Thursday, 13 May 2010


Happiness is being let loose for an hour or two in a second-hand bookshop, with nothing but a determination to find something groovy.

Happiness is doubled if the bookshop in question comes with bonus ladders for customers to continue searching by the rafters for the book of their dreams.

Happiness is finding a Graham Oakley book that is affordable, a Daphne du Maurier with an interesting cover (it will be the subject of a book worm review one of these days when I get my act together!), a 'photo-mag' of The Beatles filming 'A Hard Day's Night', and a 1959 edition of children's book The Borrowers Afloat.

Happiness is my cat Ginger, a beautiful boy with soft fur who likes his creature comforts as much as he likes his dinner. He is very sure of himself in the world as long as he gets regular cuddles. He has the loudest purr in London. His nickname is Mr Big Paws (AKA the Ginger Whinger).

Happiness is my cat Abigail, a beautiful girl with an inquisitive nature (see her staring past me at the window) and the gentlest paws. She goes into raptures of delight at being the highest in a room, preferably balanced around my neck. Abi is my little shadow, and where-ever I am in the house she loudly brings me her favourite toy, a long snaky piece of fluff we call The Wiggly. Her nickname is the Naughty Tortie.

Happiness is exploring somewhere new, preferably somwhere with a classic plane/car show. I will examine every car, nodding knowledgebly but if coaxed into conversation will reveal that I know nothing about cars, and my only scale for car liking is whether it will suit a wicker picnic basket. Deciding which classic car best suits a picnic basket is something that I will happily ponder for hours. I also rather like pointing my camera in the sky at these things, as you can see.

The reason for the watermark is I am debating doing something 'proper' with my favourite photography - more than likely some sort of mixed media collage thing as a bit of an Arty creative diversion when the book is done. Gosh - when the book is done! Oh fateful day!


Wendy Morrell said...

I couldn't agree with you more regarding secondhand book-shops. I love them! The older and dustier the books, the better :)

PS. You have gorgeous cats!

Kittie Howard said...

It's a dreary rainy day here in Virginia. Your post made me wish I could go to a bookstore and get lost in dusty yellow pages with that unique scent that warms the soul. And I'm in looove with your kitties. Such beauties, meow to them! (Yep, I'm a cat person!)

Aubrie said...

I'm going to an airshow this summer. Your post just made me all that more excited about it!

Your cat is beautiful :) Pets do make people very happy.

The second hand book shop near me closed. :( Oh well.

Joanne said...

Wow, a whole latte happiness going on over here :)

I have a favorite secondhand bookstore, where there's always something like Norah Jones playing on the stereo system, and cats lounge on the occasional shelf. I could spend hours there, often!

Old Kitty said...

Awww what loveliness to be happy about!!!

Well done you for a successful book hunt in that fab bookshop! And Ginger Whinger and Naughty Tortie are just adorable with gorgeous faces!!

And good luck with your collages! Great aerial action shots!!

Take care

Crystal Cook said...

I love second hand book stores. They are the best :) And your pictures make me miss my kitty I had when I was little. My husbands allergic now, so we can't have one.

Your photos are so cool! You should definetly do something with them :)

Happy Frog and I said...

I really enjoyed this post, anything about happiness always scores well with me! When I saw the photos of the planes my first thought was how cool that they had created your name in the sky. Then I realised it was a watermark - doh! :-)

Wendy Ramer said...

Oh yes. As one who is also owned by two cats (;-)) I know what happiness is. And the travel part is also key to my happiness.

Paul C said...

Totally agree about the happiness in a second hand bookstore. I find it at yard sales sometimes. And your cats...a delight.

Alexandra Crocodile said...

I agree with you in re the book shops. I love finding treasures in musty old attics that make me sneeze:) And your pictures of the airplanes are beautiful! You must have a hidden talent:)

Also, your cats are lovely. I'm jealous!

mise said...

Whether a car will suit a wicker picnic basket is the best criterion I've heard for choosing one. Next time I change my car, you must come with me.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Hi Jayne,

I adore second hand bookshops, too. Especially those in Hay-on-Wye, utter Heaven. Good luck with the book and the cat thing.. :0)

Talli Roland said...

I love your cats! LOVE THEM!

And gorgeous photos of the bookshop. Sigh!

Lydia Kang said...

The bookstore sounds heavenly. And your cats are beautiful creatures, thanks for sharing!

Priya Parmar said...

those photograhs are gorgeous! how is your wip going?

Julie Musil said...

Ah, the book shop. What bliss!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yes! There are few things more blissful than a couple of lazy hours to wander a bookstore. *sigh*

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Nothing better than a second hand bookshop! And I think every one of them should have a cat or two, don't you?

Fran said...

Bookshops. And a whole day to browse. That's my idea of heaven.

Donna Hosie said...

Gorgeous bookshops make me salivate!

Piedmont Writer said...

Pretty kitties! Lovely bookshelves. I could spend all day in them.

Amy said...

Creating a mixed media collage sounds like fantastic idea. Good luck!

Plain Jane said...

Happinesss followed by a photograph of a bookcase...perfect. As much as I love my Kindle, a room full of books is better.

Laura Marcella said...

Oh, I'm super jealous of you in that secondhand bookshop! I loved The Borrowers when I was a kid! I'll have to get one of the books out of the library and re-read the childhood gem.

Your cats are so cute!

Eliza said...

Beautiful cats, and the bookshop looks interesting :-)

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Palindrome said...

I'm so glad I'm with a man who enjoys the secondhand book shop even more than me some days. We both enter and disappear in separate corners. I dive into fiction and horror. He wanders all the non-fiction sections. Then we pool our purchases together and chastise ourselves for spending too much money. I love it. :)

Rose said...

oh i love red cats! second hand bookshops yes- could anything bad ever happen to you there? They are to you- and me and your readers- like Tiffany's to Holly

Jayne said...

Wendy – A good second-hand bookshop should always be a bit dusty, I think. And the cats purred thank you!

Kittie – Love that description – a unique scent that warms the soul. I am a confirmed book sniffer! And the cats meowed thank you back!

Aubrie – I love airshows! My fave planes to see are the old war birds. I’m sure you’ll have a fab time! And thank you for the cat compliment; they make me very happy indeed.

Joanne – The best secondhand book shops have a pet lounging around, and you nearly always trip over someone crouching intent on the lowest shelf.

Old Kitty – Aw thank you for the cat compliments! They do have gorgeous faces, don’t they? I am completely soppy over them! I hide it well. ;)

Crystal – Aw I bet you miss your kitty. Thank you for the compliments on the photos!

Happy Frog – Hee! That did make me smile. :)

Wendy – Owned by two cats – oh absolutely. They know which side their bread is buttered, that’s for sure. (What an odd old saying!)

Jayne said...

Paul – Over here we call them ‘car-boot’ sales, we don’t often get people selling things in their gardens/yards, but I like them too for the sheer range of Stuff people rock up with! Thanks for the cat compliments. :)

Alex – I think I am happiest when given a musty old box to rummage through to discover treasures! The cats are darlings, aren’t they? Thanks for saying nice things about my plane pics!

Mise – It’s the only criteria I follow! I have decided the only reason I do not currently own a car is because I haven’t found the right wicker picnic basket.

Carole – Is it sacrilege to say I haven’t yet made it to Hay-on-Wye? I feel like I cannot be a proper writer without that pilgrimage! One day. Next year will be the year of literary festivals, I have decided!

Talli – Aw thank you!

Lydia – I feel like a proud cat mother!

Jayne said...

Priya – Glad you like them. And there will be good news on the wip soon!

Julie – Oh it was, it was!

Shannon – If I emerge dusty, I emerge happy. :)

Pamela – The best secondhand bookshops have pets!

Fran – Mine too!

Donna – Hee! I love the way all writers drool at these pics.

Anne – Me too! I only emerge for cake.

Amy – Thank you! Think it might be a fun project – I think I will need a few weeks doing something completely different before I tackle the next writing project.

Plain Jane – I can see the positives of Kindles, but nothing beats the tangible weight of a book in my hand.

Laura – My knowledge of London is mainly guided by where to find the best second-hand bookshops. The Borrowers is a lovely tale, I am just discovering it for the first time. So many books I missed as a kiddie!

Eliza – Thank you. And it was!

Steve – How kind, thanks.

Palindrome – I love the description of how you and your feller split up in second-hand bookshops. Fiction and horror eh? I adore Stephen King – have shelves full of his books. James Herbert used to be another I read (The Fog, I think it was, if I have the names right!). I mainly wander fiction, children’s, random ephemera, and social history.

Susan Fields said...

I love your list of happy things! And your cats are beautiful. My kitty is a little orange shorthair named Peanut (but we call her Peanut Butter most of the time - she's too soft to be a Peanut!)

Jayne said...

Rose - your comment made me so happy - you said 'my readers'! *does the happy dance*

And Ginger purrs thanks you - I like thinking of him as a 'red' cat!

Jayne said...

Aw Susan - Peanut Butter! What a cute name for a kitty of peaceful disposition. :)

Thank you for the cat compliment! I think they are lovely - so nice to know others think so too!