New Year, new broom…

I’m afraid the photography is going to be the most basic ever. Ever!

Bridie and I have spent the entire weekend having a massive clear out. I don’t know quite why yesterday afternoon at about 2pm was the moment when I suddenly decided that the shop needed a huge shift around and a tidy up and the many-headed monster that is our tiny and out-of-control stockroom needed slaying… but it just was.   Needless to say this coincided with the first Saturday of our sale (and what else is London going to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon than to go sale browsing?) much to the amusement of many of the customers who suddenly materialised from nowhere the minute I tried to start the reorganisation.

“Sorry”, kind customers kept on saying, “Im in your way”.   Well no – to be fair, I was in your way, but Sophie and I and lots of visitors all huddled along and it was great to chat to quite so many lovely people all afternoon in between going a little crazy with the, well, ‘visual merchandising’ as I believe it’s known in the trade. Someone told me it was more exciting than meeting Elvis. Proving that the greatest admirers of the shop are completely mad.

Tomorrow, if I’ve got a chance, I’ll pop over to Rugby Street and post some snaps of what we’ve been up to, for all those many many readers who are only able to visit us virtually, on the website.  It’s looking so great in there.  But literally there was no time for a camera in the last 24 hours. You know when you’ve got a cleaning frenzy going? There’s no time to take a photo is there? No, there is not.

Well, I did take a couple of shots and these will have to do for tonight:

Farewell, Christmas window displays past! Yes, it really was time to clear out the basement and for a few brief minutes Rugby Street was suddenly enlivened by giant Georgian doorcases and fireplaces.  The photos were for instagram and twitter.  I popped up a quick post saying ‘PLEASE HELP YOURSELF’.  The most useful sort of twitter post there is, really – what, for me, it’s all about.  The instagramsphere suddenly went a bit crazy and the phone started ringing off the hook with nice ladies saying ‘Please can we reserve them, we will come and get them in a week’ and so on… but sadly – before we had blinked, they had already disappeared.

That’s what I love about cities.  I’m so excited that all our old engravings have found happy new homes in about 13 minutes flat.

If you’re not following me on Instagram or Twitter now might just be the moment. Who knows what will happen next?  Although I would entirely understand if giving up social media was your New Year resolution. (I will be even happier, of course, if I am the menacing person who made you break your resolution. You know my views on resolutions).

Talking of the great clear out… Londoners… please watch this space for details of our crazy 2-day firesale that we are holding in the shop on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February.

When I said the stockroom was out of control, earlier, I really meant it.  The firesale is going to be for all sorts of treats and delights that we just don’t have space for anymore, and for things that are just a bit damaged and just can’t be sold any longer in the shop – lovely posters and prints where the frames have got a bit damaged, or mint-condition books that we are drowning under… that sort of thing. You get it!  Most importantly everything must go and will be priced to fly out of the door.  50p/£1 bargains; £5 and £10 tables.  Cash only so be prepared.  The early bird will catch the worm. You are welcome to pitch your tent on Friday evening.  We’ll open a little earlier than normal on the Saturday and there will be a party all weekend long. Bridie and I will be there all through so please pop over to say hello.

So there.

I LOVE CLEARING OUT STUFF. It’s literally my favourite thing. The feeling that derives when you start with something chaotic and end up with a perfectly organised space… well, for me, it’s as close to heaven as you can get.  I’m sure you’ll agree if you are a loyal reader of the blog.

It’s been a week of it, after all.  I had a crazy new Year’s eve party in flat and woke the next morning feeling very worse for wear. Dreadful. All pleasures must be paid for, mustn’t they?  But man oh man did I feel better after 3 hours of hoovering up 100000s of tiny glitter stars that burst out of the party poppers. I’ll be finding those stars in 10 years time. Still, my flat suddenly looked like this again (another photo for the inner instagram in you):

Now as some of you may know, I’m off on holiday for a couple of weeks on Friday – to Mexico. Mexico City followed by Oaxaca; quite frankly then lying on the beach on Tulum with Valentina who is literally exhausted after the most successful Many Kitchens Christmas ever (well, it was only her second Christmas, but it was crazy…), and then Merida and then home.  It will be pretty amazing to say goodbye to drenched London for two weeks and say hello to colour and heat.  Please do lend me any tips (and yes I will promise to travel safely and not get sold into international slavery by a drugs cartel).

You can rest assured I’ll be taking a lot of photographs.

But the blog is having a little holiday too.  I’m sorry if I’ve just RUINED your next two January Monday mornings but I am sure you understand.

And then the blog is going on a little trip of its own.  When I’m back, Colin the magic man will have transformed the blog page entirely and it will have a new home, over at, where you will be able to go to a single page to check not only the blog but also all the shop news and so on.  The redesign by Connie is looking stunning and I’m very excited.  Doubtless there’ll be some crazy glitch or two, there always are, aren’t there? But I know you will forgive us those.

Thanks, by the way, for so many great comments on the previous blog and I will do my best to get printing.  79 Streets is not too hard to organise, as the original is hanging in the loo at the Old Parsonage. I think the rest are going to live in photographs alone. I have no idea where the original drawings for those are. But perhaps, just perhaps, this will be the year when I get around to drawing a poster that I have been dreaming of for years now… London A to Z. Oooh.

On that note, good night, and if by any small chance tomorrow is your first day back at work after the holiday, and life feels a bit, well, grim… here’s a parting thought to cheer you up:

I’ve just noticed the mornings and the evenings getting a little bit lighter every day.

Have you?

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