Inevitably when you thank a large number of people, you forget someone. Or more than one. I think these people should take it as a compliment – it means they are so much a part of the furniture that life is unthinkable without them. (That sounds better than being taken for granted…)
There are three important people that I left out of my ‘thank you’ post, and as compensation they get a post to themsleves.
So – huge thanks to John Shaw, Andy Jones and Michael Burdett. John contacted me when he first heard I was thinking of opening the Tree House, and we arranged an assignation by the door to the clock tower…no trenchcoats or brown envelopes, but the start of an extremely supportive relationship between John and the Tree House. He has helped in all sorts of ways, including buying Tree House vouchers for his friends for Christmas (a great idea, in case you’re stuck for ideas!), selling his own secondhand books through us in the old shop, chatting through lots of ideas, and frequent contributions when we were nearing crisis points. He also comes to lots of our events, which is wonderful.
Andy Jones was our neighbour in the old shop when the wonderful Town & Country Furniture was at Abbey End. Our existence is unthinkable without him. There is not much else to say, but he still calls in regularly, still helps out with practical things when he can, and while I miss his daily visits and having him as a business neighbour, he is at least still around to cheer us on our way. He is part of the fabric.
Michael Burdett called in one day because I was following him on Twitter – he is the genius behind the Strange Face Project, and as Nick Drake fan, I was fascinated by it. He was on his way to Coventry, I think, and called in to see if I’d be interested in hosting his Strange Face talk. He left us with a poster of Billy Bragg listening to Nick Drake to put in the window, came back to give his talk some weeks later, and has now given it three times. It makes me cry every time. He takes no fee for it, and so supports the bookshop in a practical way, and has become a lovely friend, calling in occasionally on his way through, keeping in touch, and always generous on many levels.
These three typify the spirit of the support the Tree House gets – they all see it as something worth supporting, and support it in their different but equally practical ways – as well as being lovely people to have around, which is also crucial. It’s lonely running a business, and these guys help combat the loneliness!
Thank you to them, and continued thanks to those who are still with us, behind us, beside us, even in front of us – we’re surrounded by supporters, looking out for our interests and making the Tree House the magical place it continues to be, against all odds.