BIGGLES IN THE BAROSSA
Recently, I found a new-to-me second hand book shop; just one of the pleasures of being in the Barossa Valley on a gloriously mild winter’s day. To go through its doors is to experience literature overload; books on shelves, tables and floor; in stacks, in boxes and in cabinets with glass doors and key. It casts a spell. It lures you into its Aladdin’s cave of treasure, deceiving you into thinking it’s the usual higgledy piggledy second hand place, but it isn’t. It isn’t even dusty. And, like all good second hand book shops, it’s quirky. The cinema posters of old Errol Flynn movies I could understand, but the life size stuffed alligator and lioness?
This luscious display of the desirable and the downright covetable, is the work of an orderly and discerning proprietor. Every section is carefully marked by hand written signs and the arrangement is deliciously alphabetical. If it’s there, you’ll find it. No problem. And while the area housing valuable collectibles is roped off with an attached piece of cardboard informing children it’s not for them, the range of genre and titles in the rest of the shop is not at all snobby. It’s a bookshop for everyman. Which reminds me; I must take my husband to salivate over its extensive range of automotive manuals.
I barely moved past the rows and rows of W.E. Johns’ Biggles books, lost in childhood reading memories, although I did make a quick foray into the Enid Blyton’s and ‘Australian Writers’ before time ran out on me. I was utterly overwhelmed by the variety and number of treasures. Inevitably, I left empty handed because I couldn’t decide which of the goodies to take home. Libraries, too, do this to me. I keep telling myself not to go through the doors of either of them unless it is to look for a particular title or author. But that’s no fun. I can always rely on the lack of cash to referee the conflict. So I left empty-handed, but I’m going back cashed up!