He came in to browse and told me that his wife was Dux of Woodville High School, but three weeks ago had walked out of his life. He knelt down to examine all the bottom shelves and said that the books were wonderful. Just wonderful; especially the bird books.
Then he sang me a hymn and asked if I knew it. I didn’t. He found a book on Scotland (The History of) and told me about his Scottish parents. He began to make a pile of books while he talked.
‘I’m worried about this generation. All they do is sit on the couch and drink fat.’
He said he didn’t hold with televisions, and that he badly needed a cup of tea.
‘After my wife left me, I had to do something with my life, so I started lifting weights. I’m 77, and you probably don’t believe it.’ I said it was amazing.
‘I just got the first TV of my life the other day. It’s for my new lady, and I’ve put it in its own room. Not with the books. Young people don’t know about the war.’
He went into the other room for a while. Then he came back.
‘Everything, Honey, has a city mentality. Even the birdlife. People only think of coffee and cakes. It’s artificial. I once knew some idiot called Charlie who was like that’.
He sang me another hymn, which I admired. Then he paid for his books, told me that he can’t abide a show off, and said goodbye.
Himself, a flash of unique bright birdlife, gone!