Just been shopping for second hand books to fill the last of the empty spaces in my three new floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and in the process found myself in Charing Cross Books in Annerley. What I saw broke my heart. It was absolute mayhem. The passageways were narrow, the books thick with dust and the floor haphazardly littered with boxes of books sadly waiting for categorising...and whilst there was seemingly no attempt to make it easy to find anything I could tell there were some absolute gems to be discovered. Problem was the poor lighting and disarray filled me with such trepidation that I didn't get past the first two shelves in the doorway. Perched in a dark corner at the front of the shop, hidden behind a mountain of books was this darling elderly gent with these sad, kind blue eyes listening to 4BC. Luckily I stumbled upon a book near the entry about the scandalous history of one of Brisbane's most famous families (the Maynes) and enquired as to whether this was the same family buried in the mausoleum on top of Toowong cemetery. Well that set him off with a million fascinating stories. He was quite the raconteur though I couldn't help but be distracted with my own sadness at the state of his wonderful collection. Honestly the man was sitting on a farking fortune worth of books but only the brave would wander past the entry. Soon we were talking about the demise of the Chardons Corner Hotel (diagonally opposite the shop) and he was inviting me to the back of the store to show me a painting of it. He struggled to pull it out from where it was wedged and in the process we were both rained down on by an avalanche of books. He was so damned pleased that I was interested in his stories that it was difficult to leave. Now that I'm home all I can think about is getting in there and cleaning the place up. It was an absolute tragedy to see it in the state it was in. How do you volunteer for such a thing without causing offence?