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Young Artists of Malpas

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

It so rarely happens in life that you imagine something and then it happens and it looks the way you pictured it. But my bookshop looks exactly as I had envisaged. No, better, because when I asked the wonderful young artist Joe Faithful to help set up and decorate it with me, he brought along the talented team of Dylan and Ruby Barr to help. Dylan painted above the door ‘I have always imagine that paradise will be a kind of library’ ( J.L. Borges from ‘Poems About Gifts’) and Ruby, aged 12, painted a mural of magpies into the old fireplace. Lynn made a beautiful petrol blue window seat, Ellen, Sally and Jude painted walls and I built book cases and fixed them to walls.

With less than twenty-four hours to opening, we had a lot of fiction and not a lot else on the shelves, more picture books than anyone will ever need, a range of home-made cakes in various stages of construction in the kitchen and no card machine or cash to give change. The long bank holiday had passed me by. But we opened anyway. Everyone was very understanding about the cash-only weekend, and I kept buying milk with twenty pound notes until we had enough change. And maybe as the rain-soaked groups huddled by under umbrellas on the Jubilee trail up and down the street they caught a glimpse of a new shop and wondered what it might be. And maybe they’ll come back later and find out.


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