Before heading off to Hay-on-Wye, Chris insisted that we visit the famous Hereford Cathedral. We were not allowed to take photos, but I was able to see the Mappa Mundi and a chained library. Drawn up around 1290, the Mappa Mundi is a map of England on a very old sheet of vellum. It shows how early British peoples saw the land in both geographical and spiritual terms.
The chained library was an interesting example of how early libraries prevented their books from being stolen. The books were literally chained to the shelf and in order to read them, you would have to sit right in front of the shelf with your book. As I'm starting to learn with special collections, the shelving system was one all its own. I did get a little thrill when I saw an old Bodleian Library catalog on the shelf at this chained library in Hereford. I imagined a travelling scholar moving from one town to the next, checking to see if his source was available at a different library before travelling to it.
The bus stop to Hay-on-Wye was right next to a pub called "The Spread Eagle." Despite the quirky
we enjoyed the fun atmosphere and authentic pub feel to the place. It was mostly empty, being around 11:00 am, but I remember wishing that we had returned to see the venue in full swing. Chris seemed not to mind the early hour, and sipped on a crisp apple cider made locally in Herefordshire.
Hay-on-Wye was only a one hour bus ride away, but the bus ride was a hard one for me. I tend to get a
little motion sick sometimes, and the bus seemed to be going down the most twisting, turning roads of the whole countryside. Our limited amount of time in this small, book-loving town was well spent.
After checking in a modern bookstore and one dedicated to maps and illustrations, we explored a little castle with even more shops in it. Inside the walls of the castle is a famous "honesty bookstore" where you browse the shelves without any attendent present and leave the money in a box nearby. Since it had rained that morning and the books were sitting outside on shelves, we weren't too keen on the idea of taking any of those home.
The Mystery and Mahem bookstore had
The Spread Eagle
This picture was taken in the morning, before we got on the bus to Hay-on-Wye. Quirky name...
a nice theme and a considerable collection of Sherlock Holmes, but I knew what I was looking for. Rose's vintage children's bookstore was my favorite by far. The books were all
in very good condition, despite their age, and lovingly cared for.
Jeanne picked up a few books of contemporary fiction at the "One pound only" bookstore, Heather picked up a unique print from the illustrations/maps store, and Chris found several of what he called "little treasures" including of a few beautiful children's books.
The pocket edition of Peter Pan I bought was in a plastic sleeve to protect it from further damage. A little bit of yellowing can be seen on the first couple of pages, but the rest are pristine. Considering that the book is from 1915, that is surprising for a children's (school) book. There are some beautiful uncolored pictures and an intro that explains that the book was printed for students. After a quick stop in the poetry bookstore, we were on our way back to Hereford.
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