Treacle and Ink

March 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — adrian @ 5:40 pm

Thanks to all the readers of this blog for the emails I’ve received; I certainly didn’t expect the doings of a bookshop manager to generate this level of interest! A number of you have suggested that some sort of “message” for me has found its way into the Penguin online project. I don’t know anything about that, but I suppose it could be some sort of computer glitch, since I was once slated to work on it. Do you know what this “message” is? I could point it out to Penguin so that they can erase it.

In the meantime, I think I’m warming to Jacques. Or perhaps that’s just the wine talking. We managed to finish off a couple of bottles of Mr Ayre’s excellent claret the other night between us, although I’m pretty sure Jacques did most of the drinking. Between swigs, he told me what he knows. He’s a drama student, going to be a “famous acteur” one day he says. “Like Gerald Depardieu?” I asked, but was met with stony silence.

Marsh-Ayre took him on last autumn because he said he was “engaged on a project that was consuming a great deal of time and energy”. Jacques has no idea what the project was, but says that the owner of the antiques shop, name of Hattie, seemed to be round here an awful lot, as well as another woman whose name he never knew. Was the old goat just running two affairs? Jacques doesn’t think so. They used to spend ages locked in the antiques store room, apparently, emerging a bit glassy-eyed and dishevelled. When I pointed out that this sounded exactly as if they were having an affair, Jacques said, quite sensibly, that in that case they could have gone to the bedroom, not an antiques store-room. Strangely, though, when I suggested we take a look in the store-room ourselves, Jacques didn’t seem to think this was a good idea.

“Oh no,” he said, “I ‘ave been in once. Only musty old things there, nothing interesting.”
This makes me more keen than ever to take a look, but we’ve been run off our feet today in the shop, serving customers and ordering things from suppliers. I had no idea running a shop took so much time! And Jacques is apparently used to spending his evenings and weekends here, rehearsing his dramatic monologues. So I’ll have to find some reason to get rid of him, and then take a look while he’s out.


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