Yesterday a team of volunteers worked tirelessly all day to get the stock in the shop into some kind or order, and while there is still work to be done, we do now have a shop divided into subject categories (with a few miscellaneous shelves still lurking!). The balance of the stock is all wrong, but over the coming days I will rectify that, reducing some sections and increasing others from the boxes piled up in the office.
Being away last week didn’t help, and I did not leave enough time for sorting the stock to the level I would like to present, after all the build-up. But we have lots of books on shelves, we have comfy areas to sit, and we have lots more stock to sort and add to the shelves. (We also need more shelving!)
I am as aware as Jane Austen that first impressions (her original title for Pride and Prejudice) are important…but just as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy overcame their first impressions of each other to fall in love and form a lifelong commitment to each other, so I am hoping that my customers at the Tree House will look past the initial sense of minor confusion and will be won over in the longer term by the passion, creativity and ongoing development of the place, both as a bookshop and as an event space.
The Tree House is already fully a community venture – the way that people have offered their time, their books, their money, their moral support, their enthusiasm and their willingness to put up with the vagaries of what’s been happening and the consequent ups and downs in my mood (!) is the bedrock of what now stands ready to receive customers at Abbey End. I could not have achieved this opening day without all the incredible input from a large number of people, and the extremely generous input of a small number of people. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone…and especially to those who have gone and continue to go beyond the call, they know who they are.
So if you are out and about in Kenilworth today, do come and say hello. There is homemade cake and even the promise of homemade coconut ice! And tonight there is a free concert of storytelling and jazz, which begins at 7.30. Bring your own refreshments (including alcohol) – we have glasses and paper cups, and may even be able to scare up a corkscrew or two!
Off for a shower and then down to the shop for a final couple of hours before we open…and the sun is shining in a clear blue sky. Auspicious, I hope!