Friday, 27 June 2008

Packing books

I don’t pack lightly but I do pack compactly. I like packing. It usually starts with a list – maybe written down but often in my head. I enjoy starting with an empty bag and filling every spare corner with things, working out how to fold, pile and nest things so that they fit into the bag like rocks in a dry stone wall.

And sometimes my bags feel as if they have rocks in them. If something fits in the bag, then I’m unlikely to leave it out. Books are my main problem. When I travel I need books to read. It’s as simple as that. The worst thing would be if I were sat on a train, with a cup of coffee by my side, my iPod playing Radio 4 podcasts, pretty landscape rushing by but no book to read. What a horror!

So for an overnight trip to Oxford this week to have a day out with Anna and spend some time with my parents, I packed three fat paperbacks:

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
Constance by Rosie Thomas
Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym

Yes – three books for a trip lasting twenty six hours. But even though I was visiting the city with the best bookshop in the world and spending time with some one as book–obsessed as me, I still worried that I might finish my books and somehow not be able to find any more.

I needn’t have worried. I went with three books and came back with nine. I couldn’t go to a bookshop and not buy any could I?



  1. Thanks for a lovely day out-am impressed by your level of books by the time you returned home-and in fact have just bought 3 more myself...and yet haven't even started on the HUGE pile you sent me in the post. That is just plain book greed on my part, but I know I'll read them in super quick time, so that's ok!x

  2. wow, what a great day out, all those gorgeous books - so what did you buy then, you can't just leave us not knowing!

  3. At last a girl after my own heart, I thought I was the only one who took more than one book on journeys, just in case I finished it and couldn't find anything else to read. Just had to show this post to DH - who thinks I'm mad to start with, to prove I AM NOT ALONE in my habits! Keep up the good work!

  4. I think I pack books first for trips then try to find space for things like clothes. It's especially essential when you are going to a non-English speaking country where you really don't know if you will find a bookstore that carries English books. I learned my lesson on a trip to Italy where I ran out of books and because I couldn't find a bookstore, spent late nights watching Clint Eastwood speaking Italian in his 'spaghetti westerns'. ...mind you it wasn't totally unenjoyable :0)

  5. Didn't you just love Jane and Prudence? I'll be so impressed though if you got through all three on your trip! K


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