the discworld emporium


So I actually got to visit the Discworld Emporium at the start of the month. Wincanton itself didn’t really float my boat (but it was pouring with rain so I didn’t exactly spend ages looking round, just dashed into the shop) but the Emporium was just as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be!

The photos above were all taken by me on my visit but somehow they just don’t capture the utterly glorious atmosphere of the little shop – all that concentrated Discworldishness and Pratchettness just can’t be conveyed in pixels!

I spent all the money I’d put by for the visit – I could have spent much more, you have no idea how tempting it was to break out the credit card. The best bit of the visit, though, was talking to the man behind the counter who:

1) told me what it was like to work with Terry (just about as awesome as you’d expect)

2) chatted about the rise and demise of Clarecraft (and how ridiculous some of the prices on e-bay are), and

3) told me that just last week an elderly gentlemen had visited the shop to look at the Discword stamps and it turned out he was the man that had helped Bath museum to get an old stamp press back to working order so that the Emporium could start making stamps (Terry was the one who persuaded Bath museum that they wanted to part with it). Apparently the gentleman was absolutely lovely but quite bemused that so many people want to buy stamps that are not “real ones”!

I did, as promised, buy a couple of things to do a giveaway style thing with and I’ll try and get that up in the next week or so.

The Art of Shambles, by Miss Tick

A shamble: A handmade device for the focusing of magic. Like a lens, its primary uses include detecting, magnifying and projecting - in this instance - of magic.

‘Coincidence’ is an arrogant sort of a word, I’ve always thought. It takes all the glory and does none of the work.

It’s a word for when ‘fate’, ‘magic’ and, sometimes even, ‘miracle’ have been sat on the naughty step for being altogether too interesting.

The fact your mother and your father were of compatible genders, and indeed species, was an overwhelming stroke of luck. That they happened to be in the same place, on the same day and furthermore, though that it would be a jolly nice idea to knock boots to see what happened, well that depended on an astronomical array of variables. Remarkably, their mothers and their fathers managed a similar unutterably unlikely feat. As did their parents, and their before them. In fact, the chance of you existing in this place at this time is nothing short of magnificently, awe-inspiringly, jaw-droppingly improbably or, if you prefer, a bit of a ‘coincidence’.

The here and now is the pinnacle of hundreds of millions of little ‘coincidences’, of chances, all lined up in the exact fashion needed to produce this precise moment. This is where I find the power of my shambles. It is the coming together of objects which, against all probability, somehow conspired to be right here, right now, right when I needed them. The magic lies in the moment. Too often we let parts of ourselves wander off to the future, wondering what;s for dinner or allowing our memories to drag the past into the now. Building a shambles focuses the mind. It anchors you to one precise moment, and believe me, when a witch gathers all of herself in one place at one time, she can have a significant bearing on the next poor unsuspecting moment that comes along.

Of course, this is simply my way. We each make and use them differently, and a shambles in itself is not to be considered magical, but rather as a tool of magic. After all, owning a chisel doesn’t make one a sculptor, but it doesn’t half help. Shambles can be used for many things in many ways, but there are rules. The shambles must be built at the time it is to be used and from items that happen to be around you. It doesn’t hurt to have a few suitable items about your person in case of emergencies; after all, why can’t a well-stocked pocket serve as an eldritch agent of destiny on occasion? A shamble must contain an element of life; a beetle, an egg, a seed perhaps, and it must look the part (after all we are witches), but most importantly it must feel right.

- from 2016 Discworld Diary: A Practical Manual for the Modern Witch, by Terry Pratchett, aided and abetted by the Discworld Emporium

The Discworld Atlas has been compiled under the aegis of the Unseen University’s Department of Cruel and Unusual Geography, benefiting from the expert knowledge of Professor Rincewind, whose recollection of his travels is so remarkably clear that he did not find it necessary to revisit any location to further the department’s work on this volume.

–Introduction to The Compleat Discworld Atlas | Terry Pratchett and the Discworld Emporium, The Compleat Discworld Atlas