It is not hard to begin the day when you have been given a tomato.
I was presented with this tomato, a gift, because I had a lucky copy of Cranford which was urgently needed. All day I looked at the tomato because I have never been given such a grateful or unusual or heartfelt gift.
A young man who bought The Little World of Don Camillo said that the tomato was a nice one and that all Don Camillo books were iconic.
Janet bought a copy of Go Set a Watchman because it is on her reading list for next month and hopefully she will get in ahead of time. She said sadly that she cannot keep up with her group no matter how fast she reads. That Pepys got in the way of Salt Creek. And Salt Creek was just flung aside… but then Lady of Hay moved in the front of everything but now she was reading Oliver Sacks. And so on…
I showed her The Commonwealth of Thieves and said that this book came up because of Gould’s Book of Fish and had taken over Olive Kitteridge even though both books were equally good. I said sadly that now I was being devastated by Game of Thrones and that I could not cope with the death of Lady, the wolf hound. Janet was horrified and said I should have tried to hold out for longer. She herself had the whole set at home but had not read them and couldn’t tell her son as he had given them to her for her birthday. I showed her my gift, a tomato, and she said it was a fitting tribute to Cranford because that was written by Elizabeth Gaskell. As she left she told me that her reading group are doing Gone Girl which is good but the sex scenes are far too graphic for her. Also the group does a thorough physiological analysis of the text but she herself just wants to enjoy it.
I had a small amount of time to remove a spider and look through the Game of Thrones paperbacks to consider the reading commitment.
I am told that Elizabeth Jolley does not let the reader make any easy judgements.
Andrew drops in to explain the history of the Lannister family and the brilliant character of Tyrion Lannister. Andrew is sympathetic regarding the death of the wolf hound but warns me not to become emotionally involved with the characters.
A lady has a long conversation on her phone about being in a coma. Then she buys three books by Mary Gentle and tells me that they will come in useful.
I am asked for Rachael Treasure and Herman Hesse
A lady tells me how to dispose of unwanted books and cutlery.
Another customer, looking through the Boy and Beast books with her grandsons tells me that she is really into books. “But where I used to work we couldn’t even give them away, it’s good to see people still trying.”
She tells her grandsons about William Shakespeare, that he was a great literary artist. But one brother was looking through his Skulduggery book and did not attend her information and the other just wanted to go to the bakery.
Harry is looking for King Arthur books and recites several times for me his lines in the play: Young King Arthur and the story of Excalibur.
“And you sir are a rapscallious rascally hooligan and the first cousin of a degenerate scoundrel.”
I am impressed and another customer, David, tells him to keep up the good work. He said he was quite an actor himself a long time ago and once acted in King Lear.
David is here to find a gift for a true friend who lives in Tailem Bend; he is searching for not just anything and wants a book that can express a lifetime of gratitude. I said that I understood; that I too have such a friend. He tells me he might go for Herman Hesse.
He asks about the tomato on my table and I tell him it was a gift and he says the simplest things are the most profound and that I should hand it on, symbolic of all things true.
Serenity, who has dropped in to help me pack up, says that I should eat the tomato and that for a present she would rather have Hover Soccer.