In my dream I was standing inside my favourite bookshop back in Hamilton, the city I lived in for forty two years in New Zealand. I could clearly see the whole interior. The shop in question was long and relatively narrow. Along both its side walls stood vast shelves, straining under the weight of those beautiful books.
On the floor space were islands of books. At the back more shelves arranged like a library sat beneath a mezzanine floor, groaning under the weight of yet more bookshelves crammed full. Halfway down on the left-hand side of the shop was the counter and till, situated beneath the stairs that led up to the mezzanine.
My problem was that for the life of me I could not remember the name of the company whose shop it was at the time. The following morning after logging on, I Googled all the bookshops in Hamilton. One name stood out – Whitcoulls. Eureka – that’s it, right? Wrong. Whitcoulls were who bought the company I was trying to think of.
Feeling even more frustrated, that evening I was chatting to my best friend Graeme who still lives in New Zealand. Even he couldn’t remember at first. Then between us something clicked. The company name we were both scratching our heads to remember suddenly appeared as if by magic – Whitcombe and Tombs.