I love libraries. I like the smell of the books. I like the idea that there is so much stuff in them bursting to get out. I like the idea that I may know more when I come out than when I go in.

My mother tells anyone who will listen to her that I have always loved books. I know that when I was young I could easily spend many hours each day reading, and frequently used to read with a torch under the covers until late at night. All Enid Blyton books were devoured hungrily until I developed a slightly more intellectual base. Now I find reading at night a little difficult as I cannot stay awake long enough to read even one whole chapter.

I have just discovered the reference room at the George IV bridge Library in Edinburgh. It is a lofty grand room with a beautifully ornate central circular cupola and many high windows around the book-lined room making it light and bright. There are wooden desks set out for two people to work at all with wooden chairs which are just Calvinistic enough to remind you that you are here to work and not sleep (although one guy behind me is having a catnap!)

I have started reading the DH Lawrence book I found downstairs which is about his love affair with Frieda. She was not faithful to him from the start which must have been difficult to accept. He was very smitten with her although it is not clear to me yet exactly why, although it seems that he liked the look of her since she was healthy and robust, whereas he had endured spells of ill-health. In the photographs of them she seems to dwarf his slight five feet nine frame. Frieda struggled with the fact that she had left her children behind when she met Lawrence, although her union with Weekley was claimed to be a loveless marriage.

Lawrence allowed her to assist him in the final preparation of the manuscript for Sons & Lovers, which earned him a year’s salary as an advance, something which allowed them to rent an apartment in a villa in Italy where he could work. She meanwhile delighted in the fact that she could swim in the lake outside, only a short distance from the villa.

In common with William Golding, the author of Lord of the Flies, Lawrence was a teacher for a time, a pursuit which afforded him enough free time to write his own works. He wrote The White Peacock first which was published in 1911, just a year after his beloved mother died. I am struck by how few of his books I have actually even heard of, far less read. So I must now put this new library card to good use and read some of Lawrence’s books as well as reading about the man himself, and his love affair with Frieda which was to last until his death.

More tomorrow!


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