The discovery of The Spectator- part 1

Back in 2003, my husband and I moved to Cambridge, England, because I was expecting to work in one of the laboratory at Cambridge University. I refused the initial offered given to me (which I later regretted and I might go into the details of that in a future post). I was told that there would be better vacancies to apply to and consider.

On a spring weekend morning we went for a walk in the city centre and we came across an antique fair. I always love looking around at the different items that lay about wondering how and who have used them and all the stories they could have witnessed.

My husband and I approached a stand with delicate items and the merchant asked us to guess the use of some of the displayed items. My husband pointed at a picture of an astrolabe (Al-Istirlab which is an ancient astronomical instrument) and he said that we posses one of these (which I bought during a trip to the antique market in Syria). Them the old keeper got out a small carved ivory box and small objects that looked like either mini kitchen utensils or vanity tools, which was my guess. The answer was that, “No one knows but we guess that it could be a children’s toy.”

We navigated away with a smile and decided to walk in separate corners to explore more objects.  As I was browsing through the book titles on one of the shelves and flipping through a pile of old map prints, a proud owner approached me. “Good Morning, love!” He greeted. “Where are you from?”

A question I could not escape due to my prominent head wear rather than the colour of my skin. “Kuwait” I answer with a smile.

“Aah” He replied in delight and attempted to locate it in his historical maps and show me the borders through time. “Well I dont have something recent but I have some maps of the Ottoman empire and I am sure we can find Kuwait in there”. I was some what indifferent to the historical tales of these maps and was rather impressed by there designs and their potential of decorating office walls.

My husband came close and ended up talking to the passionate collector about those artistic historical records while I randomly looked at the books close as means to passing time. After their conversation the man approached me again and asked, “Any of these books interest you?”

My reply was a simple, “nothing specific.” While I held the view that fictional books are landing mats for dust to gather as I was careful back then not to read a lot and get my writing style influenced before writing my first novel. I was more interested in general knowledge and scientific textbooks than the work of fiction.

He still thought that there was something for me in his collection and said, “let me help you decide if I were to recommend anything it would be these two.” and he handed me two volumes of the spectator. ” I only have volumes 7 & 8 which works out cheaper for you since it is not a complete collection and since you are a student I will give you an even better price”

I went ahead with his recommendation and purchase four other small books which he said were interesting and that he enjoyed. On the way back I was thinking of the great words that might be held within the covers of my newly acquired possessions. Excited about the new world that they could reveal.

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