OK, the observant amongst you will know that our opening day was 5 days ago now… So guess what…We… Got… Busy!!! Who’d have thunk it? Planning and building a bookshop is hard work but it is NOTHING compared to the sheer exhaustive adrenaline rush of welcoming people through those newly opened doors and waiting for the 1st verdict. Oh my god, it was terrifying! I’m not going to lie, we both felt sick and one of us was! Naming no names but it wasn’t me.
We have literally poured our entire hearts contents into this dream. This wild and crazy dream that only crept up on us over Christmas 2018, became a gentle breeze until March, kind of blew us off balance until July… and then we got the keys… that’s when the hurricane started and did not lay off, even during our holiday, until Saturday 17th August… then, 9.32am Saturday morning, we opened the doors and then there was an eerie kind of quiet.
What you need to understand is that 3 weeks earlier I had opened a bookshop for (who I now consider) a friend in Edinburgh to queues of people… Where was our queue? Well, to be honest I wouldn’t know because at that very significant moment in my life I had my head in another mans crotch trying desperately to make him Gruffalo ready… Those of you who know me know I know a thing or two about character suits, let me tell you this for FREE… You need an engineering degree to get the Gruffalo ready to meet the public! Our grand plan for the Gruffalo to open our doors at 9.30 on the dot was replaced by 2 sweaty men getting very intimate in a small office used the previous night as an emergency dumping ground for all the toot we had to hide for our party. There was ALL kinds of hazards in that room including, randomly, a bucket of water, bottles of Prosecco, paint pots and “Helpful” teenagers.
Oh how we laughed! You know when you wish you’d tried something on you just bought before you go out in it? That.
Well, finally I made my way upstairs holding Gruffalo’s hand and gladly I did find a few expectant souls in the shop. There definitely wasn’t a queue but there were children excited about being in a Bookshop that clearly was created just for them.
I was too excited and having too many lovely chats with our new shop visitors to think about numbers but boy did we get busy! It was incredible and as the plaudits started rolling in for what we had created we started to see it again for ourselves. For so many weeks we had been under wallpaper, or paint, or sawdust, or boxes we had lost sight of what was rising from the ashes. All the time our dream was being built and it wasn’t really until that 1st child rushed into the toddler room and grabbed a book and exclaimed WOW that we really gained full sight of it again.
Needless to say we had one of the best days of our lives, leave aside the obvious births and marriage. Come 6pm, when we had finally said goodbye to our last customer/friend (I’m not sure which) Leanne and I sat at our new favourite place to sit, our coffee bar and took stock. We high fived. Of course. We kissed, we maybe shed a tear of joy. Then we started our new life. We tidied up, prepared the shop for the next day, and went home. And all that only took us all of 4 hours! We will have to get better at that.
There are a LOT of people we need to thank for getting us here and that’s what Friday night was about but for the Saturday alone we need to thank:
Julia Groves for supporting us and shouting about us to all her illustrator friends and then making our baby/toddler area a joy to be in on Saturday with her Animal Babies Series of books and her colouring skills
Macmillan Kids for sending the Gruffalo and making sure he wasn’t at all grumpy
Jai (Johnnie Jaffacake) for always supporting us in all our mad adventures and being at pretty much every one of our children’s landmark birthdays, our wedding and this.
The gangs (I didn’t know they travelled in gangs, I do now!) of Authors and illustrators who came out of curiosity and a love of bookshops and left us with such kind words
Lorraine for her terrible Face Painting! Which she undertook with 3 minutes notice but attacked with all the gusto she could muster and all the passion of Picasso!
Ade, who’s crotch I invaded for the sake of Julia Donaldson
…and Greg, who, not content with building our dream, continued to entertain and make the place a generally more interesting place throughout the day
..and of course Poppy and Sally who are our happy new Bookseller staff and dear dear friends.