Send Me An Email!

I am sitting in the dining-room, watching a blackbird climb over the rockery in the sunshine, prodding at a plant with his yellow beak in a sort of timid-aggressive fashion. The rain stopped half an hour ago, and everything else glistens peacefully in the sunlight. He has started his day’s work, and, I suppose, I must start mine.
Perhaps this seems ordinary to you, but for me it is as strange as waking up to find myself an insect or discovering I am really the Duke of Transylvania, and have never know it. You see, for the last quarter of a Century, six days a week, I have dressed appropriately for the season, eaten a hasty breakfast and set out for my shop in Cecil Court. And there I was on public display, something between a monkey at a zoo and a holiday rep., surrounded by people. There were people everywhere: walking down the street, crowding in and out of the shop door, jostling each other, falling over the books on the floor, asking me questions, telling me this and that with varying degrees of civility and sense: people, moving and talking.
Here I have the quietness and serenity for which I always thought I longed. Customers often described my shop (along with other, less complimentary epithets) as Victorian. One high-flying American technocrat, with a secret passion for boy’s adventure yarns, revelled, on each of his annual visits in the fact my clock constantly lost time, or stopped altogether, that there was never, for some reason, a good mobile phone signal in the shop and that his crisp white shirt became grimy with dust as he browsed.
But if my working life than was broadly Dickensian (a word frequently applied to my working methods), it now hovers uneasily between the worlds of Kafka and Samuel Beckett. Have you read the story by Beckett in which there is nothing but two people dosing in an empty white room, or seen his play Happy Days, in which a lone female voice talks endlessly into the void?
I am selling books readily enough, but there is something missing. Where have all the people gone?