In my early days of bookselling I came across a bookseller from London called Graeme Roberts. When I say came across, I met him on the internet, on a book selling group, where booksellers chatted and helped each other. Graeme was always helpful to newbie booksellers, and led a group of us together into a project that became known as ibooknet - a group of booksellers who wanted to create our own booklisting group and be a professional alternative - on a small scale - to ABE, and even amazon (well we could dream).
Well we didn't ever quite make that, but Graeme, despite running his own shop in London (Magpie Bookshop in Spitalfields for many years, before moving up the road to The Bishops House) and his internet business, always took considerable time & patience to help newbies like me with their computer problems - (as I was and still am a real computer illiterate), as well as helping and advising with his book knowledge. He also gave a great deal of time to helping with the setting up of the Ibooknet project.
He and his partner moved up to Todmorden and he continued selling books in an internet only business in Northern England. Life carried on, and he sadly split from his partner, and then I believe he established himself in Hebden Bridge. Sadly I hadn't been in touch with Graeme for the last year or two - things drift in life. When I heard that Graeme had died last week I was shocked - not only because it was well 'before his time' but because he had always seemed so full of life. As I am sure many will have, I have spent much time since I heard the news, thinking about times gone by, and appreciating the help he gave me when he was here.
Graeme & I also chatted about dogs. He used to think I was mad about my dogs - until he got Winston, his own standard poodle, and then he understood what the love for man's best friend was all about. He was hooked. I have read on facebook that someone has given Winston a good home - I am so glad - Winston will need another good friend.
Graeme will be sorely missed. I don't suppose for one minute he was an angel throughout his life - who of us are - but he was a kind and humorous man with a twinkle in his eye, and a good heart.