Equestrian education

I was expecting no input on the writerly front, from a weekend visit to the Miniature Pony Centre at Dartmoor. It was all set to be a family fun day: meeting up with relatives, riding ponies, playing in park areas – and would be no less valuable for that. However, I was quite captivated by this quote outside the Shire horse stable:

I looked it up later, and discovered that it comes from The Horse, a poem by Ronald Duncan. The poem is reproduced in its entirety on the Ronald Duncan website. I found it rather stirring. The website itself is concise and informative on the life and works of Duncan, of whom I knew nothing until my visit to Dartmoor on Sunday. All in all quite a whistle stop education for me, and proof that inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places.

Stationery shindig

It’s National Stationery Week, which is right up my street. Check out the website for info on what it’s all about, including participating retailers in your area and giveaways. It’s a great excuse to go out and buy a new notebook and pen, and get writing.


To mark the week I thought I’d share my favoured stationery at the moment: Le Cahier notebooks, Staedtler pencils and eraser, and a Radley pencil case:

What’s your favourite stationery item?

In praise of independence

It’s important to support our independent bookshops, and if you need a reminder why, just go into one. Last year I blogged about Mr Bs Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath here. During my recent Cornwall trip I discovered the Spencer Thorn Bookshop in Bude. It has a lovely feel with friendly and helpful staff. My brood was free to browse the children’s section and sit on a dinky wooden train to read, so I could look around myself. As well as a good range of fiction, the shop offers plenty of gifty delights and some very nice stationery. For me, a small collection of classic quotes on postcards provided a literary treat to bring home. Impressive and thriving. More on independents in future posts.


Bude the Obscure

Cornwall seems to be my place of short break so far this year. Some quite stunning coastal vistas, a charming otter sanctuary and a couple of trips to Bude made a successful Easter trip, despite the persisent cold.

Bude certainly has more to it than meets the eye, on the county border of the north coast. For some happy book browsing, look no further than Books By The Sea, an absolute gem of a secondhand bookshop on one of the main streets.

Books by the sea ext

You’ll find the friendly owner Steven Sheppard buried towards the back, in amongst the impressive floor-to-ceiling displays. Set over two floors, it is a well ordered Aladdin’s cave, and it took me no time at all to find two Anne Tylers (yes, it seems I am going to blog about each Tyler find), while others enjoyed rummaging through the comics in the basement.

Books by the sea int    Books by the sea b:w

This was a family browsing session, and the children’s section offered a pleasant trip down memory lane. My daughters came away with a little something too. My favourite kind of shopping, and highly recommended for all book lovers.