Two gentlemen at the front window of the shop:
‘Don’t rush me.’
‘What about that there?’
‘No, don’t rush me. I’m not one for reading. But what do you think of this fellow?’
These gentlemen, obviously friends, were outside and leaning over the sill display. The lucky “fellow” was Lee Child. They came in, and one of them picked up the book and brought it to me. They adjusted their masks trying to speak clearly.
‘Lovely day, Ma’am.’
‘Can you look after this for a bit?’
I looked up later and saw them in Cooking. Silent, both reading standing up, hats held under an elbow, breathing quietly, as you do. Later again, one of them in the chair, the other leaning against the shelf, still reading, still reading.
They finished eventually and returned to the counter with The Book of Sauces.
‘This is wonderful. Will you put these through?’
The man who paid handed the Lee Child to his friend.
‘Here. Happy birthday. Didn’t get time to wrap it.’
‘Wrap it. You better wrap it for me.’
But he was already reading it as they left. No time for wrapping.
They said, ‘Thank you Ma’am, much obliged. A lovely day.’