Cycling

Books, Baths & Bryant

It’s been a funny old day. I wandered into Reading just before lunch with a simple plan; check whether Good Vibrations has yet arrived on the shelves of Waterstones in Reading (answer: not yet, but I did leave it displayed on the customer in-store computer for all to see) and then deliver some sample copies to the local bike shops. Before I even arrived at Waterstones I bumped into a colleague who is on maternity leave. She had escaped her husband and offspring for the morning and we shared a coffee. Well, we had one each, but you know what I mean. I gave her a signed copy of the book (one down). En route to AW Cycles (Reggie’s spiritual home), I bumped into another three colleagues from work so it was a relief to escape to the verdant pastures of Caversham where the guys at AW Cycles were more than happy to take a couple of copies of Good Vibrations off my hands (three down). One of the sales team suggested I should come back to one of their ‘club nights’ where I could sell copies to enthusiastic members of local cycling clubs (he mentioned Mary Bryant who had attended an event and sold ‘quite a few’ copies). As I made my way back into town I paused next to the banks of the Thames, just east of Reading Bridge where one of Reading’s hidden jewels was open for inspection; the Kings Meadow Baths. Sadly dilapidated after many years of closure, there are tentative plans to bring it back to life. I spent a good half hour chatting to one of the old chaps from the association that is trying to do just that. Fascinating. If you have too much money, donate some of it to do the place up as it would be a real asset to the community on this side of town. I digress…  Back in Reading town centre, I deposited a copy of Good Vibrations with the manager of a national chain of cycling shops which shall remain nameless. He was considerably less enthusiastic than his competitors on the northern side of town citing national purchasing decisions and the like… I persisted and he took the book. I fear it may now be in the bin (four down). After a spot of shopping at the supermarket, I passed the library where a ‘local author’ event was taking place (where was my invitation?!). I went inside and idled past a few tables with bearded men looking down proudly upon their works of fact and fiction. However, standing out from the crowd, to my great surprise and delight, was a cheerful Mary Bryant – yes, the lady I had been chatting about in AW Cycles – selling copies of her book Four Cheeks to The Wind. She gets a mention in Good Vibrations as I had met her in Waterstones back in the early planning stages of my Eurovelo 5 journey and she had been a great inspiration. It was fascinating catching up with her and exchanging our respective experiences of the publishing adventure. I dearly wanted to give her a copy of Good Vibrations (five down), but didn’t have any left in my bag. I promised to hand deliver her a copy just before Christmas. An interesting afternoon.

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