There are times when I get fed up with Oxfam. Well, actually it is nothing to do with Oxfam, just the bookshop.
Today I put out a lovely collection of textile art books and thought that instead of working five or six shifts this week, I could use that time to reinvent myself as a textile craftsperson.
Instead of coming back from two weeks’ holiday and finding the place so full of books that you could hardly move – most of which dear reader, as you might know by now, went in a sack – I could do something delightfully creative and in my own time.
But it is not going to happen.
Firstly, I need structure and left to my own devices, I would fiddle about with time week after week, after week, until months had gone by and I would have nothing to show for it.
Secondly, I need contact with people and am rubbish at doing stuff on my own – I am not sure how many collective textile art beginners groups there are in Petersfield, but I am guessing not that many.
And I like my fellow volunteers and enjoy their company. The dog is great and the Best Beloved is great too, but they are not as good at being bossed around and they have their own stuff to do all day – sleep and write history, though the dog’s book is coming along very slowly she says.
Thirdly, I would really miss the books.
For all the sacks there are gems. For all the depressing piles of browned Dick Francis collections, collections of guides to the stately homes of England, all creased, and who wants to buy a second hand guide to Windsor Castle? – there is a delight.
At the moment, I have a collection of old books on nature – ‘Nature for Bright Boys’ for example. Dull boys presumably should go off and make model aircraft or something.
And there are books with bizzare subjects. Who would think you could make your own horse equipment or why you would want to do that. Does stacking wood the Norwegian way differ from the way you would stack it in Deepest Sussex – too late to find out as it sold ten minutes after I put it out.
A book on the children of the ‘Persian’ royal family – battered but worth a couple of hundred quid.
Books, with just really good titles.
Old knitting books with cover pictures of extremely glum-looking children – mind you considering what they are wearing, I am sympathetic.
So, I will – and dear reader you can no doubt see my martyred air – carry on juggling shifts and sacking books and making plans which I never get to carry out because there are too many books to sack and sort and price.
But in between all that, I will build a collection of old medical books, books which are so pristine we can sell them at Christmas as a gift that the receiver will never know is a second-hand book.
I will look up all the old annuals we have been given – some are worth something but most aren’t – and put them out with the Tintin books which sell like hot cakes.
I will build a collection of princess books around the wrought iron frog wearing a small crown – he sold so there must be a princess somewhere in Petersfield who is an optimist.
I will polish my halo and carry on, and secretly wonder if I would ever have made a textile artist.