The 1000 yard walk - past Waitrose

Nicki and I started Mostly Books for largely lifestyle reasons, and to fulfill our dream. Certainly the "make more money than Croesus and retire early" part of it was scotched early on in the business planning stage, once we 'did the math', but lifestyle is definitely still top of the agenda. There is a very pleasant walk to work from where we live to the shop, along the river. Never mind that often we're running a bit late, and one of us has to drop the other off in the car: the theory is that the day starts with a pleasant walk into work - and this morning I was able to do just that. Bliss.

I read somewhere that - when performing - Elvis Presley would insist on having his trailer exactly 1000 yards from the venue. During this 1000 yard walk, no matter what state he was in (from drugs, drink, squirrel burgers, etc.) by the time he got to the stage, he was in the mindset of 'The King' that would allow him to perform.

I can't say exactly what the mindset of a bookseller is yet, and my walk this morning was a tad over 1000 yards, but there's definitely something in this. A nice walk, fresh air, getting in the mood to talk to people about books. And the walk home this evening allowed me to slough off the day before getting back to the house.

Today we suffered a mix-up with our local Waitrose. At 2pm today we hadn't had our scheduled delivery of books from Gardners, and as there were a couple of customer orders in there ("yes, they will definitely be here today") I was getting a little nervous. I then got a phonecall from someone called Rob at Waitrose: "We've got your books". 

Waitrose is about 5 minutes walk from us (in fact, if I'm in a hurry, it's faster to walk home through their car park). Plenty of our customers take advantage of the car parking there to pop in. So I ran round there to see what had happened. They had received an order from Gardners (now we know where they get their books!) and the Parcel Force guy had lobbed out our box along with theirs (they had more boxes than us - sob). They had already unpacked and checked off all the books, but I think 'Rob' smelled a rat when he came across some Betjeman poetry, a 1940s Agatha Christie anthology, "My Name Is Red" by Orhan Pamuk, and an obscure hardback children's book called "The Runaway Dinner". We're no longer in Kansas, etc. Anyway - thanks to Rob for tracking our shop down and giving us a ring. What a star.


  1. Thanks!
    I am drafting a blog post about the challenges of public speaking, especially the issue of getting one's head in the right place, and I too had heard about the legend of the walk. So I Googled "Elvis 1000-yard walk" and your post came up #1. Your piece confirmed my suspicion and is an entertaining read to boot!

  2. Thanks for your comment Michael, glad you enjoyed the post. I now cycle to the shop some mornings as well, and that also helps to get the bookselling head together.

    I think most NLP practitioners would emphasise the importance of doing something physical, on a regular basis, to improve your mental state, performance - or if you are trying to give up a bad habit.