All those kids

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Three families came up from Adelaide and visited a book shop! There were so many kids staring at the shelves that had my shop been a boat, it would have tipped up and sunk at the Enid Blyton end. The mothers, commandos, moved supremely, directing, agreeing (about Roald Dahl), settling issues (pocket money), herding, narrowing eyes when necessary, agreeing to purchases, handing on a legacy.

The smallest child carried around a bear. She gazed at Dr Who, unhappily I thought.

A boy bought an Atlas of the World, and said, ‘Thanks, it’s really pretty here in a good way.’ I gave him a discount because he was a gem.

A man, unrelated, bought one book, sulkily I thought, and asked if I thought that these kids would actually read any of the books they had. I gave him no discount because he was a dickhead.

The children hummed and bobbed and jogged and said, ‘I’ve already read that, it’s about a cave.’

Their mothers looked at titles, heads to the side, lips pursed. They snapped books shut, and said, ‘Ok’. They were efficient. They didn’t need a bag. They commanded for someone to hold the door. They glided out into the cold, all the bobbins following, saying, ‘But you know how in Percy Jackson, his mum is called Sally…’

 

After 4pm, and cold

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That’s Leonardo da Vinci.

I know.

Saw it the other night.

So cute.

I know.

There are high school students here, walking about the shop. They always move so slowly, lean against the shelves to discuss something else. They examine books seriously, stroke the spines, put them carefully back.

I love that one.

That’s like my 6 year old brother.

Omg, that’s cool. Fiction.

Captain Cook.

What’s this music?

These girls tip their heads back to listen better.

I know.

Omg, what is it? My mum knows this music.

I know what it is. They played that at sports day.

No.

I’ll look it up.

They were holding onto a Complete Shakespeare. Amazed at the size of it. They stare down at the cover. One girl swings the book gently, exaggerating the weight. She places it back and looks at it sitting there.

He wrote all this. I love this book. My mum will kill me if I get this. It’s like, what about your bedroom, like, all the time.

I know. It’s Sound of Music. I think, this music. I got a crate for mine.

Oh yeah.

Do you want to read this?

Maybe.

Omg, is that what Roald Dahl looks like?

I love him.

So do I. Did you read Witches?

Yeah.

Same.

I have to go.

Omg, so do I. I’m getting this next time.

I love this owl.

Same.

Then they leave. As they pass me, they say, thank you, thanks, thanks….and then they are outside and gone, floating away in the cold wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thelma and John

59830ceb33ff5_67WYiHWr__700Thelma and John are regular visitors to the shop. I met them one summer when it was hot and they were concerned for their garden and worried about never finding a copy of The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. They have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, they finish each other’s sentences and find many things hilarious, especially the illustrations of The Gumnut Babies by May Gibbs and especially the picture of the banksia man running away with a gumnut baby upside down.

John loves railway artists and Sherlock Holmes. Thelma, at the moment, loves Roald Dahl. Today John is telling me about Charles Dickens, he has read most of these books. He is telling me about Dombey and Son, which is sad, sombre and just sad. This fellow, Dombey, wanted a son to carry on the business but the baby of course is born sickly. John is hilarious; following the memories of the story in his head (Dickens used so so many words… I shouldn’t tell you anymore…I won’t tell you anymore).

Thelma and John just keep on living on, they have put down roots into the things they love. Alongside their medley of conventional health problems, their lives seeming to grow bigger, richer and deeper as they grow older and slower, telling me about their fabulous library, their fabulous family and the fabulous garden, this fabulous wine, and a fabulous shed where John has an easel and Thelma has flower pots.

Suddenly, today, a young girl appeared at their elbow as they talked to me. She had a copy of The Fault in our Stars which she wanted me to put aside for her until tomorrow when she would have some money.

Thelma swept forward, majestic, delighted and paid for the book herself and presented it to the child, who accepted it anxiously, speechless, delighted.