Saturday, August 29

Flea Market Saturday: A Quirky Old Favorite UPDATED

In a long ago post, I told you about a decidedly quirky bookshop located next to a millpond in Cromford, Derbyshire, called Scarthin Books, which claimed to be "Britain's most enjoyable Bookshop".

Also, that besides new and used books for all ages, it offered rare and antique tomes, and that its Cafe Philosophique offered food for the mind as well as the body. After exploring the site, I heartily agreed!

Well, it's still most decidedly quirky, it's still next to a millpond in Cromford, and it still offers new and used books for all ages as well as rare and antique books. Plus, its Cafe Philosophique still offers food for the mind as well as the body, and it can still claim to be "Britain's most enjoyable Bookshop".

But you no longer have to take my word for it. See for yourself in this delighful video,
which I'm combing for storage tips since I can't seem to stop acquiring "must have"
books for my own library. But can any true book lover say that's a "bad" thing?


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Monday, September 17

Monday Mishmash: Wry-on-Wye

(Hope you won't mind me recycling this post from 2009.
I discovered some of the links no longer worked, so
after updating them, I tweaked a few things, too.)

Although Cranbourne Books & Stamps looks like
it's at the seashore, this travel bookshop is actually by
the clocktower in land-locked Hay-on-Wye (below).
(Photo from

Inhabitants of the British Isles have long been known for their
eccentric ways, a wry sense of humor, and a love of books.
It should come as no surprise then that this picturesque
Welsh village just over the border from Herefordshire
is not only the book capitol of the world,
but the home of a yarn bomber.
(More about her later!)

Before 1960, Hay-on-Wye's main claim to fame was its nearness to Clyro and Baskerville Hall, which inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's masterpiece, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Despite Conan Doyle placing his real-life friends' home in Devonshire instead of Wales, Sherlock Holmes fans (naturally) had no problem discovering its true location.

Then Oxford graduate Richard Booth opened a bookshop and set out to turn Hay, his new home on the River Wye, into the Book Capitol of the World. As far as bibliophiles are concerned, he has succeeded admirably.

Today, Hay-on-Wye has around 40 bookshops, meaning this tiny village has more bookshops per capita than any other town or city in the world. The main fare is second-hand books, but a surprising number of first editions in mint condition are also on offer. And Hay's inhabitants and visitors never worry about running out of reading material because some shops remain open 24/7.  Book addict heaven!

According to John aka Silversprite in Hay-on-Wye: Beyond the Long Tail
"Useful though is, where it fails, Hay-on-Wye fills the gap.
Obscure book? Book published in 1933 that Amazon says is “Unavailable”?
They’re probably sitting on a shelf in Hay-on-Wye. Somewhere.
And here’s the thing – there’s no instant look-up online of where that
book is on the shelf. You have to go hunt, and that is part of the fun
(Hunting also means a busy post office, patronized by non-locals shipping
to themselves and friends the other books they couldn't resist buying
while searching for the one that might be in the stacks!)

Naturally there are niche shops.

Cranbourne Books & Stamps, of course, specializes in books relating to travel.

But as a fan of mysteries and detective novels, Yours Truly would make a beeline for Murder & Mayhem at 5 Lion St., especially after seeing David Ian Wilson's photo at left.

To see the ghost on the shop's door, click on the photo, but be forewarned there are more of David's wonderful shots of Hay-on-Wye at Panoramio (and a nice map, too.)

Book lovers arrive in droves the year round, but for two weeks each year at the end of May, Hay's usual population of 1900 swells to around 80,000 when the area becomes the scene of The Guardian's Literary Festival.

Oh, right...

The yarn bomber.

She lives in Hay-on-Wye and secretly "bombs" the town with crocheted flowers and other items like yarn leaves that nearly match the color of a tree trunk. Those she hangs low so they'll be less visible to adults but not to children, who she says 'are more aware of the things around them'.

Her blog, Yarn Bombing Hay-on-Wye, is a warm and fuzzy look at Hay-on-Wye that you won't find in tourism brochures.

Think local beautification project.

Spreading smiles and goodwill.

Nothing "eccentric" about that.

You might also find these links about Hay-on-Wye of interest:

~ Totally Booked Out (2006)

~ Baskerville Hall Hotel in Clyro Court

~ Murder and Mayhem Bookshop by Mandrake

~ Australian Carol Middleton's visit to Hay-on-Wye (2008)

~ Hay-on-Wye: Beyond the Long Tail by John aka Silversprite

Have a great week!

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Monday, May 7

Carson Vorhes CONN: A Cold Case Solved

Ever since I can remember, I've loved puzzles.
More accurately, the thrill and satisfaction
that comes from solving them.

Jigsaw and crossword puzzles?
The bigger the better.

Tangled necklace chains?
Piece of cake.

No surprise then I would apply the same
passion to locating long-dead relatives.

Genealogy (or the less-scholarly sounding "family history") is like cocaine. One is either addicted to it or has absolutely no interest in it. Like being pregnant. You either are or you aren't. No sorta, kinda, or maybe.

At a social gathering, it's easy to determine who is and who isn't a genie simply by dropping the word "ancestors" into a conversation and noting whose eyes glaze over and whose light up.

The non-afflicted will suddenly announce there's someone across the room they "absolutely must say hello to" and make a hasty retreat. Genies, on the other hand, will move closer.

You see, unlike with coke or alcohol, there's no such thing as an ex-genie addict or a recovering genie-holic. And definitely no 12-step Genealogy Anonymous! Might as well hand the key to the wine cellar to a bunch of winos...

Even without laptops, notebooks, purses, or writing instruments of any kind, it's a given that ten minutes into a GA meeting (if they existed), each person present would know how they or a friend or a neighbor was even remotely related to every other person in the room. Genies were experts at Kevin Bacon's "six degrees of separation" long before he was a sparkle in his father's eye.

Genies and cold case detectives have much in common when it comes to finding elusive ancestors. Both are starting with facts and impressions recorded by others. The only difference is a cold case may only be decades old, whereas an ancestor may've died a hundred or more years ago. But both have much in common when Fate or diligent legwork finally delivers the piece of the puzzle that solves an "unsolvable" case.

And so it was, after 20-some years of fruitless and frustrating searching for "Vorhes" CONN, youngest child of my 2nd great-grandparents Hezekiah and Lucinda (KENNARD) Conn, I finally learned Vorhes was his middle name.

His first name was Carson!
Snoopy DanceGranny Dance

Once I had this key piece of information, everything else fell into place.

In 1898 Carson married (as his second wife) "Carrie S." and that year or the next they had a child, gender unknown. Sadly, the child had died before the 1900 census, and they had no other children.

Carrie, born in Indiana in Aug 1867, died somewhere in Montana on 22 Sep 1918. In 1930, "Vorhes" owned and operated a berry farm in Bass Brook Twp, Itasca Co, Minnesota, but died in Carlton Co, MN on 17 Sep 1942.

Have a great day!
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Thursday, May 3

Thursday Drive: the Flint Hills of Kansas

There's a lot more in "them thar [Flint] Hills"
than Interstate 70 or the Kansas Turnpike!
Have a great day!
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