Waterstone’s sur-la-mere

Third day of my temporary posting at Leith’s Ocean Terminal mall down in the dockside, setting up a brand new bookstore from scratch. Of course, this being Waterstone’s the organisation is all over the place – you’d never guess this was the UK’s biggest book chain. While the store itself is just a shell being fitted out we’ve been given a couple of empty units above it to set up unpacking and stock processing facilities. The computers were all there on Monday when we arrived. Alas the controller for them and the software still aren’t. So me and my little team have been unpacking away like book opening beavers, but without the ability to process the thousands of titles we’ve received. This means we’re having to take a lot on trust.

I’ve now been told what is expected of me – finally – and golly, gee it’s a lot more complicated and, given the time deadline, stressful than I thought. Basically organising all of the goods in then taking that stock, sorting and arranging it all so that when the store is ready we can take down palettes of crates which I have hopefully arranged perfectly to go right onto the shelves, like a cross between a literary jigsaw puzzle and Lego. Helped no end by the lack of computer facilities and the fact the room we’ve been given to store the books in and for me to sort them in has one single emergency light for a twenty metre space. Our building services guy promised to set up light stands of the type the builders use until the electric fittings are in. Thursday tomorrow and me and my Harbour Homies are still trying to sort books in the 30 watt gloom. Even vamp boys like me need some light to read book titles by. Perhaps I could train my cats to use their excellent night vision to sort them for me? Of course, I’d have to factor their 18 hours of napping into my staff rota.

Still, it is an unusual change of pace and is going to be pretty damned challenging for me. A tad stressful and tiring obviously, but it should also be quite satisfying if pulled off and the guys I am working with are all mucking in and we‘re having fun in the trenches. Plus I had lunch overlooking the harbour, right next to the Royal Yacht Britannia, looking out over the Forth estuary to Fife. Which is much nicer than looking the other side of the building where the ‘regeneration’ of Leith’s dockside continues in the shape of monstrously ugly new buildings being constructed. Some of the ugliest architecture of the modern world collected down here altogether. I guess it balanced the gorgeous architecture of the medieval Old Town and the Neo-Classical New Town. And instead of making fun of tourists around the Castle area I can poke fun at tourists paying out 8 bloody quid to go onto Britannia.