Blown away by books and toilets

Once, when I was a baby, my parents left me in a shop.

I blame the Camps Bay Library.

We had this ritual throughout my childhood. Every Saturday we would split into two groups (I’m the youngest of six, so we couldn’t all fit into one car) and we’d go down to the Camps Bay Village. This was before it was all shi-shi and chocolate-croissanty.

One car would go to the library to get our book stash for the week, and the other car would go to the cafe, for rolls, milk and vienna’s, and then we’d swap. The library pack would go to the cafe and the cafe pack would go to the library, then we’d all meet back at home for hotdogs for lunch. That was our Saturdays. Religiously.

One Saturday afternoon, Tiffy, who ran the cafe with her husband, phoned the house (she must have looked our number up in the telephone directory – it was the seventies, you could) and told my parents they’d left me behind in the shop in my pram earlier, and I wasn’t crying or anything, but maybe they could come pick me up.

I can see how it could happen, you’ve got six kids, it’s a lot, it’s easy to lose track of one of them here or there. Plus there’s the books. I always thought maybe they were just so mesmerised and excited by the selection they’d just taken out, that they couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

I made it home safely that day, and I grew up in that library in Camps Bay. It fuelled my life-long affair with books, libraries and librarians. Somehow you just know that when you meet a librarian they’re going to be good people. The villain in a Bond movie is never a librarian for his cover-up day job, and super heroes spend little to no time attending to emergencies in libraries.

Tonight that love affair was affirmed. I was invited to join a crime panel at the Blown Away by Books Festival being held this week at the Fishhoek Library. It was chaired by the most excellent, handsome, funny and clever Darrel Bristow-Bovey (One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo) and the panel consisted of myself, Michele Rowe (Hour of Darkness), and Joanne Hitchens, (Sweet Paradise). And if you missed it, you really missed out, I’m sorry for you. The room was jam-packed with a fun, friendly, rowdy, interested, excellent (and possibly drunk) crowd.

Janusz and Mary Ann, the Fishhoek Librarians, do a phenomenal job curating and executing this lovely FREE festival, which will be on from now till Saturday 19th March (nudge, nudge – you should go – click here for the programme).

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Our panel of awesomeness

Last year I was at this same festival, on a great panel about writing erotica, and I had this crazy experience in the bathroom, concerning bulk condoms, And once again this year, the panel didn’t disappoint, and oddly enough, neither did the bathroom.

Before we started, I popped in to rifle through their free condom bin (they have femidoms in there now too), and spotted this graffiti inside the toilet cubicle door:

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Here it is bigger:

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What ever happened to; ‘For a good time call Sam!’ or ‘So-and-so is a dick’.


Which just proves my point; library people are good people. Even when they’re vandalising public property, it’s done in a fabulously nerdy, bookie way.

2 responses to “Blown away by books and toilets”

  1. WeezaFish says:

    🙂 Trying to imagine the person who just couldn’t hold that in. They just HAD to get a biro out and let their fellow library users know about their passion!

  2. ashleigh says:

    made my day

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