Do you have any great shopping stories or memories you want to share?
Many years ago we were visiting Gina's menotor in Surrey who was a world renowned expert in Japanese art. During the visit he showed Gina a special dictionary that he said was invaluable in his studies. It looks like it had been entirely hand-written - it allowed people to translate very old Japanese scripts, something Gina would need to learn to do. The problem is it was so rare that we had a better chance of winning the lottery.
We searched everywhere for this book (the internet wasn't so good those days), phoning, writing and faxing all the specialist dealers we could find, all over the world from the US to Japan, Europe to Australia, Holland to South East Asia, etc, etc. No joy.
As a last ditch attempt, even though we'd phoned around London as well, we went there for a day trip around the specialist antiquarian bookshops. We went everywhere. Still no joy.
Finally, at the end of the day when shops were closing we ended up at a tiny shop opposite the British Museum. We went in and the shop owner shook his head when we asked the same question we had done all day. At the back of his shop was a curtained doorway and I asked him if there was anything there. He smiled and said it was their store room and we were welcome to brave it if we wanted to. The room did have bookshelves but they looked like they were going to fall over if it wasn't for the huge (approx 5-6 feet high) mountain of dishevelled books that filled the room itself. It was a mess. Gina looked so despondant by now. I just thumbed through a few books and while leaning over I knocked over a pile of books by one of the walls. I crouched down to pick them up and for some reason I glanced down the back of one of the old book cases. Wedged down the back was a book. I managed to get my hand down the back and gently pulled the small book out. It was covered in a thick layer of dust that was so old it was dark green. I blew the dust off, choked on the cloud of stuff (yuk) and gave the book a quick wipe and yes, you guessed it, it was the elusive dictionary that was only made by the hundreds back in the 1940s-50s!
Gina nearly fainted when she saw it. When the shop owner looked at it at the front of the shop he thumbed through it, looked up in the air doing some guess work on figures and said "That'll be eight pounds please?". What a bargain eh?
We practically floated back home that day.
What shoppong stories do you have to share?