Republishing from January 2010 – Iain Remembered

Today I am driving to the village where I lived, on and off, from 2010 to 2014. Which belonging to the late Iain Robinson and his wife. Iain and I went and saw the house about this time of year in 2009 and he instantly felt it was for him. Unfortunately the house has not sold since his death in 2011. But fortunately for me I am able to pick up the items I didn’t have the room in the car for last July. Which is when I packed up and left – heading towards Canada and the US. The books are all gone and the one refered to in this post is in Japan now. It will be interesting to visit the house and village after a year or mores absence. Maybe I’ll be able to take a walk in the hills while in the area. Or not.


They have a smell all of their own – and a feel and a certain character to them. Ancient dust, brittle paper, long loved volumes. The books, so very very many of them, are all now shelved. I think I qualify as a Bibliophile. Iain said this afternoon during a pause in the action. Oh! and here, grasping a desperately ancient volume, is the very first book I ever bought – I was nine. Canada (Romance of Empire) by Beckles Wilson written around 1900. Here is a sampling from Chapter V: The Founding of Montreal.

Of all the great cities of the world you will not find one that has had so romantic a beginning as Montreal. The stories sent home by the Jesuits had stirred all France, and made the more pious and enterprising spirits more than ever resolved to teach the wicked redskins (ahem!) a lesson in Christianity and plant the fear of God in their hearts. The French said they did not believe in treating the savages (double ahem) of the New World in the cruel way the Spaniards had done in Peru and Mexico; They preferred to win them over to civilised ways by kindness and the force of good example.

There we have it. What can I say? Sorry Canada. If we knew then what we know now, things may well have turned out differently. Hopefully.

When Iain returns to his wife and home in Japan at the end of the month I will come back to the books, and house. If all goes to plan I will manage to carve out about six weeks of rest/renewal/retreat time before flying to…Canada! So my labours of the past week are of mutual benefit.

This post is for Tom in Canada who loves books.

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2 thoughts on “Republishing from January 2010 – Iain Remembered”

  1. Ah yes – books. The postman knows me well as do Abe books. I now think about floor loading as the piles on the floor increase. I had a mental map of everything before moving, but that’s gone: the upside is that I occasionally find a forgotten friend. Very pleased to read this post in Iain’s memory. Thanks.

    1. Thank you Walter. Most encouraging to get your message (email) and this comment. I will write a bit about my visit to Eastern Cumbria on Saturday – with a photograph of a very empty bookcase.

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