I must admit I'd been having sleepless nights about handing my notice in. How would my employers react? I knew that they regarded me as a permanent fixture and had planned accordingly. Would they be angry, indifferent or sympathetic?
So far, everyone has been brilliant. Indeed, they've even offered to help me find a way of setting-up in Lewes and I've been told that if my circumstances change, I can go back. I couldn't ask for more.
Now comes the hard bit. I have to find a unit in Lewes that's large enough to store a few thousand books. It doesn't matter what state of repair the building's in as long as it's dry. It also needs to be accessible for lorries and vans. Finally, I need a short lease in case I turn out to be utterly useless at running my own business.
In the meantime, I will be in my current job for at least another month, paving the way for my successor, so I'll continue to share the latest discoveries:
This book appears to be very rare. I can't find any other copies of it on sale. The flyleaf has a Guernsey bookseller's name blind-stamped in the corner, whilst the front endpaper has this bookplate:
I was surprised to find a bookplate for an English prize in French, but later realised that it was actually in Guernésiais - a Norman French dialect that remained the island's official language until 1972. Today, only 2% of the population speak it fluently, but when Victor Hugo was in exile on Guernsey, writing Les Miserables, Guernésiais was commonly spoken.
The language declined for the usual reasons, but was accelerated when many of the island's children were evacuated to the British mainland at the beginning of World War two.
As for the book, it has some beautiful colour illustrations accompanying a military-themed ABC:
Can you guess what each letter stands for? I've already thought of some (which are unrepeatable).
In addition to the ABC illustrations, there are also some full colour plates:
The final scene clearly shows that rioting isn't a modern phenomenon, but in the Victorian age they disguised themselves with clown suits instead of hoodies. The police response doesn't appear to have changed very much.
That's the nearest I get to writing about the riots. I have very strong opinions about why they happened and what could be done to prevent future unrest, but like most of the UK population I didn't witness any of these disturbances. I've lived in thoroughly middle-class Lewes for ten years and London feels a world away.
Maybe it's time for me to go to Tottenham and get down with the kids.