Retail therapy

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WOULD-BE trekkers who find themselves buried under an avalanche of camping brochures and equipment, are offered a handy lifeline by the Youth Hostel Association. Branches of YHA Adventure Shops are supplying 'user-friendly' fact sheets to help the confused traveller choose suitable gear. The individual guides, with notes on usage and prices, cover such topics as rucksacks, sleeping bags, tents, footwear and waterproofs.

The waterproofs guide, for instance, explains the mysteries of TX10i, Triple point 1200 and Tactel, in a brochure that helps you choose a hill-walking jacket which will breath better than you at altitude.

Available from YHA Adventure shops, for more information call 0784 458625.

AN UNUSUAL selling exhibition that explores the decorative use of lettering in hand-made one-off craftwork is being held in Liverpool. To the Letter will show examples of book- binding, textiles, ceramics and jewellery. The literary section, which is the most likely to appeal to collectors, includes bookbindings, hand-printed book covers, hand-marbled notebooks and wood engravings.

Exclusive crafts for sale (or available by special commission) include Howard Fenn's ebony bristle hairbrushes each inlaid with a silver letter (from pounds 150), Julia Carter Preston's richly inscribed coloured ceramic plates and bowls featuring commemorative lettering (from pounds 285) and Joan MacKarrel's one-off enamel jewellery, decorated with a shorthand script based on that of James Joyce (from pounds 150).

To the Letter will run from 13- 31 July at the Bluecoat Display Centre, Bluecoat Chambers, School Lane, Liverpool 1.

RETURNING to England after a 15-year sojourn in America left Bill and Vivien Nadel pining for America's better homegrown products, most of which were impossible to find in Britain. Their answer to the problem was to open their own store, 'Made in America', and import the goods themselves. They sell native American goodies including Californian Redwood bird-feeders, US mail boxes, basketball kits, sweatshirts, country crafted painted furniture, and maple jewellery boxes.

Made in America, Unit 5B, Hathaway Retail Park, Foundry Lane, Chippenham, Wiltshire. Five minutes south of junction 17 on the M4 alongside Texas Homecare (0249 447558).

VINYL Experience claims to be London's first rock and pop memorabilia store. Besides the original stage from the celebrated Marquee Club, it houses a large collection of pop-related artefacts and a plethora of photographs, posters, autographs, instruments, clothing, original art work, books, contracts and rare records.

Vinyl Experience, 19 Hanway Street, London W1 ( directly behind the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street) 071-636 1281.

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