Today I feel I am Charlie Bucket. At the beginning of January I felt like his old decrepit grandparents sitting upright in bed and eating cabbage soup for dinner being as dull as a beige polo shirt but now I am vibrant, prosperous young Charlie with his golden ticket. Only mine doesn’t allow me an endless supply of sickly treats, mine is an endless supply of books- which if you know me ignites the same amount of excitement.
Today I won life’s lottery. Just over a week ago I went for a coffee with my friend Naomi in Brighton and we met in the lovely big Waterstones, a perfect choice for two booklovers. After chatting and laughing for a while we take to exploring the titles and recommending novel after novel to eachother, selecting them from the shelves like indulgent truffles from a jewel encrusted box. Usually when I enter book shops my heart starts pumping and my chest swells as my eyes scan the shelves and I devour title after title. Today was no different, my heart bursting with sheer joy as I lusted over the front cover illustrations and the delicate writing adorning the spines.
I then get hit in the face with an idea that makes me feel foolish for being so blind to it before- Why don’t I work in a bookshop?
I go on and on about my love for writing, words and books yet apart from my tiny (yet beautiful and highly important) collection I am seldom around them. It occurs to me that the healthiest environment I could possibly inhabit is that where I am surrounded by what fills me with a great deal of happiness, right? So why don’t I work in a bookshop? I am THEE perfect candidate. I am passionate about the product that’s for sure, I have some knowledge of authors, writing styles, genres etc. and what I don’t know I will be more than willing to learn. I am good with people and genuinely care about what they have to say in terms of literature and I’m quiet and peaceful. So there’s my mini bookshop personal ad.
The day after I return back to London I get up early and make the strange and spontaneous decision to walk (yes walk) from Brixton to Covent Garden which is about 3.3 miles and takes about 1 hour 20. The night before I had googled the top 10 most beautiful independent bookshops in London- and one in particular stuck out to me. So after hitting a few on the way just to dip my toes in and stopping for a quick snack of homemade falafel I make my way to Regents Canal where like all instances of love at first sight I almost choke to death on the sudden realisation that I am unequivocally and undeniably teenage girl, faint dramatically, head over heels in love with a bookshop barge.
I approach said barge with a delicate caution, like it is a tissue-papered gift that I am being careful not to damage with my prying fingers. I peer inside with childish curiosity and with all my dreams coming true at once, climb aboard. To my giddy delight they have first additions. They have classics. They have poetry. They have modern literature, fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies, mythical tales, the bloody lot. I’ve seen quite enough and I hop off in search for the lucky sods who get to call this place work. Sat on the walkaway alongside the canal are two gentleman and a dog, basking in the glorious winter sunlight.
“Are you the two lucky gentleman who get to work here?”
“Yes indeed we are”
“What do I need to do? Tell me what it is I need to do and I’ll do it”
So ladies and gentleman you are now reading the blog of Words on Water’s newest volunteer, this chapter of my life is about to become a whole lot more interesting (pun intended)