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Published on October 31st, 2014 | by The Town Crier


My Shout

This time next year Rodders!
Some lovely old customer in Mr. Books wandered in with one of the bargain books from outside and almost apologized that he was only spending the modest sum of £1. He wished he could have bought something else, he told me, but Osbert Sitwell’s Left Hand, Right Hand was the only tome which caught his eye that day. I’m always please if customers spend anything at all, rather than telling me how fabulous it is to have a bookshop in the town and then walking out empty handed! (As happens more often than you’d think.)
It suddenly clicked as he handed over the shiny coin that all I need is for everyone who walks past my shop to spend a pound. That’d be several thousand people every day, times the 250 days of opening and that’s a cool £million in just one year. Of course that’s not taking into account the costs of restocking all those extra thousands of paperbacks; and I’d have to ensure a regular supply of course. Gosh! And it would also be quite a lot of extra work, but surely worth it to be a millionaire by this time next year.
Anyway, back to reality and what’s been happening in the last month?
Well, firstly, I have to admit that I was w… I was wro… (it’s such a difficult thing for me to say) okay I was WRONG! There, I’ve said it. I got my prediction of an independent Scotland wrong and therefore the date for Tonbridge’s declaration of independence has probably been put back indefinitely, for now at least. Poor old Sir John Stanley was there waiting in the wings to become the first President of the newly formed City State of Tunbridge. (With a “u”) Never mind though Sir John you had a good old stint as our MP and you definitely would have been my first choice for president! So that was that.
In other news, the river has been emptied near the town bridge and up to the lock gates apparently for maintenance of the weir and, my oh my, does it look ugly. You can see the shopping trollies which have been chucked into the river from the bridge by drunken teenagers thinking they’re being original. You can see the sunken rowing boats left over from last winter’s storms. The mud of the river bed probably houses thousands of years of secrets from iron age man, through medieval times right up to the recent past but it sure does look grim and I’d rather it were hidden.
Give us back our water I say and don’t take it away again. It just goes to show that sometimes you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Like the glorious days of last summer which are now fading into the memory as the cold wet autumn sets in.
So let’s appreciate our beautiful river and make use of it. I for one will be dusting off my Canadian Canoe and setting off downstream Yalding bound as soon as spring shows face. Now where did I put that paddle?!

My Shout is written by Mark Richardson who often loiters in Mr. Books Bookshop, 142 High Street, Tonbridge. Tel. 01732 363000.

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