A day in Wetherby (and only Wetherby)

A sunny morning (and only morning) was promised, so I caught Bus 7 early to the Boston Spa branch of the British Library. I told the driver I wanted a “day pass” instead of “day tripper” and caused confusion, of course.

Really, it takes three days to sort out what everything is called, and what little streets are short-cuts, and where the post office is, and where to eat dinner. But since I usually only stay in one place for three days, I do much bumbling around. And it turns out I didn’t need a day pass, since I only ended up going to the Library.

The Library is less than 3 miles at Wetherby, but I could see on Google Maps it couldn’t be walked because there’s no verge to walk on for the whole middle part. I knew I had to go towards Leeds, then get off at Walton something. Oh dear:

Got off at Walton Corner, walked past a dozen or so houses, crossed the road, followed the signs. It was interesting –pavement only existed from the bus stop to the Library. Despite the pavement, it was obvious that this is a route intended to be driven rather than walked. The guard was at the gate for cars, and the booth where you walk up was empty. “A Reader, are you?” he asked. Yes. He asked my name but didn’t write it down, then pointed at a green line on the pavement and told me to follow it to Reception. Same routine there at the London branch, just in miniature: lockers, clear plastic bags, Readers Card, etc.

I thought I’d be there for just a few minutes, since all but one item I’d ordered had been refused. This was due to Bank Holiday Monday, and me asking the system to do too much. Apparently everything I’d used in London had to go back to storage first, and there wasn’t time to get it to Boston Spa. What was less explainable was that the item I’d forgotten to check in London also wasn’t available, so I talked to staff and a very nice woman not only ordered it for when I was back in London, but called and made sure they got the right one.

So I thought I’d sit down and flip through the one book that did arrive, a journal from 1894. To my knowledge, this particular year didn’t have anything by H.G. Wells — I was more looking to consider writing an article about the journal itself. So I flipped through page by page, since I had time. I turned a page and there was an article by Wells. That’s not supposed to happen. I got out my phone and checked Zotero, my bibliography program, but it wasn’t on my list.

This happened a few months ago. I discovered another item by Wells that wasn’t in the bibliographies. And last week at the British Library in London, I found a review he wrote that no one knew about. But this was another full article, and I don’t think it’s in the bibliographies either. How is this possible that I keep stumbling on unrepublished works that no one knows about? I’m very late to this game. Did previous researches not just sit at the library flipping through the volumes? Isn’t that how one finds these things?

All done, I walked and walked and caught the bus back to town. Just to give you an idea:

Yep, that’s the setting for one of the best libraries on earth. Why doesn’t it have its own stop? Students have a bus directly from Sheffield and York Universities. Most people drive. But lowly foreign scholars have to take the bus and walk. At least there’s pavement. And it wasn’t raining.

Back at the flat, I’m thinking quick errand, then maybe go to Leeds or do something fun. But I needed to post some of the books I bought (have I mentioned that I can’t pass a second-hand books shop?).  Now, I had done advance research on posting books internationally, because every time I come it’s different. In the old days (2015 and before), there was a “book rate”, a cheaper rate if the box only contained printed material. But the last couple of years, there’s been no book rate, but rather a cheaper rate per portion over 2 kg up to 5 kg only if it’s printed material. So I went to the post office, weighed my stack (2.3 kg), bought a big bubble envelope, took it five blocks back to the flat, addressed it with pen I’d brought from America for the purpose, used the scissors I’d brought, and wrapped it thoroughly with the tape I’d brought ( I’ve learned that these are things you have to buy if you don’t bring them).

But when I brought my carefully (and thoroughly – the tape is often the only thing that holds) wrapped package in, they said it would cost twice as much because it was over 2 kg, so it had to go Parcel instead of Royal Mail. The fact that it was books made no difference at all. It didn’t make sense – I’d looked up all the rates in advance. But you can’t argue this sort of thing. To save money, she recommended I divide the package. So I bought two smaller bubble wraps, went back to the flat again and rewrapped. Then back to the post office queue.

Now, the post office queue is traditionally where one learns things, and I learned that the weather is about to warm. Estimates varied from 26 to 30 degrees. This is despite the fact that it’s been so cold here (9 degrees) that I even heard two Yorkshiremen complaining on a bus. So we’ll see. I have noticed that neither BBC Weather or Met Office has accurate weather, so maybe the post office queue has the scoop.

By the time I got it posted, and bought small-denomination stamps to make my collection of 97p stamps good again, it was past 3 pm and there was no time to go anywhere else!


2 comments to A day in Wetherby (and only Wetherby)

  • You seem to have used the word ‘pavement’ quite effortlessly 🙂 A bit of a strange day for you, but worth the trip to find another HG Wells article that is not in the bibliographies. It makes you wonder how many more of these articles there are ‘out there’. Hope your onward journey to Durham is more straightforward.

    • Lisa M Lane

      lol The word was on my mind — I went to All Saints Pavement Church in York! I too wonder how many articles are out there. I’ll be loathe to miss one.