The Life and Times of a busy bookseller, her husband and Gordon setter dogs in North Norfolk.

My photo

Born In Essex, UK.
School in Luton.
College - Sussex.
Worked in Cambs.
Now Living in Norfolk.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Graeme Roberts - A Bookseller

In my early days of bookselling I came across a bookseller from London called Graeme Roberts.  When I say came across, I met him on the internet, on a book selling group, where booksellers chatted and helped each other. Graeme was always helpful to newbie booksellers, and led a group of us together into a project that became known as ibooknet - a group of booksellers who wanted to create our own booklisting group and be a professional alternative - on a small scale - to ABE, and even amazon (well we could dream).

Well we didn't ever quite make that, but Graeme, despite running his own shop in London (Magpie Bookshop in Spitalfields for many years, before moving up the road to The Bishops House) and his internet business, always took considerable time & patience to help newbies like me with their computer problems - (as I was and still am a real computer illiterate), as well as helping and advising with his book knowledge. He also gave a great deal of time to helping with the setting up of the Ibooknet project.

He and his partner moved up to Todmorden and he continued selling books in an internet only business in Northern England. Life carried on, and he sadly split from his partner, and then I believe he established himself in Hebden Bridge. Sadly I hadn't been in touch with Graeme for the last year or two - things drift in life. When I heard that Graeme had died last week I was shocked - not only because it was well 'before his time' but because he had always seemed so full of life.  As I am sure many will have, I have spent much time since I heard the news, thinking about times gone by, and appreciating the help he gave me when he was here.

Graeme & I also chatted about dogs. He used to think I was mad about my dogs - until he got Winston, his own standard poodle, and then he understood what the love for man's best friend was all about. He was hooked. I have read on facebook that someone has given Winston a good home - I am so glad - Winston will need another good friend.

Graeme will be sorely missed.  I don't suppose for one minute he was an angel throughout his life - who of us are - but he was a kind and humorous man with a twinkle in his eye, and a good heart.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nina Bawden 1925 - 2012

Nina Bawden, probably best known for writing Carrie's War, died this morning.  I just heard it on the news. Another talented children's author leaves us.It's as well there are some budding new talents amongst the youngsters!

In fact Nina Bawden began her writing career as an adult novelist, in 1953, and published her first children's book some 4 years later.  She went on to establish an equally high reputation in both fields. She began her children's writing exploring conventional adventure stories, producing such works as Devil by the Sea (1957), The Secret Passage (1963) & On the run (1964).  However, later on, in Squib (1971) she produced a more striking story, about children who encounter a maltreated boy, and how frightening the realities of life can be. Her successor to this, Carrie's War (1973) proved to be an original and worthy achievement, being an account of wartime evacuee children in Wales, based on her own evacuation experiences. Likewise The Peppermint Pig (1975) is another realistic outstanding novel, about childhood experiences, based around an Edwardian family who are suddenly thrown into poverty, leaving their comfortable London home for a Norfolk market town.

In 1978 Nina produced a sequel to Carrie's War (Rebel on a rock) which was an ironic inversion of a children's thriller , as the intervention of the children produces not the usual happy ending, but disaster - as it probably would in real life! Likewise, in The robbers (1979) expectations are inverted again, as when the boy heroes act out their fantasies about thieves, they find themselves in deep trouble.

Bibliography of Children's Books

Devil by the Sea - Collins, 1957
The Secret Passage, Gollancz, 1963
On the run, Gollancz, 1964
The White Horse Gang, Gollancz, 1966
The Witch's Daughter, illustrated by Shirley Hughes, Gollancz, 1966
A Handful of Thieves, Gollancz, 1967
The Runaway Summer, Gollancz, 1969
Squib, illustrated by Shirley Hughes, Gollancz, 1971
Carrie's War; Gollancz, 1973
The Peppermint Pig; illustrated by Alexy Pendle Gollancz, 1975.
Rebel on a Rock (sequel to Carrie's War); Gollancz, 1978;
The Robbers; Illustrated by Charles Keeping; Gollancz, 1979;
William Tell (Illustrated by Pascale Allamand) Cape, 1981
Kept in the Dark; Gollancz, 1982
The Finding; Gollancz, 1985; 
Princess Alice (illustrated by Phillida Gill) Deutsch, 1985.

See our current Nina Bawden Stock at:         (or go to and do a quick search under Nina Bawden). 


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Peakirk Books Olympic Offer

I have just realised that in my usual disorganised way, that I haven't mentioned to my blog readers/members that we are having a special offer to celebrate the London Olympics. This hasn't been a high profile sale, but in celebration of the London Olympics we are offering the following discounts to customers buying books from our own website at

Until 12th August on any orders you make, simply add the following discount codes as appropriate into the coupon box when you go to the shopping basket checkout,  to get the following discounts.

BRONZE - Spend up to  £25.00, and receive a 10% discount
SILVER -  Spend up to £100.00, and receive a 15% discount
GOLD -     Spend over  £100.00 and receive a 25% discount