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Ode To Ashby Book-Shop ©

(Written in the style of the late and much lamented William McGonagall Esq, Poet and Tragedian, of Dundee)

Gordon Fjaelberg
Bridgend, Wales
1993

'Twas in the year of 1986
and i' the month of September
Which the good people of Ashby
Should long have cause to remember,
For during that fateful month
- Oh! Still, my beating pen! -
Someone famous came to Ashby-de-la-Zouch,
(The exact date of which, though,
I cannot truly vouch)
And opened up Rushton's Yard,
There and then.

Oh! Rushton's Yard!
Most wondrous to see,
'Twixt Market Street and South Street,
Here in the town of Ashby,
Where good folk can come in
And shop during the day,
Or sit and rest if weary
With minimal dismay.
Let's marvel at the buildings,
All seemingly old and rustic,
Most of which are made, though,
From re-constituted brick,
Of which it must be said,
And lest it be forgot,
Ashby-de-la-Zouch has somehow
Got rather a lot.

From Market Street as you enter Rushton's Yard
And then turn left,
You shall not, of culture, remain bereft,
Because - Behold!
A book-shop lies there to your gaze,
Which dullards ignore who are set in their ways.
In truth, the book-shop is,
At least for the more discerning,
A veritable treasure-chest,
An Emporium of Learning.
Books are truly God's own work,
Because they tend to make you think
And thus cast your mind from the demon drink,
Which, and this must be said,
Leaves your brain-cells dead.

The book-shop's proprietor,
If ever you were to ask me,
Is Mr Andrew Alfred Gillaspie,
And he lives in Rouen Way,
Here in the beautiful town of Ashby.
Inside, for those who behold,
It is like an Aladdin's Cake
Of books, and all manner of literary material,
Some serious, though some are more frivolous,
While a few can be deemed ethereal.
If you cannot find the book you want
Anywhere on the bottom floor,
Just go upstairs
Where there's plenty more.

Beautiful Ashby, twinned with Pithivier
In France, and centrally located,
Though not exactly on a river
But on a stream called the Gill A' Whiskae
Which runs through the middle,
Though as to the precise reason
It's called the Gill A' Whiskae
Remains something of a riddle.
Yet as it gurgles along, quite erratic,
Minnows and trout sing a song
Most aquatic.

Beautiful Ashby, I leave you,
But when I return
Your excellent book-shop in Rushton's Yard
I will surely not spurn.
Deep among your volumes I spent
Many innocent hours carousing,
Just dipping at random, or solemnly browsing
Through articles on water dowsing
Or how to build myself an engine housing.
Mr Gillaspie, your most wonderful staff
Are able to sort out the wheat from the chaff
And get customers the books
That they seek, without delay,
Because no request can make them dismay.
Mr Gillaspie, your book-shop,
Which none shall gainsay,
Is the finest to be found anywhere
In Britain at the present day,
(Excepting for possibly Dillons!)
Though inside it can become
A little bit dusty and dry,
I cannot sing its praises too high.

P.S: since writing the above lines I learned,
To my undying horror,
That Mr Gillaspie's book-shop has closed,
And been lost to Ashby forever.
Sad I was, Mr Gillaspie,
To hear about its closing;
How much do I wish now
That I'd actually bought something.


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