Saturday, 15 January 2011

Charity Begins at Home

Now nobody laugh. At work I'm sort of our morale officer. I'm responsible for overseeing the implementation of corporate culture in our division and also seeing events are organised to support our corporate charity (which is the local Air Ambulance).

Last year we ran a second hand bookstall and made over £250 if memory serves me correctly. Well, I say "we" I wasn't actually there. I mean I only have to see things are organised. I don't actually have to do them myself and I wasn't in the day it happened.

When my loyal team finished however there were a lot of books left over. Four crates worth, each containing two layers together with another big cardboard box of hardback autobiographies, including Des Lynam, Tony Adams and Katie Price. Really, I mean who buys these things in the first place and then who thinks someone else is going to buy it second hand. Perhaps we should record who donates them and hold them up to public humiliation, along with whoever donated a tome on the finer points of cost and management accounting.

When I got back into the office I found that the leftovers had been stuck behind my desk. This wasn't so bad at first as I picked up a few odds and ends that I wouldn't pay full price for (collected works of Michael Moorcock to remind me what it's like to be 17). A few more went over the next few weeks as I made everyone who came to visit me buy a couple of books. Eventually people stopped visiting so this tactic was never going to be a long term strategy. My team and I kicked around a few ideas and eventually decided to try to sell them to our local second hand book dealer (Harrowden Books of Finedon, - much recommended. Run by a great chap called Mike*. Books are cheaper if you visit rather than buy on line).

So eventually I loaded the four crates in the boot of my car last Friday and went off with one of my staff and a sack barrow to see who much we could get for them. We only managed to up end two crates all over the road in the process, so not that bad.

My plan was to say £20 and the whole lot's yours. However Mike pointed out there wasn't a market for most of the stuff and he didn't have the storage anyway. Apparently nobody really wants to buy second hand Jeremy Clarkson or any form of hardback fiction. Paperback crime, books on chess, classic fiction, and history are all good. In fact the only things Mike really wanted to buy were the crates to help with his storage problem.

He took half an hour or so searching through the crates and took a pile of books and offered us £6 or £10 if we wanted any books off him.

Damn. I was standing next to the area where the Spanish Civil War books were when I last went in and cleaned him out of said subject area. And he'd had some new stuff in.

So I stuck £10 in the charity fund, gave £20 to Mike and took the books. This haul included some Gosling Press booklets which I wasn't aware of. So I'm now the proud owner of:

Revolutionary Warfare - Spain 1936-37 by Christopher Hall
Viva la Muerta - Nationalist Forces 1936-39 by Christopher Hall
Disciplina Camarads - English Volunteers - by Christopher Hall
Battle of Brunete and the Aragon by Frank Graham (a Communist Volunteer)
The Struggle for Madrid by Robert G Colodny.

Can anyone tell me if I've wasted my money (other than the fact that I really do have way too much to read!)

*Mike is a re-enactor with the ECWS. So apart from him being on the wrong side and think Charles I was something other than a man of blood we got on famously. He even has a DVD with me in it as an extra on "By the Sword Divided".


  1. Great read. It was like reading an episode of Black Books!

    The Colodny Book is quite good. Frank Graham is too biased. The Hall stuff is good wargaming fare.


  2. Had a chance to read most of them now. I thought Colodny was excellent, - lots of really useful wargamer-y orbats and so on.

    Frank Graham is biased, but at least that is obvious straigt off. And I'm reading the books for military detail, so I can ignore his politics.

    Hall is, as you say, good wargaming stuff.

    I'm struggling to find any stuff in English that describes what the Nationalists were doing. Any recommendations? Otherwise you can end up thinking the entire war was fought by the IBs.