THERE WERE TWO BOOK LAUNCHES in my corpuscle of the coppice this week.

On Thursday 27th Mary Robinson read at Bookcase in Carlisle from her poetry collection The Art of Gardening. At £7.50 from Flambard Press, this is a thoughtful collection that ranges over childhood memories, the Western Isles, and a slew of literary and historical figures. The title is taken from Karel Čapek who inspires the eponymous poem. My own favourites, after a first reading, were Shakespeare and Company, which touches on the life of Sylvia Beach, and those Western Isles poems, which capture something of what you might go there for, and what find if you did.

The second launch was of Angela Locke’s On Juniper Mountain which took place on Friday 28th in the heady ambience of Greystoke Castle where the great and the good, and, as someone said, us, assembled to hear readings and to raise a little money for charity. Billed as a travel book, On Juniper Mountain is actually much more than that label implies. Angela’s journey to the Himalayas was no mere junket, but a life changing experience, which led to her establishing the Juniper Trust, a charity that does good in Nepal and other parts of the world. The book is part memoir and part history, and part record of a journey that was not only physical and temporal, but also emotional and spiritual. On Juniper Mountain is published at £11.99 by O Books ( ), an internet based house, and the charity is at Angela’s other books in print, are Dreams of the Blue Poppy, a three-kleenex romance, also with Himalayan echoes, and Mr Mullet Owns A Cloud, a Cumbrian comedy starring (if that doesn’t mix the metaphor) the cloud, Napoleon.