The Cross Keys Bookshop in Salisbury never ceases to amaze me. It hasn't failed me yet. I find books on the shelves of this orgasmic shop that I didn't even know had been published - new Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious titles that I hope and pray may reach my Christmas stocking. I came away with A Shepherd's Life by WH Hudson (originally published in 1910) - I am ashamed to say I have never read Hudson, he is now firmly in my reading pile. I know of him through the writings of "BB" and that is as far as it ever got with me. I do have an interest in shepherds though - the Gabriel Oak and Barclay Wills sort and this was my reason for purchasing this lovely Little Toller edition.
The other book I have read and will do so again. I originally came across Kenneth Allsop when I first read In The Country back in the 1980's when bunking off from college studies. I found a 1970's edition and I couldn't put it down - it's strange looking back now as I sit only a couple of miles away from his Mill at West Milton, West Dorset that our paths would cross in some sort of way. Such an interesting chap (known to millions in the 1960's through the Tonight programme on the BBC which was the first early evening news programme).
I have him to thank, for if it were not for him I wouldn't spend so much time enjoying the delights of Powerstock Common with my children. He fought bitterly with the Forestry Commission to stop them clear-felling Powerstock Common (now a most lovely Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserve) which follows the old Bridport to Maiden Newton railway line and it is now enjoyed by many thanks to him.
I came across the new edition quite by chance in Bridports delightful bookshop (one of the top 50 bookshops in the UK - The Guardian and The Independent). I also found out that the recently cancelled Kenneth Allsop memorial talk, as part of the Bridport Literary Festival, will take place in the new year with Ronald Blythe. Certainly something to look forward to in the dull days of new year!
Look after your local bookshops, support them and love them. Support the Indie Bound Get Local campaign and keep books on the high street - keep money in the local economy, embrace what makes them unique, help the environment, create more choice, benefit from their expertise, make them a destination and importantly keep the high street healthy!