The Aardvark Blog

The Aardvark Blogger is always busy!

Lots going on with events and visitors to the bookshop. Not to mention plans for next year, markets and fairs, author events, live music and much more. Keep looking in to find out about everything that is happening in the bookshop in the middle of nowhere.

Beautiful Winter Morning, Non-stop phone calls, plans for the year2nd February 2019

Driving into the village this morning I thought again how lucky we are to live and work in such a stunning ( and undiscovered ) area. The snow of a few days ago has completely disappeared and the surrounding hills were shining with reflected sunlight. I would add a photograph, but I have learnt over the years that it is almost impossible to capture the beauty of this Herefordshire landscape. It has an indefinible charm and a character that is utterly different from the mid-Welsh countryside, or the South Shropshire landscape - even though both are only a few miles away.

This last week has been a quiet one in the shop ( snow and ice have a tendency to deter our customer base), which has given us the opportunity to work through some of the jobs that have been delayed by the unusually busy start to January that we experienced this year. On a positive note our fourth quarter figures are now in and they show a substantial jump on the sales we achieved in 2017. Some of this is attributable to the milder weather we had this December, but I think it is also due to the hardwork of all who work in Aardvark to make the shop look the best it has ever looked.

I have also had time to go through some of our purchasers from previous years that having been bought never made it out of their boxes in the warehouse. It is inevitable that this will happen when we are busy - however hard I try to process books at the time - but it does mean that at this time of year I always make some pleasant discoveries as for example I am re-united with some books on Indian Art and Dance that I bought three years ago at auction and which have been buried ever since. Next week I have two house clearances coming up, but I am trying to resist the siren call of book purchasing ahead of a huge amount of books that we are earmarked to buy at London Bookfair next month.

This morning I have been dealing with a series of telephone calls from customers wanting to know whether we have specific titles and whether we are open. Amazingly we managed to avoid almost all the snow over the last few days so there is no problem getting to us ( the snow reached Gloucestershire and Powys but somehow missed us almost entirely).

Our plans for the year are well under way and we are receiving photographs of art works from some of the artists we will be showing. Chatting to Kim about this year's 'Out of the Hills' I am amazed by the number of contributors whose work is unfamiliar to me. The depth of artistic talent in this area is so great  that you can be unaware of the work of people who are working only a few miles away. Speaking of outstanding local talents I was sad to be told of the death of Islwyn Watkins the artist and dealer who was such an important part of life in Knighton over many decades. I first met him in the 1980's and his enthusiasm for ceramics fired my own love of  the art form. For a wonderful appreciation of his life and work visit https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/jan/27/islwyn-watkins-obituary

Finally don't forget two Aardvark events happening this month. First up we have a meeting of our alternative Bookclub 'Light Prints' from 6pm on the 19th of February, then from 9.30am on the 27th of February we have our next 'Poetry Breakfast' hosted by Anna Dreda.

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