I remember Sligo for one reason especially: hospitality.
Let loose in a bookshop, even on-line, I tend to lose track of time. So it was in Sligo, all those years ago, so that when I paid over my punts, I received with my book and my change an invitation to take tea with the family.
Perhaps it’s my fond imagination, but Irish baking in those days could hit the heights of good taste. I recall a bakery in Ennis – run by a cousin of a woman we knew up by Sligo – where the fresh brown bread was so very good, two of us had eaten the loaf within a quarter of an hour as we walked across town.
Here in Sligo it was sitting around the peat fire, a tea loaf – an Irish version of bara brith but with more butter within and more spread upon it than in Wales. And it was talk, good interesting talk it was too.
Good booksellers, like good librarians, listen to the people of the centuries, and if they speak to those of today, have wisdom to share. ‘I think you’ll like this one. You had another book by her a year ago.’ That’s the computer helping out, telling the librarian what I’ve borrowed before, but it’s a useful tool for her and her borrowers.