At Shrewsbury I spent some time browsing in a second hand bookshop (bliss! no comments of "Mum ... hurry up!" or "oh no! not another bookshop!") and found a book that immediately jumped out at me as a living book: In the Steps of St.Paul by H.V.Morton. It is part travelogue, and part biography of St.Paul, written in 1936, and I was surprised and pleased to find it is still in print. Here are the first couple of paragraphs as a taster:
I went on deck before sunrise. The storm had backed to the north-west, the sky was clear, and the ship rolled in a long, sullen swell. I hoped to see the pin-prick of the lighthouse on Mount Carmel, but we were still too far from land.And there I was, 20 pages into the 800 plus of Rebecca Fraser's A People's History of Britain, which I have been meaning to read for ages, and now I am distracted. Tantalisingly, a number of Morton's other books are also still in print. Titles include In the Steps of the Master, In Search of England and A Traveller in Italy. I think I may be off on a pre-war geographical rabbit trail.
St.Paul must have known this moment: the grey light, the last star, the cold wind, the fusty cargo, the smell of beasts and tar, the movement of the mast against the sky, the smooth pressing forward and the rhythmic hiss of water running back along the sides of the ship. It was good to stand on deck, thinking that this ship might be the Castor and Pollux.