Gladstone's Library yesterday, not just for the cakes and coffee (though they are worth the journey) but to start work again on the latest Malinding book. As a working title I'm using 'The Malinding Village Archive' and it is a collection of memories, poems and stories written by people of the village and collected together for posterity by Sirra, the Alkalo. It's up to about 12k words now and should serve as a good introduction to the Malinding series - six books to date, all available as Amazon Kindle eBooks. As I may have mentioned before, all proceeds from the sales are sent direct to the GOES bank account for distribution to good causes in West Africa.
Gladstone's Library is about a 30 minute journey from home and was set up by William Gladstone, 4 times Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria. Towards the end of his life he donated his collection of 32,000 books, together with buildings to accommodate them, to the nation. He decided to set the library in his home village of Hawarden, about 5 miles from Chester, instead of locating it in London. He wanted to unite books which had no readers with readers who had no books - it worked! The collection has thrived and is still growing, the buildings include a couple of dozen very comfortable study-bedrooms, a kitchen which uses locally sourced ingredients to make delicious meals, several meeting rooms, a chapel and a glorious lounge with two fireplaces! Gladstone was a Liberal politician and the Library is a home to liberalism. A recent development is the provision of a collection of books about Islam, together with a room dedicated to their study. I have used this collection to improve my own insight into a religion which is followed by the majority of my Gambian friends,
Gladstone appears across the years as a very caring, dedicated professional man and a family man devoted to his wife and family. I like in particular a story about him which tells that on one occasion when he was due to return from Parliament very late at night he gave instructions that nobody should wait up for him - he would climb into the house through the dining room window!
Perhaps you can see why I arranged for two of my characters, Ed and Sirra, to spend their honeymoon at