My telephone box is full of books

Paperback novels are appearing in the telephone box in the village square.

This new library is the idea of someone just down the road, who has given the books the death-ray spray and placed them in the phone box for people to take away and read. He is encouraging others to do the same.

I’ve just popped a couple of mine in as I’m getting through books like some people appear to be getting through toilet paper, although I’m obviously not using them for the same purpose.

Like so many other rural communities, we lost our mobile library some years ago. Since then, two other second-hand book outlets have sprung up – one at the hall and the other at the pub, helping us to sustain our thirst for new reading material.

But with the pub now closed and the hall out of bounds for public events during the lockdown, the bibliophiles among us are having to make do with ordering books online or plundering our bookshelves for the stories from our pasts.

So the new library in the phone box is a welcome addition to our armoury against boredom.

The village would love to adopt the phone box as its own but, apparently, it’s one of the few to which BT wants to hang on. BT says the phone is working, although it actually isn’t. You’d get more joy out of a couple of tin cans and string.

Our village phone box hasn’t been used since someone spent the night in it in 2018 as part of their record-breaking trek to walk the Monarch’s Way non-stop.

Like Charles II back in 1651, he didn’t get a very good night’s sleep here.

The mobile phone signal in the village is now pretty good, so that can’t be the reason why we still need a ‘working’ phone box when so many have been handed over to their local community.

So can we adopt it, BT, huh, please? We’d really look after it. You don’t like our phone box enough to maintain it. Its peeling red paint is a sad reflection of the phone boxes of our youth. It was last painted eight years ago and there was a week in the autumn of 2012 when it wore just a pretty pink undercoat.

We remember it well.

Now, it’s full of cobwebs, there’s a glove in the corner and a pane of glass on the floor. And some lovely free books on the shelf.

But not this one. I’m not giving this away for love nor money. I’ve got a pile of dross to get through before I reward myself with this to read.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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