This is not the big G's headquarters. It is where I work two days a week. All very idyllic. And inside's pretty good too.
The two engines of Arc Publications are Tony Ward and Angela Jarman, who have been working together on the press for over 16 years (although Tony set up the press 40 years). Both are over sixty. And it's a delight to work with people who have such a long view on publishing and working practices. It reminds me too, of that quip - stay in one place long enough and you eventually become fashionable. Put another way: progressive is really just old school, in new trousers.
For example, lunchtimes. Instead of all heading out to buy sandwiches, or eating homemade packed lunches at our desks, one of us makes a soup. Which we all down tools and share for three quarters of an hour, or so, and chat about stuff we've seen, heard, read or done, or chew over some work-related gristle (less often it has to be said). You know, relax. Buy some headspace on whatever's happened that morning. Get a perspective. Re-energise ourselves. Remember there is more to each of us than being a member of staff. That we have other lives, pasts and imaginations. It's almost like a Friday night drink every day, without the alcohol.
Invariably it's the afternoons when things really motor, ideas cement and fly. And it doesn't even seem to matter what flavour soup, they're all hot.