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Dreamed I was walking in an park, one of those old decaying Victorian pleasure gardens with decorative bridges and tunnels and bandstands and walks. We went into one of the tunnels (light and pleasant, sun from the entrances falling across golden stone) and from behind one of those mysterious little doors you often find in such places was coming a muffled desperate thumping, like a trapped animal. We exchanged glances; should we investigate? He thought yes, I was afraid of what we might find and hurried him along, the park was crowded, someone else would surely deal with it, the authorities perhaps. At the end of the tunnel he turned and drew me back; we had heard it, it was our responsibility to help. Already a few people had gathered and somebody had forced the door and got it out. "It's a goose," said someone but it was not any breed of goose I knew. Its feathers were dark brown and barred, its beak a primitive rounded triangle; and on the bend of its wings (it sat quiescent in its rescuer's arms, eyes wide, wings half-spread) were tiny appendages, thin and pale as bone, tippped with claws which clenched, unclenched as I stared. I wanted to look at it more closely but my companion wouldn't let me, and pulled me away; look, someone's sorting it out now, we're not needed.

Investigating in an old church. The authorities trying to get through a secret door on one side of the passage, didn't need our help, all under control little ladies. An alcove on the other side of the passage, the vicar's daughter levering wood and stone with a crowbar, there's something back here she says. I check the authorities haven't seen us and step in to help her. She won't let me take the crowbar, slow work. Eventually she lets me help; stone is plywood, wood cardboard, it lifts and it's a sort of tool cupboard back there, ordinary stuff like rakes and overalls but why boarded up like that? There's a strange tool I don't recognise, like a round medallion on the end of a stick, maybe it's a vicar thing. There's also a window in the back wall, covered with an iron grill; on the other side of it, an ordinary office, beige and grey, with a computer, cluttered desk, filing cabinets and fan. No other way in or out of this tiny concealed space. Torn between disappointment that it went no-where and curiosity at the increasing strangeness.

Cheerful thug in the road checking there were no police around, me walking across the road towards him, happy. He turns back to the road and waves his villains forward, the coast is clear! Behind him I see a little old-fashioned Police van bristling with cops, like something out of an old comedy, drive onto the bridge over the road and suddenly stop -- I almost said screech to a halt, but it moved completely silently! I walked over to the thug and pecked him kindly on the cheek, amused that they all would very shortly be caught. I am not sure but I think he was completely unaware that I was there.

Comments

( 7 worms — Feed the birds )
applez
18th Jun, 2003 16:26 (UTC)
An unrelated article for you
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/3000820.stm

Oxfam ban! Damn, and I was hoping to read that Max Bygraves's singing is so hideous as to qualify as a crime against humanity or somesuch. ;-)

So, should we be putting together our own 'book ban' suggestions for your own Oxfam ... I seem to remember you mentioning something like that, also due to surplus overstock.

----
cleanskies
19th Jun, 2003 02:44 (UTC)
Re: An unrelated article for you
Hehehe --- yes, we have our own regular flyers. The James Herriot books. Peter Ustinov's Dear Me. Toujours bloody Provence.

It's not that people don't want these books -- we can sell them at about the same speed as anything else, the trouble is that everyone wanted them at a particular time and now they don't.

So we get a gazillion. In the case of Peter Ustinov, I think literally.

Just think, in a few year's time, the Harry Potter books will be on the list!
cleanskies
19th Jun, 2003 02:47 (UTC)
another thought
-- it's a great bit of news-mongering. Thanks to one amusing decision, the fact that the Canterbury Oxfam shop sells loads of records -- and not just Val Doonican and Max Bygraves -- get trumpeted to the world, something more people should know. Yay Canterbury!

Hmm, maybe we *should* do that at the bookshop ...
veeb
19th Jun, 2003 06:08 (UTC)
a further thought
It would be great if you could build a house from these surplus books and records.

If you adapted the log technique here...http://www.geocities.com/pprcordwood/ to use books, and then used the old records as roof tiles...imagine the possibilities!
cleanskies
19th Jun, 2003 07:38 (UTC)
hmmm
I think you'd have to find a good sealant for the ends of the books. You'd also lose a lot of the decorative force of the building material because you'd be seeing them end on ...

Now, if you were building something smaller-scale, say a kennel, you'd be able to use the books like bricks (soak them in glue solution then press into shape, maybe?) and get the spines facing outwards (or inwards to provide more entertainment value for the dog) or better yet an alternating striped pattern (Keble) ...

Of course then Val Doonican LPs would be too big for the roof. Free CDs, on the other hand, would be just right ....

then all we need is Lloyd Grossman, "what sort of a dog would live in a house like this..."
elleblue
19th Jun, 2003 09:50 (UTC)
What about a papier-mache style of thing, so you can actually read what's on the pages? Again, probably not suitable for the structure of a big house, but perhaps the odd internal wall?
cleanskies
19th Jun, 2003 10:19 (UTC)
actually, my mum's currently making papier mache structures
she tends to be painting them (at least partly) after, though. She got frustrated with the volume of junk mail and free papers she was getting.

I hear what you're saying, though -- seal up a book and you've ruined its purpose. Even true if you stick it to a wall, when you come to think of it. How about foldable screens?
( 7 worms — Feed the birds )