Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Enigma Variation

The melancholy gap between Christmas and New Year is helped along by the Market Harborough Book Fair. Shelves bending under the marshalled ranks of volumes, (why can't I stop myself tidying them up as I go round?), with baize covered tables displaying choice items opened at the best bits, and the church hall window sills put to good use for what are obviously considered the also rans. Where I found this lovely 1950's guide to the town of Malvern, set in one of my favourite parts of England, Elgar's Malvern Hills. "Come to Malvern", says the back cover, "for scenic beauty, pure air and a warm welcome". The advertisements at the back use stock blocks of cows and sheep for local butchers and big briars for tobacconists, and a garage tempting you with the new Standard Vanguard has the telephone number 147. But just look at this front cover. This is what they call 'artistic licence' and whoever did this took a great big one out. The Malvern Hills are dramatic enough, but try as you might you'll be hard pushed to get this perspective of the town. To be honest, I think all he (or she) had to go on was a blurred photograph of the Priory and the thought that there was a hill somewhere near. But it works and is beautiful in its own way, and I expect brought them in their thousands to sample the delights of butchers, tobacconists, garagistes, drapers and outfitters, all clinging to the side of these wonderful Worcestershire hump-backed hills.


Philip Wilkinson said...

Well. You could knock me over with a sable filbert. Here are you posting about Malvern, and what am I doing over at English Buildings? Posting about Malvern.

Anyway: thanks for splashing a bit of colour on this grey day.

Thud said...

Not wishing to curry favour but your 'Built for Britain' is coming in handy to get through the dull days before the new year starts.

Jonathan said...

I was at that bookfair too. Got a short guidebook about Langton Hall - it must bave been open to the public at one time.

Peter Ashley said...

Another Blogger Coincidence. I saw that booklet on Langton Hall, wanted it, got distracted and forgot it. Glad it's got a good home though.

And an apology. I've forgotten what day of the week it is, so completely forgot to do a Puzzle Picture. Oh well, back to normal in 2010. Perhaps.

Diplomate said...

Blast - I thought that was the puzzle picture and knew I was onto a winner. As is often the case in these period "guides" the tourists depicted are normally a reasonably sensibly attired youth being led astray by a totally inappropriately dressed young gal. The artist has spared us a glimpse of her shoes but you can bet they're not a good stout pair of brogues.

Peter Ashley said...

Well spotted Diplo. One has to very careful in taking gals up here.

Circe said...

What a lovely find... lucky you! I love travel posters/art of that era...

Happy New Year!

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Hels said...

You wrote "The melancholy gap between Christmas and New Year is helped along by the Market Harborough Book Fair." It must depend on where a person lives, of course, but this is the best week of the year in the southern hemisphere. No work, hot beach weather, bbqs, wine, picnics and a truckload of international sport.

But I would sell my granny for a week of pleasure at Market Harborough Book Fair. What a joy!

Next to the book fair, you have a reference to Built for Britain: Bridges to Beach Huts, by Peter Ashley. I was trying to find material for my post on beach huts, http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/2009/12/beach-huts-in-australia-and-britain.html, and would loved to have found it. I will add a reference now.


Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Hels. And a happy new year to you and everybody.

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