Onward and upward – new webshop

You may have wondered why I have been quiet recently. well I have been working on getting all the book details updated for …..the new Refried Books web shop. I am so looking forward to it. The lovely Debbie Kennedy http://norobotshere.com/ has been working on it for me. It will be attached to this site – easy to find, so hopefully from April you will be able to see exactly what there is to offer, ask questions, tell me what you want and buy books on line.

More news soon.

Apples aren’t the only fruit


growing fruit in containers

I know it’s the wrong time of year to be focussing on fruit but we’ve just spent the day planting the Arundel Community Orchard and I feel the need to wax lyrical about growing your own fruit.

Anyone can do it and the taste of fresh fruit, juicy raspberries, freshly picked apples, sweet sweet strawberries and tart gooseberries is second to none. In the summer I’m lucky enough to be able to graze the garden for fruit as the season progresses from raspberries through to blackberries & apples.

Fruit is easier to grow than you might think and there are plenty of books around to help.From beginners through to extreme pruning.

I have just looked through the list of fruit growing books I have in stock from those from those for beginners to seasonned organic gardeners, from traditional garden practices to new ideas. From growing in containers and miniature fruit trees to orchards.

and although apples aren’t the only fruit they are a good place to start.


Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June saw Refried Books at at our first event. The Medfest event at West Deans Gardens. Well the summer weather this year didn’t let up for us and Jim and his team had battened down the marquees the day before with double ties. Even so the wind and showers blew us around a bit.

It was a great weekend though and despite the weather Refried Books did well. Helped by my lovely assistants Carolyn on the Saturday and Terry on the Sunday I had a great time, met lots of lovely people and even sold some books!

So now I am look forward to the next event – news to come.


Two lovely books in one day!

I  can’t believe how much I enjoy my book business. The books that come my way bowl me over, just reading them is a joy. Today two books arrived that I had bought, one on cookery and one on gardening both published in the late 19th century.

The gardening book is actually two in one – titled The Miniature Fruit Garden and The Orchard House by Thomas Rivers and published in1860. It gives instruction on growing miniature fruit trees and includes different varieties that can be used for instance on different facing walls of a house. The names alone sound delicious, pears Beurre d’Anjou, Doyenne D’Ete and Conseiller de la Coeur and varieties of apple bushes on paradise root stock, how fab is that.

The orchard house section includes not just the fruits that can be grown there but details plans and costs of how they are built and ventillated, including a builders estimate for a an Orchard House 30 feet long – total £28 5s.

The book has the inscription of George Constable the gardener at Earlswood Asylum making it a bit of social history as well.

The cookery book is titled Soups, Savouries, Sweets with a Chapter on Bread and is by a ‘Practical Housewife’. Published in 1889. Every page has a quote or section of a poem or play and even the cover is amusing with each corner having a little sign – Make Me, Buy Me, Read Me and Eat Me.

The recipes sound so good I am going to have to make some of them, I promise I will include them on this site as I go. They include Jenny Lind Soup – a vegetable and lentil soup, Angel puddings – a souflee type pudding with lemon and Reform Cabinet pudding. One I will be trying when the peas are out is Pea Pod soup with mint.

Some I won’t be able to try including Count Rumford Soup which calls for a packet of Count Rumford soup powder, alas no longer with us. I wonder what it was like.

But the joy, as I said is in the reading. Here is a little excerpt from the introduction.

‘There are many young housewives, well educated as well as practical, who like to prepare with their own hands the dainty trifles which give variety to the ordinary book of fare…..To these young housewives I dedicate my book. It may cost them effort sometimes to put down Shakespear, Tennyson or Browning, and to leave the library for the kitchen. Perhaps, if quite candid, they will own that the receipt book open beside them does not keep their thoughts from turning lovingly to their favourite author left unread.’ thank you Mrs Taylor


Violet Culture

The most beautiful little book has come my way. It is bound in purple suede with gold trim to the edges of the pages which are rough cut and titled Violet Culture. Written  by A. and D. Allen-Brown is was published by them in 1909, the book describes the commercial cultivation of violets as practiced by them in their nurseries in Henfield, Sussex.

They obviously love the flowers they grow and delight in sharing their knowledge. The descriptions of the different varieties of violets takes the reader back to a time when you could buy a posy of violets from a London market after they had been lovingly wrapped and sent by early train. Can you still by posies of violets? Are they still grown commercially?

The illustrations in the book are a delight including the types of violets, how to pack them, the violet house and frames and the workers. I’m not sure I will be able to part with this one except to a real plant lover. I love these books!

A violet grower

A violet grower

Here are a couple of the illustrations