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Christopher Greaves

St Catharines

Wednesday March 10th - Thursday, March 12, 2009

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What else is there in life besides books, eh?

Above are a few “First Editions”, although I think that to have any value (besides the condition of the material), it is important that it be a first edition of the first publishing run. A first edition of the Book-Of-The-Month club is probably not valuable; or at least, it can be valued, but the value won’t be very high. Nonetheless, it’s fun digging them out.

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Here is a shot of my “digs” for the three days. My gloves and scarf are tossed onto the table, and my hands are shaking with the sight of all those sugary pastries in the glass-covered pastry plate!

This is the entrance to the cottage; the door to the bed/sitting room is peeking at the left.

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Here is a shot of the bed and one window. I don’t know what happened to the light. A digital camera is supposed to let me review each shot and take a fresh one when this (under exposure) happens.

I do know that I was too excited to review shots.

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From that bedroom window here is a shot of the rest of the room. I have a queen-size bed, a sofa, a large wood-burning stove to keep the cottage warm (and it did!). The doorway leads to a separate exit and to the bathroom. I figure that in the blistering heat of summer one can open both the main and the side doors and get some sort of breeze going through.

Not to mention the windows each side of the bed!

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Here is the bathroom. A claw-footed bathtub. A DEEP bathtub. Add hot water, a couple of sugary pastries and some books and what have we?

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Here is a view from the side door. Monet-style. That’s a volley-ball net, strung about twenty feet from the edge of the cliff. That’s the lake stretching away to Toronto.

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A better view of the kitchen. By now I am sitting on the edge of the bed getting my breath back. Wondering whether to give up the lease on the 3-bedroom in Etobicoke …..

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And let’s get down to work ….

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Time for a break. Here is a view of the lake and the window next to the queen-size bed. That’s Toronto in the distance. Hah hah!

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This is where volley-balls go when they die. Concrete blocks line the shore, and there is no beach. Just cliff defenses. The patio has a bench, but I didn’t venture down there. I’m told that in season a decent dock is assembled and kitted out.

Must be lovely to rise in the morning and sit with a coffee looking at the lake with all of humanity behind you, out of sight, behind the cliff face.

{Movie 1486}

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Tuesday afternoon I made a quick trip to St Catharines to purchase a street map with street index, and raided “A Chestnut Lane Books” 314 Merritt Street St Catharines, ON L2T 1K2 (905) 227-1622.

That evening I read the “Mystery of the Nile” and got half-way through the Bryson, so you can see I was having a wonderful time.

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Meanwhile, Back at the ranch …. A strong Northerly wind is whipping up waves. It promises to be a cold night. The apparent blur in the center of the image is a reflection of the flames in the wood stove.

Crackle, hiss, ….

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A view taken from within the warm and cozy confines looking towards another cottage. Note the distance separating the cottage from the cliff. I drifted off to sleep wondering about that northerly wind and those slabs of concrete …..

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Here is another view of Toronto, The City That Sunshine Forgot. My photo doesn’t do the water justice. There were four or five bands of color. I seem to have obtained the brown murky waters that come out of 12-mile creek, 14-mile creek, 16-mile creek, 18-mile creek, etc, and a pale blue band which indicates the shallows and a dark blue band that indicates serious water. Brrrrr.

Lovely mass of cloud wiping the sky clean for the next scene …..

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Late afternoon sun streams across the soggy lawn. Clear skies and a northerly wind mean cold nights.

Stoke up that wood stove.

I unashamedly burnt every scrap of fuel in the wood box. Why not? I had books, food, a bed, ….

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The view fascinated me. Here’s a better shot of That Net. The spit of land could be Flamborough head if we were nearer Grimsby UK.

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Ah! Here’s the shot I was hoping for. I see 6 bands in this image.

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And another one.

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Still wandering around late afternoon. Not that I was nervous about the cliff side falling into the lake while I slept, or anything …..

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I couldn’t get over the coloring of the lake. That’s Burlington at the far side, or it could be Oakville, or even Mississauga. There’s a lot of it around these days …..

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I know. It’s boring as a photo, but in real life it is fascinating. Remember that I live in Toronto ….

{Movie 1498}

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Wednesday finds me in BOTH of Hannelore’s book stores - Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books; 71 Queen Street; St Catharines, Ontario; 905 684 6145; and Hannelore's Downtown Fine Books; 285 St. Paul Street; St Catharines, Ontario; 905 684 8426.

The Queen Street store is an old house CRAMMED with books; MY kind of store. I spent about an hour downstairs, and then moved upstairs. After 15 minutes upstairs I left, overwhelmed by the scope and content. That a pile of books fell on my head had nothing to do with my exit.

The St Paul Street store is a regular store, again, CRAMMED with books; MY kind of store. I spent about 15 minutes downstairs, and then moved upstairs. After 30 minutes upstairs I returned for another twenty minutes downstairs.

In the image above you can see the manager making her way upstairs. Yes, even the STAIRS have books …..

In the image below the far row of books (with the blue “War Memoirs of David Lloyd George”) set me back only $100 at the Queen Street store, because they have a 50% sale on right now.

In the image below the remaining rows of books (with the red “Complete Works of Rudyard Kipling”) set me back only $80, because they have a 50% sale on right now.

Drool!

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You’ll notice that the books are on the bed.

So who wants to sleep?

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Wednesday afternoon I’m sitting on the couch with a ham sandwich and a cup of tea, with the sun on my neck and the same sun streaming across the lawn.

Imagine waking up with the sun streaming across the bed, a hot coffee, ….

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After reading the first twenty or thirty pages or so of half-a-dozen books, I cleared the books off the bed, stoked the fire, and settled down for some serious reading.

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But first I just gazed at the fire.

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Thursday morning, after reading in bed for a few hours (see “coffee” above) I packed up and set off for Welland. The local library is big and glossy and I found it to be most unhelpful.

A jogger OTOH filled me in on the Welland River.

In the image above the Welland river is sweeping towards us and passing underneath the old Welland Canal. This is not the canal where the big boats are now; it is the canal where the not-as-big boats used to travel. Piles of debris are held at bay because the river is traveling under the aqueduct.

This image is taken from the foot of the quaintly-named “Aqueduct Street”, corner of Merrit Street East. There’s that name “Merrit” again …..

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Same spot showing the northern side of the aqueduct. The Welland River is running from the right, passing under the canal. In the distance is the Main Street lift bridge.

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Same spot turning to the left, looking across the canal. In a few minutes I’ll be standing underneath that flagpole. That’s the big glossy unhelpful library on the right.

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I’m standing practically under the flagpole, looking downstream as the Welland River emerges from underneath the aqueduct.

Make that “down river”; this is no stream!

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A shot of the river emerging from the concrete base of the aqueduct. No debris here! It is all collected on the far side, but I imagine that when/if the spring thaw runoff ceases there is a day when tons of logs, branches, 50-gallon plastic tubs, etc suddenly wash down river and find lodgings elsewhere.

I left Welland and made my way to Port Colborne where is found the Alphabet Bookshop . 145 Main St. West; Port Colborne, ON; Canada  L3K 3V3.

They had a fifty-cent shelf outside the store, so I scooped up Norman Thelwell’s “A Plank Bridge by a Pool” and felt that my day was already a success.

Inside the store I picked up two Stephen Jay Gould paperbacks for $4 and $2 respectively. Drool!

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Home again. “Are you glad to be home?” I hear you ask.

Silly question.

All but those original six “First Editions” were brought in from the car …..

Would I go back? Yes, to all four bookshops mentioned on this page. In particular I would set aside a complete day for the Hannelore Headley on Queen Street in St Catharines, 50% sale or not.


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Toronto, Wednesday, August 30, 2017 3:12 PM

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