Another staff member greeted me. He introduced himself as Jon. I asked "Jon Gilbert?" and he answered "Yes". Jon is the author of "Ian Fleming: The Bibliography" and is also heavily involved in James Bond First Editions which is affiliated with Harrington Books. When I first asked if I could take some photos and then mentioned I was waiting for Darren, he said "I know Darren. He's a regular here".
I noticed a display copy of "Ian Fleming: The Bibliography" and asked some questions about it. Suddenly Jon was guiding me through his massive reference book, showing me images of rare covers, explaining how a certain cover had just made it in for inclusion and discussing some of the unusual covers he'd encountered. I felt very fortunate to have such an introduction to the book and I knew I had to buy it.
It was about this time that Darren arrived. We greeted each other and he was quickly emptying his bag and handing me three paperback books. "You can have them for free." he said "Just buy me a coffee later". Thanks a heap Darren.
And if this wasn't enough, suddenly Jon took us into another room to show us his own Bond collection. Talk about impressive. When comparing it to my own collection I certainly felt humbled. And I have never handled such rare books before. I did happen to take some photos too, and hopefully these will be displayed on the Collectors Corner page of my website soon.
When we finally left Harringtons after about 2 hours, Darren and I then caught a double-decker to Hatchards, the oldest book store in the UK. Here we asked about the imminent release of William Boyd's "Solo" and whether they were organising any promotion for the book. "No" was the reply, although they did have a special-edition hard back listed on the computer.
Almost immediately after exiting Waterstones I had to leave Darren to catch up with my wife and Aunt who were waiting for me near Harrods. And just as I was walking down the stairs at Piccadilly Station, having said goodbye, I realised I hadn't bought the coffee I'd promised him. Sorry Darren, I definitely owe you a coffee next time ! And what a great morning of Bond books too.
And for those interested here's some photos taken while my wife and I were in the UK:
Leeds Castle, Kent