There is nothing quite so frustrating as waiting for something that you have eagerly anticipated, to arrive through the post. Each day I irrationally expected my parcel to appear, and each day I was disappointed. Days turned into weeks and then months. Christmas (which was when I hoped to have them) came and went. I chased the marketing company responsible for the promotion and was fobbed off with vague promises of the books arriving shortly. I even found a discussion forum in which hordes of other prospective authors were venting their spleen about their missing books. Eventually, in April, 2006, the books finally arrived.
I have to admit that the books were impressive. They looked the business (see Booked Up!) and were reassuringly weighty. Even the pictures had transferred successfully. The only downside was that I had been forced to choose between single or double spaced lines and had opted for double spacing in a desperate attempt to make the book look better value than it actually was. The end result was something like those Janet and John books of my childhood. Nevertheless, I now had a book of my own in my hot little hands. After foisting a number onto my friends and relatives, I naturally began to think about selling the remainder. However, I soon came up against a snag in that the major bookshop in our town (whilst quite supportive of my attempts) could not stock the book without an ISBN.
I seemed to be back to square one again, until a friend of ours in the same village said that he could help me to self-publish the book. The only problem would be that it could not be in a conventional book format, with a spine. As a home published effort, it would be more like an expanded booklet. To keep the number of pages down to a level that could be realistically stapled, it was no longer possible for each chapter to start on a new page. Nevertheless, the book could be published and printed (after a fashion) and I hurriedly applied for my set of ISBN numbers.
Casting around for a suitable photo for the cover, I remembered that the urinal that featured in the final title story had just been rescued, refurbished and granted pride of place in what was then the Bass Museum of Brewing. It was too good a chance to miss. Armed with a camera and a ticket to the museum, my long-suffering wife captured a picture of me striding purposefully toward the Convenience, thus creating a picture that would baffle and perplex potential readers for years to come!