A Few Hours in Truro ….

….and an explanation of why I’ve been quite elusive lately.

The Man of the House has been having certain medical tests lately, culminating with a procedure that would give us the clearest possible picture of what was going on. I took him to the Duchy Hospital in Truro, where he was whisked away by a pair of lovely nurses who told me that I could come back to fetch him in four hours. I didn’t want to drive all the way home and then all the way back again, and I didn’t want to be too far away, and so I drove down into Truro in the hope that I could distract myself by browsing in bookshops that I only visit a few times a year.

The Truro Heart Foundation Charity Shop has been a happy hunting ground for both of us in the past, and I did well there again.

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I found two well cared for Oxford World’s Classics volumes, holding three stories by Anthony Trollope that I didn’t have on my shelves. I’ve read mixed reports about these works, but I’m very curious to read a story set overseas, to try to understand why such a recognised author published two of these stories anonymously, and to spend more time in Trollope’s Ireland.

There was more Trollope in the next shop I visited – the lovely Pydar Mews Books – and they were lovely paperback New English Library copies but I left them where they were. There were some of the Palliser books and some of the Barsetshire books, but there wasn’t a complete set of either, and so I left them for someone else to find.

I did pick up a recent copy of ‘Fly Past’ magazine for the Man of the House from the bargain bin.

Then I spotted a lovely little copy of ‘Old Goriot’ from a Penguin series I hadn’t come across before; the back cover told me that it was #17 in a new series of translations and though the titles of the other books in the series were all terrible familiar I was pleased to think that someone had thought to put the series together more that half a century ago.

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I found a copy of ‘Time and the Hour’ too – a Howard Spring title that was missing from my collection. It’s a Fontana Monarch, and sadly lacking in the striking cover art that adorns many Fontana paperbacks. Maybe Fontana Monarchs were supposed to be more serious than standard Fontana paperbacks, but I really don’t know. I don’t know anything at all about this particular series.

My next stop was Truro Cathedral.

Then I went to the Oxfam Shop.

‘The Blind Man’s House’ was a late book by Hugh Walpole that I had never heard of. I’ve had mixed results with his work in the past, but it was such a lovely edition – published in the early years of WWII, before paper rationing began – and I see potential in the story.

“Julius Cromwell, blinded in the last war, brings his young wife Celia to their new home in an ancient house in the Glebshire village of Garth in Roselands. Julius’s blindness has opened to him a mysterious inner world, but the farther he goes into it the more deeply he is removed from those he loves ….”

It could go either way, and I may have to read a couple of earlier works first as there are characters who reappear.

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I brought home a copy of ‘The Last Light of the Sun’ by Guy Gavriel Kay too, because I remembered that Claire speaks so very well of him.

My book shop tour finished at Waterstones. Once upon a time if I hadn’t been to Waterstones for months I would have spent a fortune, but things have changed. Some of that is me. I’m much more focused in my book shopping than I used to be. But I think the some of it was Waterstones – or maybe commercial reality  and I was disappointed that there were very few books from interesting small presses, and that many of the themed selections were very mainstream.

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I did find a copy of ‘The Lost Europeans’ by Emanuel Litvinoff, which Simon tweeted about very positively a few days ago, though none of the other books from the same publisher series were on the shelves. Not even ‘My Son, My Son’ by Howard Spring who used to live just a few miles down the road.

The copy of ‘The Bronte Cabinet’ by Deborah Lutz replaces a library copy that I really didn’t want to give back.

Most importantly of all though, it was in Waterstones, as I was considering what book he would like best, that a text message arrived from the Man of the House. It said that his test result had been as good as they could be, and that all that lay ahead was reviewing the medication for the condition we knew he had. Something that lots of people live with.

I have no words to tell you how relieved and how happy I was.

I bought the book I had in my hand – ‘Queen in Cornwall’ – and he was delighted with it. I hadn’t known that one of his  friends still talks about working at the Winter Gardens when they played there.

It feels as if we have a new start in life, and maybe a new direction.

Reading – and writing about books – will be back on track very soon.

But real life will always come first.

25 thoughts on “A Few Hours in Truro ….

  1. Wonderful. Here’s a poem:
    Relief
    by Kay Ryan

    We know it is close
    to something lofty.
    Simply getting over being sick
    or finding lost property
    has in it the leap,
    the purge, the quick humility
    of witnessing a birth—
    how love seeps up
    and retakes the earth.
    There is a dreamy
    wading feeling to your walk
    inside the current
    of restored riches,
    clocks set back,
    disasters averted.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so happy you got good news about TMOTH Jane! I have that very same edition of ‘Old Goriot’ – it’s marvellous. Hope you enjoy it!

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  3. So happy to hear the news was good, Jane! I read quickly through this hoping it was – now I’ll go back & read more about the books!

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  4. I’m glad to hear your husband is well. I’m reading My Son, My Son by Howard Spring in the Apollo reprint at the moment and enjoying it very much. He was a new discovery for me. Can you recommend any of his other work?

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  5. I’m so pleased you had good news! And what a great selection of books you found. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Guy Gavriel Kay – I have read three of his books, including The Last Light of the Sun, and loved them all.

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  6. I was drawn to this post by the reference to Truro because I have a small, faint childhood recollection of being there along with my only memory of a kindly uncle I never met again. He took me there by bus from St Agnes because my mother wasn’t well and couldn’t take me for an eye examination.
    But I found myself reading something else and was moved by the way you shared the day with us. I am so glad your news was not what you feared…

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  7. I enjoy your blog very much. Since falling in love with the Poldark novels, I’ve wanted to read more and more of Cornwall, have been there once briefly and am going in later August to stay in a cottage with a friend. So I enjoy your descriptions of the place and also too your talk about books and other blogs. I am glad to your husband is all right and all looks well. I know what this feels like since my husband died of cancer something more than 2 and one half years ago. We too had these tests, the wait, but then our news was not good.

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  8. I’m so glad to hear that all is well and that you had lovely bookshops to distract you while you waited for the result. I want to read the Bronte Cabinet – it looks so interesting.

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