Tuesday 5 April 2016

Ely Book Haul

My wife and I recently moved, and our local city is no longer Cambridge, but Ely. This weekend we've been into Ely every day, four days on the trot! And today we'll have both been in once during the day (separately) and once again in the evening (together).

Over the course of these several trips I acquired a few interesting books and some model-making oddments. On Friday I treated myself - due to a very rare utility bill refund windfall  - to volume one of Rory Muir's epic Wellington biog, a brand new paperback, from the splendid Topping Books.

Then on Saturday I bought two secondhand books, at the delightful Octagon Books: The Napoleonic Soldier, and the old Blandford publication Army Uniforms of WWII. The latter was a book I'd seen at my grandparents' house, as a kid (poss belonging to my uncle, Terry?), and been mesmerised by. Even now I still find Malcolm MacGregor's illustrations hugely satisfying to contemplate.

The Napoleonic Soldier is another uniformology book. But it's unusual in that it is illustrated entirely by modern day re-enactors, photographed wearing their splendid costumes. 

Having arrived too late at our favourite tea-room (Teacock's Pearoom, as Teresa once called it), on Saturday, we went back Sunday. On both occasions we had a mooch about in the neighbouring Waterside Antiques shop, an old three-storey place chock-full of stuff, including lots of books. 

It was there that I found a book called The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships. This title is slightly odd, in that the book seems to me to be entirely devoted to HMS Victory.

I've been looking online and elsewhere for stuff to help me with the rigging of my Dutch Gunboat, and although this book is devoted to a British First Rate, it's got lots of detailed stuff - including some terrific illustrations - on naval rigging.

Better still, as I perused this wonderful tome, I further discovered that the book is by a modeller, and is as much about building a very detailed replica of Victory as it is about the ship herself. And to cap it all off, there are several extraordinarily beautiful fold-out diagrams, delicately drawn and highly detailed, illustrating all manner of details about the Victory. 

One of these folding diagrams was slightly damaged, and the book was without its original dust jacket. But the price I paid reflected this, and seemed fair to me, being a lot less than a new copy (£45!), and a fair bit less than any used copies I could find on Amazon.

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