The brush with death came when a tonne of books nearly fell off the back of a lorry, on top of me. The lorry driver glowered: "It's the tailgate that's making 'em wobble. They still 'aven't repaired it. What's in these boxes anyway?"
I made sure that I moved well back and watched as the pallet of boxes slowly descended, then inserted my trolley wheels underneath the wooden slats of the pallet and began pulling (oh, the glamour of bookselling!). If you've ever pulled a tonne of books along potholed, muddy ground, you'll know that it does odd things to the internal organs.
At one point my pallet got stuck in the mud and I had a momentary existential crisis, reflecting on the chain of events that had led me to this point in time, but my reverie was rudely interrupted by the sound of one of my bookshelves collapsing:
Fortunately, a kindly angel had invited Mrs Steerforth and I to a literary event that evening, so the day ended on a high.
The Books That Built Me' is the brainchild of Helen Brocklebank, a former director at Harper's Bazaar (also known to many as the blogger Mrs Trefusis) who now hosts a literary salon at the Cafe Royal, inviting writers to discuss the books that influenced them when they were young. It is a much more interesting approach than simply asking authors about their favourite books, as there is far more scope for self-revelation.
Last night's writer, Andrew O'Hagan, was the perfect guest, blessed with a mercurial intellect and quick wit that never flagged. I particularly enjoyed his anecdotes about being a bookish cuckoo in the nest of a working-class Glasgow family. After what felt like half an hour, I was surprised to see that he'd been talking for an hour and 20 minutes.
But the success of the evening was also thanks to Helen Brocklebank's skill as a host, unobtrusively moving the conversation forward, making intelligent, perceptive comments that clearly pleased Andrew O'Hagan. Helen had obviously done her research for the evening, but seemed equally at home when the conversation went completely off topic.
The quality of the discussion was far better than a certain book programme that will remain nameless and it is surely only a matter of time before an enlightened broadcaster realises the potential of The Books That Built Me.
In the meantime, if you can get to London for an evening, I would strongly recommend booking a ticket. I'll see you there.