It is commonly said that as you get older time goes more quickly - and never has it been more true than in my case. At this rate if I live to be 80, I shall be a total whirlwind. Maybe it is just in my head, but I have so much to do, I never know where to start. This wouldn't be so bad if I had the energy to match - this is a definite design fault in the human race. When you are young you have bags of energy - and not enough to do, thus the perpetual cry of the young - I'm bored! I remember saying this myself. Then, as you become older, the energy banks drain as you have so many more tasks to accomplish.
The other problem is that I actually want to do so much more. The message hasn't actually reached my brain yet that I am getting older. Again, twenty or thirty years or so ago, I remember hearing people say 'You get older but don't feel any older' and I would nod in agreement, not fully realising what they meant - but it is true, you don't feel older mentally. When people talk about getting older, to me they are talking about other people. I hear the words, but inside I am still the twenty something year old that I was, not the fifty something year old that I am now (there I have said it), and I expect to be able to do the same as I could then, ie a full time job as a business partner, be busy at weekends, start up a new business (as I am doing), do the housework (to a fashion), the gardening (to a lesser fashion) help with the decorating, walk two active dogs, you get the picture and get cross with myself when things don't get done properly. Obviously I don't do all these things alone, Jeff is a partner in all the home chores as well as the work chores, and fortunately for me, is energetic, but I have to realise the limit to the hours in a day!
Bookselling is a time consuming labour intensive occupation. I remember when we had a shop people had an image of booksellers (ie me) just sitting in a shop reading books all day - and maybe once this might have happened, but I doubt it, as there are always things to do. Certainly in this day of computers, there is no time, sadly, for sitting around book reading - that is a treat I usually reserve for bed time or in the bath. A large amount of my time is spent now in front of a computer. All the cataloguing is done there, as is the order processing, and adding pictures to records. Also updating our website, our catalogue and of course this blog are computer tasks, so computer work must account for well over half of my week. Other regular tasks comprise of looking for books in the stock room (why oh why do books always seem to move from the place where we left them?) , book buying - whether from house calls, going through lists that people send us, going out to hunt in bookshops etc (something I love to do but have little time for), going through catalogues we are sent etc. Also booking new stock in, and contacting customers when books we have ordered in for them have arrived. Occasionally I get trips out to auctions - rare, and when they come around they are very time consuming as they usually take up a couple of days, 1 to view and another to return and bid.
Then there are book fairs - the most time consuming of all. First - the decision which books to take. We try to take the books we think will appeal to the customers we expect to see, but that is 25% knowledge, 75% guesswork, so we can get it completely wrong. This is followed by a great deal of packing - and you can guarantee that a book that is packed, will then be ordered on the internet, and need digging out before we go. Then, having got house sitters in place to look after the dogs and the house, we trek off with a car load of books and shelving, often having booked accommodation as the fair will require an overnight stay. The fair itself will require a couple of hours stand preparation, and then a day or 2 fair follows, which is enjoyable as we get to meet customers, but tiring, and then we dismantle the stall again and head for home. The next week sees us trying to get the books back onto the right shelves. Now, none of this is moaning, even if that is what it sounds like, it just explains the time consumed - and how time intensive the job is. People say to us 'How nice going to York, or Harrogate or Bath for the weekend - they don't understand - we don't see the place - we see the accomodation and the hall we are standing in!
OK - so the last picture is rather creative - but its a book and its a fair!
So as you can see our job alone takes up a good deal of time, and that's before we squeeze in the rest of life - but then, we shall not get bored, and that's a good thing. People do say, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person - still not quite sure why - presume its because they have to be really organised, but there is some truth in it. So time may continue to fly, and we may continue to get busier and busier, but at least we are living!