Never one to ask bloggees to do something I wouldn't do myself (or at least get a daughter to do) I'm standing in my local Waterstones' the other afternoon, and telling my daughter in increasingly frantic tones that I can't find a copy of Take Off Your Party Dress anywhere in this wretched excuse for a bookshop. It's not at the front where I thought I would find it, it's nowhere on any of the shelves downstairs, and even when I take myself - heavy footed and down at heart - upstairs to the wilderness of the Health section, where I firmly, if despondently, expect to find it....even up there, it's NOT.
Daughter offers to ask for it, but I'm just about to pay for a pile of books with my card and even though these days that doesn't involve a signature, just the typing in of four numbers, I'm sure the sales assistant will somehow see my name on the card and I'll be exposed as a manic, chasing-my-own-book author. So while daughter is hissing that she'll ask for it, I'm hissing, "NO, don't" and so just exposed as manic hissing mother.
Five minutes later we're in the car, and after attempting to talk about other things I suddenly say, "ok, call directory enquiries, get the number of Hampstead Waterstone's, and just phone them and ask for it." She does this with great aplomb, much pretence of not being able to pronounce the author's surname, and various other subterfuges, only to find out that the person answering the phone at Waterstone's claims that they do indeed have the book in stock. "No, they don't" I'm hissing, "find out where it is then!"
Back at home, still obsessed, I get my husband to phone the local Borders. "Yes, we have three," the assistant says over the phone. "Oh good," says the good husband, "I'll be buying two or three - you'll probably need to order some more." "Yes sir," says the assistant, "can I have your name, so I can put these three behind the counter for you?"
So now I've successfully managed to get the three copies of TOYPD that were actually on display in a bookshop shunted behind a till where nobody will ever see them.