As I am unwrapping a parcel of books there are two workmen passing the window and they are hurrying and cold. One says: I will buy you lunch and the other answers him: I’ve had lunch you dickhead.
They are loud and an old lady turns to me and says “Well!”
Another older couple came in and stride grimly through each room and then tell me as they leave that the weather is ridiculous.
I am unwrapping some books and they are for me. They are my last two volumes of the Journals of Anais Nin and have arrived in the post today and I unwrap them and say to a customer that I ought to lock the door and just read now and they say it is hardly fair that I live here in paradise.
But Robert is approving. He is on the way to a funeral but stops here to complain about the bank. He does not appreciate having to wait in a queue because this robs him of reading time. I said that I understood.
A young man bought A History of Chinese Philosophy and said that it would see the cold weather out.
Vernon discussed Game of Thrones with me and said that I should not become attached to any of the characters, not even the direwolves. He said that all history is ugly and Game of Thrones at least portrays things as they really were, apart from the dragons.
Then he gave me a list of Bernard Cornwell books that he needed and went off to work. He said good luck with what happens next at Winterfell.
I look at the Anais Nin journals for a while and think about Anais Nin.
A child outside says: mum can we check in here for the ‘just shocking’ books that I still want to get. They continue slowly past in serious discussion. The child lists the titles he needs and he jumps in the air as he recites each one.
I am asked for Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving, The New Bandsaw Box Book, A Biography of Cleopatra by Margaret George, Heart of Darkness, The Brothers Karamazov, Catcher in the Rye, an autobiography of Jimmy Barnes and Vargic’s Miscellany Book of Maps.
A lady asked how much the peacock outside the window costs but I said it was mine and not for sale. She said she had one the like but her friend took it.
A customer returns to lend me her copy of The Magician of Karakosk.
I am looking through a Heath Anthology of American Literature, two volumes which also arrived for me today and they are heavy. And each of them is 3000 pages long and they are second hand, inexpensive and the contents pages list Alice Walker, Lucille Clifton and Elizabeth Bishop…and Flannery O’Connor and more and more that I have never seen.
Robert comes back and I show him the Anthologies of American Literature and he says: ‘wow’. I show him the contents and point out the African American writers, the American Indian writers and the women writers and I know that this will please him. And it does impress him because he wants to buy them both but I have to say that these are not for sale but he can borrow them when I am finished. He says how long will this be and I tell him 100 years and he is even more impressed.
Photography by Roman Kraft