After interesting adventures with airplanes, and a chance to discover the exquisite courtesy and helpfulness of Canadian airline staff I made it to Fredericton. The archive (the Eileen Wallace Collection) is in a light, airy room, there are twenty eight bays of books, and another twenty eight outside in the circulating section.
Someone pinch me, it all feels like a dream.
The town is small--about the size of Bethnal Green--and when I first looked at a map I got terribly confused. If there are two blocks of roads, and one is bigger than the other, then the small one is going to be the University? No?
Fredricton may be one of the most beautiful places I've lived. The shops are small and homely and very close to the river. I've found a great toy store, and three bookstores--one sells new books, one sells second hand paperbacks, new magazines and coffee (and has wi-fi) an the other, The Owl, has to be seen to be believed. I almost didn't go in because it looked like a small, occult bookstore, but it was cold (bitterly) and a book is a book.
The store stretches back into apparently endless corridors. The structure isn't quite straight, so you keep thinking you've come to the end of the shop. And there are neat little notes on the shelves. "Suspense: it's behind you" (it was). I came away with Walter R. Brooks' Freddy and the Space Ship which I am sure will find shelf space at home somewhere.