Diverted further south than we had first intended. Sorry Salisbury, Shaftesbury and environs. We shall return. Began the day at Laurence Oxley’s in Alresford. Usual routine there, great fluttering in the dovecots as to whether a cheque might be acceptable, discount calculated to the very last penny by the highly singular old till. But good to see the place still there – and perhaps the most pleasant town of the whole tour. Drive in, park at will, proper local shops, smiling faces. It’s not all that hard, town-planners.
On to Alton. Stephen Dick at Holybourne Rare Books closed for the day. Did what a good bookseller should – marched across the road to the charity shop and bought three sparkling modern firsts from under his nose. [OK – slight exaggeration for effect – but three books for £3.50]. The First Lady aquires a fabulous coral-coloured skirt, which she solemnly promises to fit into one day. “Which day will that be?” robotically asks Jane, the sat-navigator, as precise and pernickety as always – but perhaps now becoming a little over-familiar. Just get us to the Petersfield Bookshop, Jane, thank you very much.
Meet young Mark Westwood, now brought into the business and promising a far more active presence at book-fairs.
Fantastic to see another generation starting out in the trade. Rambling, sprawling shop, book-filled and great fun. Another carrier-bag for the boot. Decide against the scenic route and a famous hill – car now groaning as well as sagging, cheque-book all played-out.
Our final night on the road with a dear old friend in Tangmere. But why don’t we have a single ABA member in West Sussex? What’s wrong with you Arundel, Bognor, Chichester, Midhurst, Petworth and Worthing? Don’t you care? Aren’t you ashamed? You jolly well should be.
But in any case, we are starting to flag and about ready for home.