All set for Thursday

Right - the shop is cleaned inside and out. The wine arrives tomorrow and I think we're all ready for our big do tomorrow night (we're ready, although as a first *event* it is possible it'll be me and a lot of wine and books). Oh, and apparently the mayor *is* coming, so shame on me for thinking he wouldn't make time in his busy schedule. So make that me, the mayor, his wife and a load of wine and books. (Am I beginning to sound at all nervous about this?) And a pity that two of our recent orders disappeared en route from Gardners, one of which contained the book our MP ordered... Anyone who may be reading this blog and thinking what a grand life the bookselling life is (we may have given that impression from time to time) should come round and mop the floor. I try to convince myself it's a spiritual activity that connects me in a deeper way to the shop, or somehow generates some form of karma in making the business a success. But let's face it, it's a menial task I find it impossible to get enthusiastic about. I only take heart that when little Johnny is let loose in the children's room whilst Mum browses, he doesn't come out looking like he's been up a chimney. Our post about the risk of Waterstones opening in Abingdon generated quite a bit of advice and comment. Nicki and I really appreciate it. Our strategy will be:
  • Don't worry about it until we know something more tangible (although we took note of all the advice from Mr Laties and others).
  • Continue with our policy of developing our lovely bookshop as our first priority and, really, the only thing we have real control over.
  • Start making offerings and the odd sacrifice to the "Good Luck" message from Tim Waterstone proudly on display on the wall behind our counter. (Perhaps we could start with ritual disembowling of some of our least-loved books??)

I went to a talk given by Tim Waterstone just as our idea of opening a bookshop looked like becoming a reality - and of course, bought his book. I seem to remember that when Tim started Waterstones, he'd been booted out of WHSmith and effectively carried out a 15 year vendetta to squash them into the dirt (they in turn allegedly ran an internal corporate 'book' taking bets on when he'd go bankrupt - nice, eh?).

I don't think Waterstones would be quaking in their boots over anything we do.

Talking of getting inspiration from great booksellers, I had to go to London yesterday, and took the opportunity to wander a couple of times around Waterloo until I located Crockatt & Powell (both the bookshop and the owners themselves). I urge anyone in London (and outside for that matter) to seek them out, marvel in the utter wonderfulness of their stock selection, and (of course) buy a book or seven. Adam, Matthew, it was a pleasure to meet you both, and, as through the blog you were generous to a fault in advice and inspiration.

I'd like to repeat our invite for anyone in the blogosphere thinking of coming tomorrow evening. 6-8pm, wine and books. Lots of both. We hope to see you here.


  1. There is never, ever, too much wine.

  2. And a very good time was had by all! The Foulsham family all enjoyed the event - Ben (age 2) headed straight for the children's book room, and Ruth (age 6) sat and read a chapter of a book with a friend that she hadn't seen for 2 years!
    And I managed to pick up a book that I had my eye on for a couple of months. Sally commented that it's all too easy to spend money in Mostly Books.
    Congratulations on a really good event.

  3. And I'm so sorry I didn't make it, we considered it but then decided neither of us could endure the Whiddon Down roadworks debacle on the A30.
    I was thinking of you and also the money I would doubtless have spent!

  4. Sorry for the lack of report - we've spent two days clearing up the wine stains! We expected Friday to be very quiet - but quite the contrary.

    I dropped Alex off with his grandparents this morning - fully dressed in pirate gear - for his cousin Sam's 5th birthday party, so Nicki and I are both in the shop now. Hopefully we'll get round to posting later today...