Anne Worms, first lady (what is that about?), chauffeur, camera crew, social secretary, factotum, general aribiter of behaviour and good taste, unpaid assistant and wholly unsung heroine, supplies the final post. The actual facts:
- He’s made me drive well-nigh on a thousand miles in search of fifty or so bookshops, homes and offices – at least half a dozen of which were closed when we got there – and in one spectacular case, very high in the hills, completely non-existent.
- My out-and-out favourite was Cobbles in Dunster – not ABA, not at all ABA, but neat, clean, tidy, airy, and (barring a slight odour of damp dog) well laid out, clearly labelled, full of very reasonably priced books you very well might want to read, no scrabbling around on the floor (or the ceiling, for the matter) to see what the books are, no need to take a torch or a miner’s lamp, no dark nooks, no dusty crannies – just a pleasure to visit. Even bought some books there for myself (and so did he). Listen up and learn, book-people. Most of us don’t want or understand that crazy-paving, huddle-muddle, eccentric book-look any more. Make it easy or we’ll all buy kindles.
- I’ve spent £150 on petrol – at prices ranging from 132.99ppl to 143.99ppl – and no sign yet of being refunded.
- He’s bought 111 books and 16 prints (rather less than the the number of ABA e-mails received on tour that he’s been moaning incessantly about) – had I known what he had in mind, and the terrain involved, I’d have hired a tank – not a little Skoda!
And he’s spent most of the time ignoring me and chatting merrily away to Jane – she’s a robot for God’s sake – but I know a hussy when I meet one and she can go straight back where she came from.
- And now I’m writing his bloody blog for him!
- That said, in fairness, I’ve been mooching in more charity shops than he has bookshops.
- I’ve met some really very lovely people – including a couple of dozen ABA members.
- Apologies to those whose photographs I didn’t take (especially Christopher Saunders, whose water feature and garden deserved a blog on its own) – but I didn’t discover the Smile Button on the camera until Monday in Liskeard. Don’t begin to know what it is, or how it works, but it transformed the outcome. (You should have seen the first picture of Ian Marr).
- There appears to be virtually no difference between a full English, a full Welsh, a full Cornish or a full Devonian breakfast – except that the Welsh version wholly and utterly inexplicably – not to say highly inappropriately – involves French marmalade.
- And credit where credit’s due – all by a country mile or more: Best Breakfast – the Anchor Lights in West Looe. Best Cream Tea – the Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor. Best dinner – the Rock Inn, Haytor Vale, also on Dartmoor, just give them the 2011 Rosette now – we’ve told them to clear a space on the wall.