The Aardvark Blog
A wet day ...
A wet day ...
There is an old Aardvark saying that wet days bring in customers and today is no exception ( this doesn't work if all the roads around us are flooded as they were last year). The on-line orders are also very plentiful, and it looks like this is going to be a long day all round. However Dawn has delivered in fresh cake supplies and we are therefore fully equipped for whatever or whoever arrives.
The tables are now groaning with some of the books that we bought in Frankfurt and there are lots more still to be processed and put out. Biggest sale of the morning so far however is an Ashgate academic book on the Greek Diaspora which has sat innocently on our shelves for some years and today is winging its way out to a customer at a not inconsiderable sum.
It is a strange feature of Aardvark that we have always stocked very expensive titles and have never worried about how long it will take us to sell them. This curiously unbusinesslike attitude is what both makes the bookshop such a joy to visit, and prevents me from taking long winter breaks in the sun ( I have been selling a lot of guide books to far flung warm places recently and it takes its toll on a chap). Still I will no longer have to worry about avoiding my bank manager when I have just made another large purchase of a library, as my bank - who will be nameless - have told me in a 'personal letter' ( what can be more personal than a round robin letter with your name on it) - that they have upgraded my account and I now no longer have a bank manager. Instead I have a business team. When I called to complain about this a member of the business team said that I would be called back with some form of explanation. Needless to say I wasn't. Oh the joys of the modern world.
But fortunately we have books and cake to console us, and Aardvark is always a fantastic source of both.
Finally one of our favourite customers died recently and her funeral takes place next week. Helen was a wonderful warm and knowledgable person and the middle eastern coffee pot that adorns our counter was a present from her to mark the opening of our café. She also worked with my father years ago at the BBC and told me a story that I still cherish. My father fought with the Worcester Regiment in the Far East and on one occasion arrived at a camp in the jungle that was coming under constant fire. Having sorted out the billetting for his men, he was then approached by the ADC to the camp commandant who proceeded to inform him in elegant upper class received pronunciation , that he was very sorry for the poor condition of the officer's mess. To which my father equally elegantly pointed out that it was not the conditions of the mess that exercised him, but the extreme danger of being shot by the enemy because the perimeter was not fully secure. Helen told the story with much more aplomb than I have, and included some of my father's more vernacular expressions. I will miss her as will all her many friends in Church Stretton and elsewhere.
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