The Open Book – days 9 and 10

Walking, window-dressing and working hard

Cally Forest Walk
Cally Forest Walk

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day. It was very quiet in the shop so we closed a bit earlier than normal and went for a walk in the Cally forest at gatehouse of Fleet. There were buds on the trees, swathes of snowdrops and the birds were in good voice. Maybe, just maybe spring is on its way. Again we were impressed by how lovely this part of Scotland is and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the fresh air. We rounded off our time out with a glass of ale at the Masonic Arms hotel and returned to the flat feeling much better for our time outdoors.

Today it was back to work and it was a longer day in the shop to make up for yesterday’s early close. Iain began by giving the place a good hoover. It’s amazing how grubby the shop floor gets in a couple days! Then he set about moving the fiction paperback books around so that they’re all in the same section of the shop. In order to do that, he first of all had to move crime fiction and in order to do that sci-fi had to come down  couple of shelves. However, despite it being a big task he has made good progress today.

Shop Window of Scottish Books
Shop Window of Scottish Books

Meanwhile, I have done another window display. Different window this time and I decided on a Wigtown and Scottish theme. I’m quietly proud of how it looks. I plan to do the third and final window on Friday, when Iain should be out of the way with his paperback reorganisation.

I also did a new table display and chose the theme of Birds. The shop has a large assortment of bird books, so I thought it would be a good idea to showcase a few of them.

I finished up by going round all the shelves, just straightening and pulling books to the front and generally tidying up.

In amongst all this there were customers to serve – the bit we like best. There was a fairly steady flow of people today. Again several of them took the time to chat and were interested to hear about the project. And Jayne from the writers group also came in to interview me about my writing for a piece on her blog.

So all in all another busy but productive day at the Open Book.

And in a PS to the sanctuary story of two days ago, ‘our’ gentleman came in to say thank you and to confirm that his operation had gone well. So that was nice.  




Sanctuary at the Open Book

Glad we could help…

'Our' bookshop
‘Our’ bookshop

I’m just hoping the elderly gentleman who we gave shelter to in the shop this morning is okay. He appeared in the shop doorway around ten o’clock and was obviously distressed.

He was waiting to be picked up by patient transport to go to hospital in Glasgow for surgery. The original time for his pick up was 8.00 a.m. but the driver had been delayed. So a new rendezvous was arranged. To make things quicker and easier the man had offered to make his way into town and wait for his lift at the cafe across from the Open Book . Unfortunately the cafe was closed, the weather was atrocious and there was still an hour to wait.

We took him in and gave him tea and biscuits and chatted with him while he waited. What an interesting man he was. He shared some of his life story with us, including his birth and early life in Africa, his working life which took him all over the world, learning several languages along the way and his more recent past as a shop owner in Wigtown. It also turned out he’d done his national service on our home island of Skye and it was fascinating to hear tales of how island life was back then, before mains electricity amongst other things. We also discussed Scottish cuisine, the sourcing of good local ingredients and the pros and cons of living an eco-friendly life.

He told us his wife had recently passed away and that he’s having work done on his house which means he has no water in his kitchen. But there was no self-pity, just a stoical acceptance and a great sense of humour.

Eventually at 11.15 his transport arrived and following his early rise at 6.00 a.m for an operation originally scheduled for 11.00, he was off on the two hour journey to hospital.

It was humbling and a privilege to meet this man and hear some of his story. I do hope it all went  well.

The Open Book – a day off



A day out and a walk down memory lane

my footprints in the sand
my footprints in the sand

Yesterday the Open Book was closed. So me and the husband set off to do a bit of exploring. And the sun came out which was a welcome bonus. We’d had a lovely meal at the Bayview bistro here in Wigtown on Saturday evening, so we were really needing a good walk.

This wee chaffinch accompanied us for part of our walk
This wee chaffinch accompanied us for part of our walk

In the morning we went to the Wigtown Nature Reserve. Wigtown bay includes the estuaries of the rivers Cree and Bladnoch and as such is home to all sorts of wildlife. We walked along past the marshes where we saw lots of waders, ducks and geese. We spent some time in the bird-watching hide. Unfortunately our binoculars are at home in Skye so this made identification of the birds spotted rather difficult. However we were fascinated to see an ever growing flock of some sort of bird swooping and gathering and flying on, in the way starlings do (we’re fairly sure these weren’t starlings) before finally settling far out on the marsh.

One of a pair of swans encountered on the way. They debunked my mother's warning that swans will break your arm with a flick of a wing. Most laidback swans ever.
One of a pair of swans encountered on the way. They debunked my mother’s warning that swans will break your arm with a flick of a wing. Most laidback swans ever.

In the afternoon, it was memory lane time. We drove the thirty or so miles to the town of Dalbeattie, to the place we had a happy family holiday nearly thirty years ago when our children were very small. This led to much reflection for both of us on where all the years have gone. Our grandchildren are now nearly the same age as our children were on that holiday. As we were city dwellers at the time, and the holiday cottage was on a farm, it was the first time the children had seen cows close up. They loved that if you stood at the kitchen window and made mooing noises, then the cows gathered at the fence and mooed back.

The pretty seaside village of Rockcliffe
The pretty seaside village of Rockcliffe

From Dalbeattie we moved on to Rockcliffe, a very pretty coastal village with a small rocky beach. The tide was  out so we could explore rock pools as we scrambled over rocks and made our way along the bay.

Ailsa Craig dominates the view
Ailsa Craig dominates the view

All in all it was a most enjoyable day, topped off by a lovely curry made by the husband when we returned to the flat.