Susan Morrison: I just joined Red Queen’s rebel alliance against Amazon’s evil empire

Elvis  Shakespeare is a treasure trove of second-hand books and records. Picture: Scott Louden
Elvis Shakespeare is a treasure trove of second-hand books and records. Picture: Scott Louden
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There’s a biography of the formidable Barbara Castle called ‘Red Queen’. I’ve always fancied reading it, but political biogs are pretty niche, so it soon disappeared from the shelves. Couldn’t find it anywhere.

A few months ago I was in Elvis Shakespeare, a glorious treasure trove of second-hand books and records on Leith Walk. I poked about, but no book.

No worries, said the lovely man behind the counter, just write your email here. If it comes in, we’ll let you know. Yeah, right.

Well, lo and behold, in comes an email. ‘Red Queen’ is in, shall we hold it for you? Yes, indeedy.

I walked into the shop to a cheerful: ‘Hiya, you’re the lady who wanted Red Queen? Here you go.”

Amazon and Ebay have the resources of an evil Empire. They could have had that book to me in hours. My friendly little shop made me feel like I had just joined the rebel alliance.

Lack of toilet etiquette drives people potty

Delicate subject, I know, but imagine the scene. You are seated, having evacuated bodily waste. Well done. Your mother’s efforts with that potty paid off.

Look around. The soft tissue is provided to have a quick clean up.

Stand carefully. Seek the flush mechanism.

There will be a tremendous rush of water. Do not panic. This may seem noisy and a tad scary, but it is entirely normal. This is not the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow.

Congratulations, you have flushed and cleared that loo like a boss. Unsuspecting strangers need not enter cubicles behind you and get a nasty surprise. This is happening a tad too often these days.

Oh, one other thing. Should you stand, wipe and find no flush mechanism, take a quick glance around. Is there a ring of appalled faces? You have just committed something of an etiquette blunder. Leave, quickly and quietly. Take the napkin with you. Your hostess will never use it again.

Massively embarrassing, but what an episode of Come Dine With Me.