Jack’s guest post comes a little early this week -
It’s not surprising that many bookstore customers, on hearing my accent ask where I’m from, and then talk of their own family connections back to Scotland or Ireland. This area of Southern Appalachia has strong ‘Scotch-Irish’ antecedents. Frequently these conversations will drift around to the difference between perceptions and the reality of Scotland from an American point of view. Most Americans have an image of Scotland derived from movies like ‘Braveheart’ or ‘Brigadoon’ (Vincent Minnelli famously toured Scotland looking for suitable places to make ‘Brigadoon’ but eventually made it in Hollywood because he couldn’t find anywhere in Scotland that looked ‘Scottish’ enough!).
These conversations will often move on to questions about the real Scotland and how it fits into the modern world and global economy. Of course perceptions aren’t helped by confusion over what Scotland actually is in relation to – The U.K., Great Britain, The British Isles or even ‘England’.
In case you, dear reader, also find that confusing – hold on tight, and here we go -
The British Isles is a geographic description that covers Great Britain and the complete island of Ireland.
Great Britain is the union of two nations – England/Wales and Scotland (Wales was never a separate nation, sadly – it’s a Principality of England).
The island of Ireland is split into the independent Republic of Ireland and the much smaller province of Northern Ireland.
Great Britain plus Northern Ireland makes up the U.K. (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to give it its full name).
Got all that?
Finally I will often mention that in September 2014 there will be a referendum in Scotland on the restoration of the country to independent status again. Supporters call it ‘independence’ while opponents call it ‘separation’ – ah! The power of words!!
Talking of words, Wendy and I recently saw this sign on Interstate 77 just north of the NC line. We thought some of our Scottish friends might see the significance -
Shurely shome shignificance (as Sir Sean Connery would Shurely Shay)
Jack’s regular Wednesday guest post examines his guilty conscience -
One of the areas of contention between Wendy and me regarding the bookstore is the thorny issue of ‘tidiness’ and cleanliness. To explain further – I favor the Aladdin’s Cave model of used bookstore, while Wendy would rather everyone be able to find any book easily through rigorous alphabetizing and categorizing. In addition, I have no sense of smell, so tracking down elusive cat pee is next to impossible for me.
I’m not oblivious to the delights of a clean and tidy store and I do get a satisfying feeling when it gives out that general ambience. I’d even admit to really appreciating visits to other bookstores that achieve that kind of slick well organized look. So, what to do?
The cleanliness and cat-pee problem is ably dealt with by our ‘wonder-woman’ Heather every Monday and even I appreciate the difference after she is finished.
However our other big problem is not having anywhere to easily store large donations of books when they appear by the box-load. A couple of bags is one thing, but eight or ten large boxes is something else and we can’t let them clutter up floor space. Sorting out the acceptable from the non-acceptable usually results in at least a couple of boxes of ‘throwaways’ and they need to go somewhere – at least temporarily. Up to now that has been the garage, but that has now been taken over by (horrors) a car!
MidGe in the garage.
To the point -
Two of our good friends, (mother and son), who are regular attenders at our various evening events, brought us ten large boxes of books just the other night. Another gripe – books are heavy, so shifting large boxes is back-breaking work. Luckily their taste in reading is eclectic so at least the collection can be spread pretty evenly throughout the store. While the needlework gang were busy setting the world to rights last night I made a start and, sure enough, out of the ten boxes I rapidly identified two boxes worth of ‘throwaways’ (actually three liftable boxes).
We absolutely hate throwing away books and will even turn them into planters or hand-bags and purses to avoid that terrible fate, but sometimes it just has to be done (I think the reason the garage filled up with books is for just that reason).
Today is garbage day and I have a heavy heart – not only because the erstwhile contents of the garage wait at the curbside, but there are three boxes sitting forlornly waiting the same fate.