Peggy has a new t shirt: it is milkshake pink and says: Dance with the Fairies, Ride with the Unicorns, Swim with the Mermaids and Fly to the Moon. She said to me: Here I am, 84 and shifting house again!
I said: well at least you aren’t moving interstate anymore. And why don’t you move up here to Strathalbyn anyway? She said: God!! Imagine it! It’s too quiet here. I need action in my life. I said well, when you get old you will feel differently. She said: I’m twice your age and she shrieked laughing and made her little dog jump in alarm. She always brings him into the shop even though she isn’t allowed to.
Joe was waiting patiently to talk more about the Nullarbor. He said the best way to see it is in a truck. He reminded me that he needed some more books about seeing the Nullarbor from a truck.
Peggy listening in said: Strewth! That would be pretty boring reading wouldn’t it?! She told me how when she lived at Woomera, her wretched first husband burnt all her books in the back yard to get his own back.
A small girl in the front room told her dad that if he didn’t make thirty runs at cricket today he would be dropped back to the B grade. He looked glum. He had a small selection of science fiction which he put back on the shelf. Best spend his time at the stumps…
Yvonne was in a mess with her chocolate rum balls – she rang to say she would come on the weekend to pick up the Uncle Remus.
I was asked for anything by Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung. And then for Pride and Prejudice.
Dick, who is 94, came by to pick up a tennis biography and would not use his gift voucher. He said he would use proper money thank you very much…
One morning a young reader told me that it upsets her that people do not know about Swallows and Amazons.
On another morning a very young couple bought some art history books and Robert peered over at their selection and later said that he had wanted some of those books. I told him that he had to look around more carefully and he was aghast. Then I triumphantly produced his volumes two and three of The Journey to the West (translated by Professor Anthony Wu) from under the counter and he was ecstatic. He added that he can now play most of Fur Elise on the piano and it is good enough to make a recording.
I am asked for The Mayan Trilogy. A young father told me that his son, who is twelve, is devouring the Ancient Greeks.
When I went to the bakery, three old ladies were scolding their friend for reading the road signs wrongly and getting them to the wrong town. They told her: if you won’t wear your glasses you’ll have us on the moon next. But she was eating an enormous iced bun and did not look sorry. I wondered if they would visit me next door but they didn’t.
Instead there was Sharon waiting at the door and looking stricken because there was a volume with an olive green and silver cover she could see through the glass but could not get at it. She said to me that heaven better be a library or something or when she gets there she will say: What the hell?
She always talks and talks, taking flight into a new idea with each volume she handles. She examines every book with reverence. She wants to own every book there is. I understand her completely. She tells me that she gave her Moby Dick away and then suddenly wanted it back. But she had to buy it back because they would not give it to her. She says: oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh….
She murmurs half stories and quarter lines but no complete stories. She says: I read Bonjour Tristesse in college and it was so sexual….
…my sister has all of the Wizards of Oz but she’s not going to read them, she’s such a bitch like that…oh my gosh this is The Pepys….do you remember….Alison Uttley…I will get this Blake…I will get this Dante….I might get…this…do you have The Good Earth….I want to read Hemingway….do you have Virginia Woolf still….do you like my shoes? I just got them for an interview this morning…..maybe I will get this Poe…do you have Han Suyin……