Change my Library Book

I have just finished ‘ A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush ‘ by Eric Newby. In my enthusiasm to get into the book I had not bothered with the preface but rather launched into the first chapter. I, therefore, hadn’t realised it was written by Evelyn Waugh who after writing it became close friends with Newby.  He talks about the keenness of Englishmen to travel and there are some classic Waugh phrases

‘ It is a longing, romantic reasonless, which lies deep in the hearts of most Englishmen, to shun the celebrated spectacles of the tourist and without any concern with science or politics or commerce, simply to set their feet where few feet have trod.’

Couldn’t have put it better myself ! He further contends that the Scots and the Welsh travel for commerce and the Irish just to leave which might be a little harsh.

The line I really love is this one

‘ the author delights in the foreignness of foreigners ‘

which I take to mean embrace what you find, enjoy it and do not try to build another little britain there.  Wise words.

Despite having a Kindle we still go occasionally to the Library Day held on the third Wednesday of every month . It is a lending library where English speakers bring books they have read or visitors have left and the ex pats hire them back at €1 a pop with €0.50c back when you return the book in good condition.

The lady that runs it has just over 4,000 books so most people clearly have more visitors than we do or ours are cheapskates who take the books home with them.

The format follows a similar pattern each month . British workmen like electricians, plumbers, carpenters, handymen etc can put up cards offering their services. Others set up stalls to sell stuff they make at home like pickled onions, piccalilli etc and the Librarian and her worker bees check in and out books and restock shelves  until time is called.

The New York Public Library it ain’t but still impressive though maybe Evelyn Waugh would be turning in his grave at this open show of britishness.

Once you have your sack of books and have run the small gauntlet of eager workers and jam makers you hit the kitchen for a glass of wine. I would love to say you are drinking great wines but I fear occasionally people might be guilty of off loading that ‘ nice bottle of homemade wine our Italian neighbours bought around for us at Christmas’. However there is a perfectly good bar down the road should you not want to drink freebies.

I wonder how many books I can take on the pedalo if I get accepted as a co pilot as it would seem there isn’t much to do while the motor is on.

We fought our way home from the library in a constant stream of traffic coming off the beach then queued through Martina Franca as people flocked in for their evening walk and to ready themselves for queuing for dinner.

Italy has stopped we said no-one is working. But through the magic of lies, damned lies and statistics it seems that in August Italian manufacturing recovered and posted it best gains since 2011.


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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4 Responses to Change my Library Book

  1. I’d love to know more about the lending library! When and where is it in business? I have books to contribute, too. Thanks for any information you can provide (

    • hereinpuglia says:

      Sure, it is held at the Villa Miller on Strada Lamatroccola which you can find on Google maps. I will e mail you further details.


      • Thanks so much, Mike! Do you know when it is held? Is it a regular day/time or announced in advance on a changing schedule? I appreciate the tips. Although we have owned our Martina home and country property in via Ostuni for 17 years, it’s only been a little more than a year that we are living here full time.

  2. Aha! Just re-read your post and find that library day is the third Wed. of each month. Looks like we missed August, so we will plan on Sept. 18th.

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