84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (1970)
This was a rainbow kind of day with warm sunlight followed by quick bursts of frantic rain. Look at the bright grey of the sky behind Addyman Books though the road was dazzling in the early evening sunshine. This is a post of our main shop as a backdrop to a very important book.
As a teenager I read, re-read and adored 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I dreamt of working in the Charing Cross Road and handling old books and sending them off across the world.
When I graduated I got a job there – 48a rather than 84 (now one of those pricey cake and coffee shops). Within a week I was helping a film prop lady find books for the movie of the book. The Complete Angler in the film was ours and a few others. I really thought I had the best job in the world. The hours were long and the pay was minuscule but I couldn’t wait to get to work.
A few months later I was moved to Hay for a six week training programme. I never left and within a few months had started a small shop with Derek Addyman. Slowly we grew from a 10 x 10 room to the three shops which we love wholeheartedly.
Without Hanff’s book my life could have been very different. I’ve never regretted my choices. If you can make your hobby and passion into your work your life makes sense.