I Have had a really sociable week this week, and people have been soooo nice to me. If we could build this bookshop on love we'd be open by now, seriously. Oh, and a couple of people are fond of Simon too.
1) Meet me in the crowd.
I have been stopped by people in the street. "Are you the guy who's opening the bookshop?" they ask. "We think what you're doing is fantastic!" How do they know it's me? Could it be the hat? The picture in the paper? The large sandwich board, emblazoned with the words 'I AM THE GUY WHO IS OPENING THE BOOKSHOP' on it? We will never know..... Unless we ask.
2) Take it into town
I went for lunch with my old boss, Sabine Bassler (possibly my best friend in bookselling) on Tuesday. Took the train out to Beckenham with ex-colleague Clare Chamberlain (possibly my best friend in bookselling). Drank far too much wine for a lunchtime, whilst wallowing in their adoration (that last bit may only have happened in my head) Was only two hours late to pick my boys up from school..... I had phoned a friend (the lovely Caroline, but a little more about her later) to get them for me, I'm not that bad a dad. All in all it was a lovely day. Good food, good company. Lovely.
3) Gold and Silver Shine
Took some forms to the bank on Thursday. The Branch where our small business advisor, Meena, has her office is based is in Walthamstow, which gave me the opportunity to visit my old boss, Sabine Bassler (possibly my best friend in bookselling) who is the lovely manager of Walthamstow's Waterstone's and have a fast food lunch with ex-colleague Clare Chamberlain (possibly my best friend in bookselling) Who is a lovely senior bookseller. I also had brief chats with some of my old colleagues, and checked up on the lovely John Chafer, who worked with Simon and me at Wood Green and transfered to Walthamstow after the closure. He has settled in pretty well. Not surprising really, he had the best trainers in the business (and I ain't talking 'bout his shoes)
4)Where the Flowers Grow
Whilst in the Waterstone's branch I met the absolutely gorgeous Amanda Lees (who blatently plugged her own book on this very blog) She was doing an event for the branch, and - I discovered - telling all my old chums how brilliant Simon and I were (particularly Simon, but I soon put paid to that) Amanda is funny, intelligent and - to be frank - a bit of a smasher. From the little I heard of her talk, and from the chat we had afterwards, I get the idea that she is the ideal London author. She covers all the age groups from teenage up, and has the kind of affection for booksellers that is quite rare among authors. Yes, all authors love bookshops, but Amanda genuinely likes the people in the bookshops. She will definately be invited to our shop when it's up and sprinting. Another lovely day... Only five minutes late to pick up the boys.
5) Shiny Happy People Laughing
Through out the week Simon and I have come into contact with plenty of miscellaneous lovely people, and here are some of them: Stephen Moore, lovely journalist for the Hornsey Journal, who always makes me sound a lot more intelligent than I am. Karen Cooper, lovely old Hammicks chum of mine, who is a bit of an IT expert. She gave me a list of questions to ask that will make me look more intelligent than I am. A lovely researcher for a TV production company, who may be responsible for undoing all the good work that Stephen and Karen have done. The lovely ladies in the Campsbourne School office, who have just handed me over thirty entries into the 'Bookshop Name' Competition. The lovely Mrs Soopramanian, Teacher of class 6S of Campsbourne, who has obviously encouraged all her class to enter the 'Name' comp, and has entered herself. The ever-so-lovely Debbie Goodwin, of Wood Green library who let us take photos of ourselves in the teen library, and is just all round great. And last but not least.....
6) Put it in Your Hands
....The lovely Caroline, for providing me with the best moment of the week. I was chatting with a couple of parents in the school playground one morning. When Caroline walks up, hits me with a cheeky grin, hands me a rolled up piece of material and says "You left your pants at my house last night!" and she's gone, leaving me speechless, laughter ringing in my ears.
For anyone who's interested, the material turned out to be my oldest son's football shorts. Honest. Oh, and my witty come back "I wonder who she was?" came too late.... Two days too late.
Throw Your Love Around...... Oh yes.