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Exeat: Day 163/84: Avril's Bookstall hosts literary awakening in Milton

Brilliant notion for 'our' book stack … … it was a random inspiration for Avril a few weeks into lockdown. Our book stack [I must confess mainly mine] had spread from the hallway radiator cover to the immediate inside of 'Anne's Bedroom' door. It was a health and safety hasard for all of us with walkers or sticks and in the hallway always in danger of imminent collapse. At retail prices it was well over £2000 invested … Could they not be placed out on Rectory Lane as a second hand bookstall with donations to the Air Ambulance …. Half the village had taken to constitutional walks past our gates and we have a generous apron there for car turning. In the garage where we don't keep cars we did have a souvenir table from the 2002 Gothenburg [not sure why but we did]. It was pressed into service forthwith and a selection of our literary history revealed to itinerant villagers, and cyclists. It was necessary to protect it from passing rain showers which at start time were admittedly almost non-existent. Plastic sheeting was recycled and a magnificent/infamous Dorie Wilkie [diameter not radius] 'Tapestry' Bag placed each night. There were two early modifications to the shop front: Avril soon abandoned the suggestion of Air Ambulance donations believing it was reducing offtake; second the early habit of bringing the table in each night to within the gates was abandoned in favour of the Dorie Wilkie cover alone. This meant the nightly ritual of closing up the bookstall at around 8pm [we never had fixed hours] was less arduous.

Resounding success has been achieved. The bookstall has been officially discontinued [as announced on Village Facebook] at close of play September 1st. To that date some 176 literary works have been gifted from our stack to others whose fancy was taken therefrom with estimated retail selling price in excess of £1000 i.e. more than half the stack held at the outset. There was in fact a grand total of 218 because Avril also received and passed along 42 donated children's titles; plus some £15 was donated ab initio to the Air Ambulance, two jars of home made marmalade 'swopped' and a kindly note delivered with a handicraft piece. Word-of-mouth has it that 'reading' novels has greatly increased and all this despite none of the stack being remotely salacious. Throughout the period only once was a wee portion of the stock necessarily thrown out because of rain damage. Avril's dedication to the selection and replenishment of stock as well as the matinee and evening procedures for opening and closing was no surprise but vital and of the greatest credit to the enterprise. She is pictured below [left] on our visit to Oakham to see sister-in-law Pamela [right] today.
Pamela shown in a new black blazer is an NHS casualty. She is one of the several millions who are unable to get the attention she needs [treatment prior to/ new HipOp] from the NHS because of its comprehensive reallocation of resources to the pandemic. She is dependent on visits from carers and her family from nearby Edith Weston - who this week are at their villa in Portugal sincerely hoping to get back to the UK before a threatened new 14 days Isolation comes into force. For our visit we were observing all the proper social distancing measures and had brought our own cutlery, crockery and flasks. Avril had also done some research on possible additional medical procedures Pamela might receive as she seeks to become NHS OpReady asap. It had been my longest drive since my own HipOp and I emerged stiff from the one hour each way - reminding myself that when we go to Weymouth [3hours each way 10 days hence] we need to take a break and walkabout halfway. Ditto for our upcoming visit to Prestonpans with 2 x 3.5 hours each way September 17th/ 22nd.

Floreat Malsoures. The splendid bloom below took me by complete surprise; and I'm struggling for its name. It's a familiar enough flower to me from early homes but I confess I never thought of it as late summer/ early autumn. Golden Rod, that's it: aka Solidago, genus of flowering plants in the aster family, Asteraceae.
Our garden carries still more blooms and fruit. The Sunflower aka Helianthus [also in the aster family] prospers as do our Ice Plants/ Stone Crop aka Hylotelephium Herbstfreude and not least our reddening tomatoes!




Published Date: September 1st 2020


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