December 11th, 2017

The Bookshop Of My Dreams

I often dream about bookshops. They're always rambling old places- clearly modelled on Hall's Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells which I used to visit on Saturday mornings in my teens. The whole family would drive into town, my sister would be taken off to have clothes bought for her at one of the big department stores on the hill and I'd go downhill to Hall's and browse through the shelves for however long I had. Last time I checked the shop was still there, still looking as though it has changed nothing but its stock since Jane Austen's day. Hall's has two floors but the shops in my dreams have an indefinite number and if I haven't found what I want I just head for the next flight of uncarpeted wooden stairs. Mind you, in dreams I never do find what I'm looking for and the thrill is entirely in the browsing not the purchase. In real life I bought lots of splendid things- some of which I still have.

The photograph was taken a few years back.

Nearly Bed Time

It's been snowing across the UK. In most places it settled; it didn't here. I've got the beginnings of some sort of winter poorliness and am wearing a blanket with sleeves over my clothes- which (combined with the smoking cap I use to keep my head warm) makes me look like a beardless Dumbledore.

Keith Chegwin died. Only Brits are likely to know who he was. He played Fleance in Polanski's Macbeth and went on to become a hyperactive children's TV presenter. He was very difficult to dislike. In later years he upset Mrs Grundy by compering a game show for nudists in which he was naked too and guest-starred in Ricky Gervais's Extras as a monstrous version of himself. He'd been ill for a while. He was 60.

My mother is watching Nigella Lawson prepare Christmas food.