The joy of reading

The joy of reading

Copper bottomed read

A copper bottomed read.

The title ‘joy of reading’ is tangled up with my day job – both activities are vital but reading helps reduce the tension that the day-job brings.  In order to broaden our horizons and get ourselves into the mindset of the 21st century I am becoming a geriatric nerd. One aspect of this is expanding into all sorts of ways to meet new people and potentially some new customers. So along with Sothebys and suchlike grand organisations we are getting into doing ‘eBay’. Now eBay for us has been a way of getting rid of ‘stuff’ like woodworking machinery, fixtures and fittings that we no longer  need – then I started listing clothes. This has proved more interesting than I thought it would be because not only have I cleared some space in the studio, but I have also met some really interesting people and some have become more than just customers like Catrin Collier who not only buys our clothes but also she has introduced us to her amazing writing and that, in turn, has inspired me to indulge in escaping into many more books.  I am an addicted reader – I love books and to me the joy of reading is all about compelling story and cleverly crafted words.

What spoils the joy of reading

Having acquired a Kindle I am now being introduced to so many authors that I had previously never come across.  My experimental reading used to be by buying books from charity shops to ‘test drive’ a writer and if I find one that my life experience/imagination resonates with – I will then seek out that author in book shops and add to the collection.  If a book is particularly well written I will read it several times and perhaps now that I am getting older and the memory is not quite so good – it is read with new and fresh interest – such as the re-reading of ‘The Lady of Hay’ by Barbara Erskine.

Now what spoils my joy of reading is this – bad grammar, obvious and very weak plots and most of all lack of editorial support.  I have just finished a book that I was seduced into ‘buying’ from Amazon because it was ‘free’.  BIG MISTAKE – I just cannot believe that anyone would publish such a shockingly ‘put together’ book.  It was a vague period piece that had items of furniture that would not have existed at the time.  The same descriptions rolled out over and over again – the wrong words used i.e. ‘he flicked an errand curl from her face’.  I read a piece recently posted on facebook about editorial support for writers.  This book was an absolute classic – in fact I can imagine that an editor might even refuse to start because it was riddled, from start to finish, with absurd mistakes.

Out of curiosity I ‘googled’ the author and found that he has published as an ‘indie’ and there are a number of his books with equally lurid titles.  Why did he not just pay the fee and get an editor/proof reader to go through the book before sending it out there – even for free.  What absolutely astounded me was that he also offered to give potential writers guidance on how to write a book!

Our own experience of having someone ‘proof read’ is that we too, despite very careful writing can make hideous mistakes.  My previous blog about finding art is a classic example.  A one time teacher friend, read my blog and was most amused that I had used the words gorilla gardeners instead of  guerrilla as a suggestion for resolving the budget constraints of Pembrokeshire council and their shockingly neglected gardens.  None of us had noticed this error, which incidentally I have corrected.  However I liked the play on words and the idea of gorillas doing gardening in Haverfordwest –  taking a dig at some neanderthals who might be required to undertake community service.  In fact, now I come to think about it, the other sort ‘guerrilla gardeners’ could act as supervisors and thus save the council the hassle of having to organise and pay for such a project themselves and continue to waste money on civic bun fights.

There is an interesting event going on about editing – The Literary Consultancy – 27th October – interesting people talking like Carole Blake:

I digress – back to the topic.

The importance of an editor to enhance the joy of reading

Proof reading is something that we all need and an experienced ‘reader’ and editor is vital to make sure that what you write is actually what you mean.  How many times has one little word been left out of a sentence that changes the meaning from negative into positive – ‘not’ – is one such little word that can change a sentence and its meaning so dramatically.  And going back to the eBay topic – well this was actually on our on-line shop – we once made the mistake of putting the price of a dress as being reduced from £1450 to £1.  This was very quickly picked up by someone who bought the dress (we honoured it because it was our mistake) and then she returned it because it did not fit – that was her mistake.  However it does emphasise the need to get someone else to go over things.  What compounds the problem is that we read what we think we are reading and do not check or even recognise really huge ‘bloomers’.  That is the peculiar skill of an editor and proof reader.

Now I have to abandon the joy of reading and get on with putting things on eBay

summer green button1

A combination of silk and buttons.  A pleated silk scarf wrapped around a unique necklace made out of buttons.

By the end of next week we will not longer be the owners of ‘the workhouse’.  We are staying on as tenants, but the responsibility of the rest of the site will no longer be ours which is a great relief because we want to spend more time finishing our folly by the sea rather than dealing with the derelict parts of the site.

Medicci 1

A length of cotton velvet fabric – hand painted and then printed with a design we call mediaeval leaf and over printed with a crackle design.

 So now we are thinning our surplus ‘stuff’ from woodworking machines to zips to clothes.  There are some incredible bargains (nothing as cheap as £1 to disappoint you) but fabrics, garments, cushions will all be landing on our eBay listings.  We are often given only a day or two for 100 free listings so it is a huge challenge especially for those of us who are not natural ‘geeks’.  But ‘needs must’ and so this old nerd has listed many more things onto eBay with the hope of not only making more sales, but also making more friends.  To find our site on eBay type the name into the search box and some things should come up and then go to ‘find more’ and you will see many frocks and tops, some zips and threads and the odd machine or two.
P1150611hapi jkt 3
A Japanese inspired Hapi jacket in hand painted cotton overprinted with a gold design.  marbled 2
This jacket is made from a piece of cotton velvet that we hand marbled – it is the only one in the world!
green stripe coat4
This is a perfect lightweight coat made out of silk/viscose velvet with a devore print in the stripe and a border print in a technique that removes the dye.
turquoise organza4
A delicate light weight jacket – perfect for a cover-up for a beach wedding somewhere exotic.
Lauder top half
One of out signature pleated dresses – the waist band has the pleats swirled and caught to give a neat fit while at the same time a certain amount of flexibility.  img 4029woven ribbon4
This jacket is a new experiment – I am not sure if we will ever do this again as it was hugely time consuming, but very satisfying when it did work.
blue pleat buttons3
Another experiment putting the pleated silk scarf together with a fabulous button necklace.  DSC_8983 admiring buttons
TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were intrigued by the button jewellery made by our daughter Georgina.
A little cropped jacket made out of the pleated silk.
Just some of the pieces that are at present on eBay – there are more in stock if something appeals, but not in the right colour – unless of course if I have said that it is the only one!
Enjoy reading – there is so much talent out there.

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