Bear with me, this is going somewhere relevant to us. Many years ago I first entered the book trade, as an assistant at Foyle’s bookshop in London when it occupied its ancient premises at the top of Charing Cross Road, not the swanky place just down the road it has today. Some readers may recall its idiosyncrasies; for example to buy a book you handed it to me, I gave you a ‘chitty’ to pass, with your payment, through the bars of an enclosed cash desk some yards away, you brought back the receipt and I let you have the book. One wag of a customer said, when I sent him off to the cashier, ‘that’s somewhere down the Strand isn’t it?’

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