July – 2008

Tuesday, July 15th :

Last Friday was very exciting, I spent two hours in the morning working in our wonderful local Stroud Bookshop in Stroud High Street. This was to promote Independent Book Week, which celebrated the wonder of independent bookshops and how essential they are for both readers and writers. Although many of these shops are thriving, they are still battling to compete with the big chains and with Amazon. I had great fun, met lots of lovely customers, and ably assisted by Anne and Claire sold a wide range of books. I also once again once again appreciated how hard booksellers work. Earlier in the day, I had done an interview with Radio Gloucester about my visit to the shop. I could, however, hardly contain my excitement because just before I went on air, I heard on the news that the proposed badger cull had been abandoned in England. Scientific evidence has proved that badgers are not infecting cows with TB – it’s the other way round. I’m truly sorry for the farmers, it must be a bitter blow for them, but I’m so relieved for the dear badgers. The only sadness is that the Welsh are still going ahead with their intended cull, at a massively extravagant estimated cost of £23 million. There was a rally protesting against this in Cardiff on Saturday. I sent along this poster along trying to persuade the Welsh Assembly to change their minds.

Finally, the last time I served in a bookshop was back in the 70s when I spent a riotous day behind the counter at Hatchards, Piccadilly. This was described in the Sunday Times column, which can be read here.

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