Thursday, 31 January 2013

Of global significance

Somewhere in the last few days we made it over to Stony Stratford Library.

Don't scoff! Stony Stratford Library isn't just a tiny local library sited opposite the RSPCA charity shop, and containing 879 books, 12 audio tapes, and a soft cushion shaped like a ladybird, you know!

For a start, Stony Stratford has a history stretching back to Roman days. Zip forward a few hundred years and the town found itself perched against the Danelaw. In 1483 it was the town where Richard III's men took hostage the uncrowned boy King Edward V. And that's before we even get to the Cock and Bull of the coaching story. See? Stony Stratford has history.

Not surprising then, Stony Stratford library is living up to this high standard of national significance by making headlines around the world. Look, here's a story from the New Yorker. The residents put the tiny library under the international spotlight (news spot reserved for cute, funny, reassuring, eccentric) when they mounted a protest against closure by taking all the books out. Shut up about them sparing the local authority the bill on book removal. It worked, dammit, and now Stony Stratford is on the international literary touring map! Up there with Hay on Wye! (Ahem. Give it time.)

Well we have to make it over here. I have tickets to listen to the renowned Jerry Brotton.

No, I didn't know who he was either. He has an interesting book title though. It fits right in with our fortnightly mapping group.

It's only in the course of time I discover he was presenter for a Channel 4 map-fest, which explains why all the tickets were sold. Grit has ways and means, however. I had to threaten to disembowel myself on the doorstep of the organiser. Eventually she gave in and promised to squeeze me in, so long as I bought the book. (I did.)

I just thought I would tell you all this, partly so you can see to what lengths the home educating Mama will travel to secure an education for her juveniles, but also because it is an interesting book - bar the title which is now well hackneyed.

Indeed, I almost forgave Jerry Brotton for looking faintly indifferent and unimpressed as he sat in the upstairs room of Stony Stratford library waiting to flog us his book. I don't think he quite appreciated the importance of the place where he sat. We once read I Am A Fish on that exact spot.

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