I might become a pirate or a rabbit catcher.


A lady brought to the counter a set of poetry books in soft green leather. She stood for a while, holding the books, stroking the covers and running her thumb over the gold on the spines. She said: I am having these.

I looked for the last time at the green and the silver and the soft rich gold of that precise seven volume stack and I said I will miss these and she said: yes.

I am surrounded by breathtaking wealth in here. It gleams and glitters all around me.

A child asked me if all the pirates in books are actually ok. Because he might become one or he might become a rabbit catcher. He stood on one foot and showed the skill of balancing silently in front of the rabbits. I said: this is excellent.

I am surrounded by breathtaking wealth in here. Although my accountant said I have completed another year without making any money at all. I told Robert and he said: what do they know!

A man said to his wife: I could spend all day in here and she said: well you’re not.

John rang to thank me for looking for his train book and I reminded him that I had not found it yet. He said: that’s ok. Keep looking. He asked if I had Triple Crown by Felix Francis but I didn’t.

Sharon messaged me to read Great Expectations over Christmas. She said she backed into a car at a shopping centre and it is Christmas that caused it.

One man looked at my Christmas tree and looked shocked. I said cheerily: only a few weeks to go and he said: oh shit. He bought an Encyclopaedia of Horses.

I was asked for Cranford, The Good Earth, Soul Mountain and The Secret Garden. Kody’s younger brother picked up Kody’s Boy Versus Beast Books and said: These are for Kody, but he probably won’t let me read them.

I am surrounded by glittering wealth in here.

A tiny girl, about three years old was wearing one pink shoe and one black shoe and she dropped her handful of coins on the floor. After half an hour her parents left the shelves to come to the counter and their child was still collecting her coins, slowly, painstaking, one by one. She had one shoe on and the other one was full of the coins. Her mother offered her Possum Magic but she was uninterested. She just wanted to continue her work.

I was urged to read Poor Fellow, My country by Xavier Herbert. A young reader that I have never met asked me to show her a really good book that she would like.

Robert dropped in again to recite for me a poem about the Garden of Eden. I said to him that I am surrounded with glittering wealth in here and he said that I should get rid of the westerns then.

A customer has lent me The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova because it is phenomenal. I begin to read it. I am interrupted with another recommendation: The Yandilli Trilogy by Rodney Hall. Peter asked me to find him two copies of The Existential Jesus by John Carroll. He said it is the most important book ever written and that I should read it.







Your shop is stupid and you are mean…


This morning I was told that the weather is filthy and my shop would be warmer if I fixed the faulty closer on my shop door.

And it is filthy outside. Yesterday somebody’s green bin went down the road broadside and there was a scene when a group of travellers found the bakery closed. They stood outside my shop and said that they ‘couldn’t believe it…’

Then they all left for Goolwa except for the Winnebago driver who stayed back, phoning somebody to tell them that he couldn’t believe it.

Arthur found a copy of The Spanish Bawd (Rojas) and was delighted because he only had a copy in Spanish at home. I noticed he had both pockets stuffed with paperbacks that he had bought before and was still reading. One of them was called Ferdinand and Isabella and it was packed with bookmarks.

He was going now to the bakery to read and I had to tell him that the bakery was closed for renovations. He said that he couldn’t believe it and went out looking tragic.

A young man, who was on the hunt for naval stories predicted that it wouldn’t stop raining until summer. But I am hunting through the counter for a pencil and I am distracted by Samuel Pepys and not concerned about the weather today.

Later, Jai told me a very long story of how the university threw him out of his course. He told me that they, the government and everybody including myself needed to listen to him properly and stop throwing him out of everywhere. He reminded me that I was unkind and that he knew I would throw him out of the shop as I did last time. He said that I was mean to him because he never bought any books and also I had not bought his own book even though it did not cost very much. He said triumphantly that the shop is stupid.

I wondered if he would like a cup of coffee at the bakery (which is closed) but luckily he said he did not need stimulants. Then he left furiously, trying to bang the door but it wouldn’t because the closer is faulty.

I am wondering if I have a proper job when Margaret drops in to lend me another music recording. It is Kathleen Ferrier and she says that I will like this. She says it is good against the winter.

Outside somebody drops a whole bag of fruit onto the wet pavement and I see them leaned against their car in despair.

I look to Samuel Pepys and I read that he often had to lie a bed for a long time. And that in June, 1665, he became terribly sad and was forced to buy some roll tobacco to chaw – which took away his apprehension and the bad smell of himself.

A young reader tells me that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is so textured that it is almost real. I am immensely cheered up. When I am packing up for the day I think that Samuel Pepys is so real that he must have been real.