Oh – The Guilt. But Oh – The Pleasure.

Oooooh. Ouch – and – Mmmm.

Last night I allowed myself to be fiendishly led astray by The Phantom Webmaster, way down in leafy Surrey which is TPW’s stomping ground. The pair of us sneaked into the dealers’ preview for the (gigantic) local charity booksale and ended up spending Far Too Much Cash for these financially-embarrassed times.

I ended up with all sorts of goodies – from which I shall be sharing nuggets of curious content with you over the coming months.

A blustering, furious account of the shabby treatment South London has received at the hands of Time, written in 1949 where the author’s tack-spitting can be felt almost physically 60 years on.

A book of London ghosts which includes some characters I’ve never heard of or read about despite owning several books on the subject. A first-edition copy of a Victorian book about London’s riverside churches, with some great pics of what St Alfege used to look like before the aforesaid shabby treatment by naughty Time. A 1937 collection of grainy photos of “the London we’re just about to lose.”

And a scarily expensive, even given it was a charity booksale, set of Victorian illustrated volumes which I bought under the flimsy excuse of “saving them from the fate of being stripped of their illustrations by greedy Ebayers selling them as ‘original engravings’ and chucking away the written bits, losing us chunks of history in the process.”

Yeah. even as I write it it feels the flakiest of flaky excuses.

Oh boy. Oh boy. I can’t wait to get down to devouring all this, and sharing the best bits with you. I can wait for my next bank statement which will probably mean that Phantom restaurant reviews might be thin on the ground for the foreseeable future.

I tell myself the following:

  • It was for charity.
  • Which is always good.
  • It was ‘research.’
  • Therefore I can share it with you folks.
  • Money spent on books is never wasted.
  • So it’s a good investment for cold winter nights when I can’t afford to go out.
  • I will send an equal number of books to a charity booksale to save shelf space.
  • Honest.
  • The Phantom Webmaster spent more than me.
  • Marginally.

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