Yesterday was my last ever day at Crockatt & Powell, but it was too busy to blog about it then. It feels very weird, since, as Adam and Matthew will tesitfy, I had started to think of the place as partly mine, and would stomp around as if I was in charge, telling the boys (you know, the actual owners) off for failing to tidy the children's section, or not stocking enough Margaret Atwood novels. Now it's just another bookshop, and I wonder how long it will take before I am emotionally capable of purchasing my reading matter from the Stoke Newington bookshop (5 minutes from my house) rather than C&P (an hour and ten minutes, though as we know, they do deliver.) Possibly never.
Here's what I will miss: The boys. The customers. (When I left my last bookselling job, I couldn't wait to see the back of most of our customers, as they were patronising and rude and given to assuming [to give a genuine example] that I had never heard of Picasso. At C&P the customers are, without exception, lovely. I have come to think of many of them - of you - as friends. My favourite part of the job is talking to them / you, if I could do nothing else all day I would be happy. And nobody ever begins to spell Ian McEwan for me when inquiring about which of his books we have in stock.) Being able to go into the other room and tidy the children's section whenever I am feeling agitated about something. (Rearranging the bookshelves at home does not have the same effect.) Meeting loads of interesting authors at our events. The girls and the food at MarshRuby, Lower Marsh's and London's best curry place and my daily lunchtime stop. Manny. Our friendly delivery drivers, reps, and postmen. Free proofs. Being surrounded by books all day. Talking about books all day (may have already mentioned this.)
Here's what I won't miss: The loo - so dirty, so cold, so terrifyingly positioned under the stairs to the flat above us so that every time you're sitting there, there's the fear that someone is going to come crashing down through the ceiling and onto your shivering lap. The cellar (though I did start refusing to go down there several months ago.) The endless phone calls from people trying to get us to change our phone, gas or electricity supplier. Opening the shutters in the rain. Closing the shutters under any circumstances - they are too high for me to reach without balancing on the 1cm-wide window ledges outside, and many is the time I have fallen off whilst trying to grab the edges of the shutters, giving myself blisters and bruises on my fingers as they scrabble on the hard metal. Adam's cycling outfit. Matthew's taste in music (see below). Tidying up after events. Getting up at 7 a.m. The commute.
But I won't be a total stranger - I'll still be running our bookgroup (7pm, first Monday of the month, all welcome.) And of course [plug] when my novel 'Gods Behaving Badly' comes out this August [/plug] I will force the boys to do some kind of event / signing / filling up the windows with copies and a cardboard cut-out of myself holding a pen and looking clever. And I still have the password to this blog... You're not quite rid of me yet.