a very first edition from 1971… since then it appears to have had a mere three further editions only, as far as I can glean til now… this 1971 first edition then as far as I can tell a second edition soon after later that same year by the same editor W.G. Moore, then in 1978 a further edition, the third, was published with the same editor and cover… it wasn’t until 1999 did a fourth and final edition appear, this time with a different editor John Paxton, this version was the first published in the USA in 2000 as previous editions didn’t even have US dollar cover price on them…… and since then, like I said nothing, it hasn’t been republished since and I know the edition I have is no longer in print though I think the Paxton might be……
… and talking of cover price, originally my copy would have costed, as shown on the back as £1.00 or 20/_ in both decimal and pre-decimal currency as it was at the time the very year the UK undertook decimalisation, actually February 1971…
… finally, I discovered there is actually a place called Zug, which to me sounds like a made up name for a planet in some badly-written sci-fi novel but no, it’s a canton and city in Switzerland… no offence to anyone living in Zug of course for not having heard of you before, there’s even a lake!... Lake Zug… excellent!

© 2018 robert greig

Thursday, 22 February 2018

buried treasure (22/Feb/18)

getting old
so old
as old as the hills… not quite
as old as the trees…. not quite
old enough and older than  was when I started writing this page… so age is relative after all……
I can’t resist a book stall, book shop, book shelf, book pile and there was one by the check-outs in my local DIY store… a rickety table (yes, in a DIY store) with an honesty bucket unassumingly saying which charity these ever-so-not-expensive second-hand books where being sold in aid of, 50p for paperbacks, £1 for hardbacks… like I say, I couldn’t resist a peek, you never know… and I came away with a book I’ve never heard of “The Penguin Encyclopedia of Place Names”, paperback, 50p, bargain!... y the way I didn’t misspell the word encyclopaedia, that’s how the book spells it… not only can I not resist books, rooms full of books, tables spilling over with books as this was, yes the rickety one, yes, still in a DIY store, I can’t resist reference books… they are stories in themselves not to mention back to the covers with adventure after adventure…… I’d never heard of this reference book before, probably because it hasn’t been published for donkeys years, this edition being 1971 as it happened… where was I in ’71?... I wasn’t even in this country… second-hand books also have a habit of holding other treasures, other secrets, like when they’re annotated as this one was in particular with at one least one or maybe it’s only ever owner… not just their name but their full address of here I can only assume they lived in at least the early seventies if not actually 1971 and perhaps bought new at the time…… names  scribbled in the front of books I’ve often seen but a whole address, that’s unusual… they lived in Birmingham (England, that is), Kings Norton as it happens, even have their postcode along with their initial and full surname…. it’s possibly where they bought it, or at least Birmingham itself, it hasn’t travelled far, just to the north west corner of Wales but is also has travelled, through time, still here… how many e-books will be able to boast or make that kind of claim in 47 years times…… it’s a veritable gem, and when it fell open in my hands after picking it off the rickety table, yes, in the DIY store, it fell open to a place not a few miles from where I live… spooky!......
I remember the seventies, even though I was there, a statement which may not make sense to some but to others will… this book was also there in the seventies, in fact born just then, in fact it’s a first edition, more icing on the pulp cake, first edition paperback that is but still, I’m impressed… I paid my 50p (bargain!) and hoped the rickety table felt slightly less burdened by one less book quaking its spindly legs, yes, in a DIY store.

© 2018 robert greig

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

sublimely rhyming time (21/Feb/18)

I was writing a blog
that was taking too long
so instead decided on this
something much shorter
as well I should oughta
to be less than longer
to write and less longer
to read as I’m sure
you’ll agree and prefer
to a long drawn treatise affair of a blog that drones on and then on and then on and then on about this and then that about all of the things that you care not a jot and don’t have the time to include in your day as your day is too busy and full with your own this and that’s without any more to squeeze into the mix and get mixed-up and muddied among the melee of a the mess of a day that you may have to face as it is…… so…… on taking a breath I decided the best course of action was nonsense  and not sense as something that’s easy to rest on the eye, not taxing the mind, not taking too much of your valuable time so then I thought maybe, just maybe perhaps maybe this might just do, something I think might be somewhat some prose about nothing too deep and nothing too shallow, nothing to drown in but nothing to wallow, something you take or you leave at a whim, or the door, or as easily dropped in a bin but you must keep in mind
there may be some rhyme
in this reasoning
less than sublime
I hope you will find
it creasing a smile
raising your cheeks to your eyes
and if not I surely apologise
for taking too much of your time
now go and get on with your day as clearly I’ve nothing of import to say.

© 2018 robert greig