Bookshop Bed-In Promotes Literacy


Jayne Ramage with Alexander McCall Smith

By Alexander Lawrie

 A SCOTS book shop owner is urging customers to beat the biting recession and escape the worries of the economy by spending the day in bed with a good book.

Jayne Ramage, 49, staged a 24 hour bed-in yesterday (Fri 23/01) at her shop in Aberfeldy to show how books can help us escape the financial gloom and raise our spirits.

During the unusual exhibition Jayne spent the whole day in bed with a succession of escapist, inspiring and uplifting books.

Her novel day off was complete with cups of tea, biscuits, a cat at the end of the bed, a telephone off the hook, lots of fluffy pillows and a warm duvet and, of course, a pile of books to fill 24 hours.

And the books Jayne picked for the day included The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Castaway, Get the Life You Want and 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences.

She said: “This is something I try and do three or four times a year myself. I always find reading a chapter a night is never enough so I try and spend the whole day surrounded by everything I need and just read.

“It’s a bit like a ‘duvet day’ but with a bit more planning. I can recommend it to everyone as it is really relaxing.

“There is also a serious side to this though, as I really believe promoting literacy is a welcome idea.

“If the bed-in inspires just one child to pick up a book then it has all been worthwhile. Story-telling is so important and we shouldn’t take it for granted.”

The former primary school head teacher has owned the Watermill book shop with her husband Kevin for the past three years, and the couple were proud to receive the Independent Book Shop of the Year Award 2008 from Alexander McCall Smith last year.

Jayne said: “I’ve been getting lots of comments from customers about being in bed instead of working, but everyone has had a smile on their face when they spot me so it has been well worth it.

“Reading is totally recession proof, and in today’s climate that really is saying something. All I’m hoping people take from this is that picking up a new book, or an old favourite, is a great way of getting away from the stresses and strains of life.”

The couple also help to promote child literacy in the Aberfeldy area by holding free after school book club classes, with up to 50 kids signing up to attend each week.

The John Lennon-style bed-in was also a huge hit with customers at the Watermill bookshop.

Douglas Craig, 61, a retired folk singer, said: “It’s very unusual to see someone in bed when you pop into a book shop, but after a chat with Jayne it all makes so much more sense.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea, as anything that gets people to read more can only be beneficial.

“She’s an inspiration for people to keep on reading, and enjoying, books.

The Watermill is an award-winning bookshop, art gallery, music shop and café, all housed in a restored grade ’A’ listed former watermill building in Aberfeldy, Perthshire.

It is the largest bookshop in the rural Highlands, stocking over 10,000 books.