The nature of my job as a secondhand bookseller involves a fair bit of driving around, looking at and sometimes buying people’s book collections and today I went to Ashford on this type of mission.
I didn’t do very well in Ashford on the book front, it’s a town without a secondhand bookshop, however I got into something rather surreal for which I can only blame Neil Gaiman, I am reading his latest collection of short stories “Trigger Warning” at the moment, and so far it’s very good indeed.
The first story “Making a Chair” lulled me into a false sense of security.
The second “A Lunar Labyrinth” how do I explain? Are you fairly well read? This is not an exact quote as I haven’t got time to go and look it up, however Nicholas Mosley son of the well known Fascist and writer of experimental fiction, said something like. “Art is like a bomb in the maze, that fails to explode.”
The third “The Thing About Cassandra” drags the trick in “Sophie’s World” through the hedge backwards and out the other side.
The fourth “Down to a Sunless Sea” left be feeling like you do at the end of a major and exceptional novel.
After this Ashford was encountered through a mind sensitive to what probably wasn’t there, I haven’t been to Ashford for years and so obviously I parked on top of the central multi-storey car park.
Entering the town in my heightened state of mind, which was full of classical music buskers with violins, French horn, flute, clarinet and trombone, not as a sextet but on different street corners.
A lot of shops seemed to have recently closed and the music was mostly on the dirgeish side, not danse macabre but oh, four by four and not the vehicle.
Buskers normally smile but not these, there was a sense of a funeral for the closing shops, then I got to the art shop Cross’s – closing and everything half price with plein air watercolour equipment that you haven’t been able to buy for years at half price.
I think they stopped making the Dale Rowney metal watercolour boxes with the water tank, when? Have I been through some sort of time warp?
Eventually had a snack lunch in the modern oasis of Café Nero and thoughtfully penned the normality, after which I scarpered to Canterbury, hoping my paintbox and reversible brushes wouldn’t vanish like fairy gold.
Steak in La Trappiste where I continued with my reverse vanishing point sketch of Chocolate Café.
Here are the rest of the Ashford photos, in case I wasn't there?