This hasn't been the best of weeks. The postal company that handles my book orders appears to have gone bankrupt. I didn't get any warning. One day they simply stopped coming. I have also discovered that for the last three weeks, they collected my post and kept it in a corner of a warehouse.
I am now dealing with a growing number of emails that range from the politely titled 'Delivery enquiry' to the rather more direct 'Where's my bloody book?!' Luckily, my business is small enough for me to respond to each email personally and most people have been very sympathetic. However, I doubt whether I'll survive this without getting some negative feedback on Amazon.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this whole business has been having to take all of the orders to the local post office. The UK ones are easy enough, but trying to send 15 packages to the USA is the nearest I've come to be being beaten to death by an angry mob. I've walked through the notorious Tenderloin district of San Francsico at night and felt uncomfortable, but I've never known fear like the Lewes Post Office queue. I can't go back.
For some relaxation, I watched 'Gideon of Scotland Yard' with my mother. Filmed in 1958 and starring Jack Hawkins, it is a relentlessly frank expose of how brutal the British police were in the 1950s:
No wonder the crime rate was so low.
I also enjoyed this scene, in which Jack Hawkins manages to juggle two telephones and light a pipe at the same time. But watch the buses in the background - they look suspiciously like models to me:
Superficially, 'Gideon of Scotland Yard' is a standard 1950s police procedural film, but unusually it is filmed in Technicolor and directed by John Ford, who rated Jack Hawkins as "the finest dramatic actor with whom I have worked." 55 years on, the film seems very dated, but in a good way. I particularly loved the street scenes and a garish, 'thoroughly modern' 1950s flat.
Without fail, my mother always turns to me and says "D'you know these old films are good aren't they? There's no swearing or anything." By anything, I presume that she means sex.
My mother often asks me how I find these films, blissfully unaware that I spend ages scouring a website for obscure British 'B movies' made between 1940 and 1960. I know her better than she'll ever know me, so choosing the films is easy. Also, I've found that as long as the star is called Jack - either Hawkins or Warner - she'll be happy.
An email box has just popped up in the corner of the screen: "Non-delivery of By a Silver Stream".
It's going to be a long week.