We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Many happy returns

This morning's odd book prompts Noreen to have another go at ringing round libraries to retrieve copies of an Urdu language Highway Code book that the suppliers asked us to recall the best part of a year ago. Apparently there are a few errors which don't help the reader. Once the recall arrived Noreen rang round libraries to get the copies back. Three did but the rest were on loan. All this time later and despite messages popping up on the screen saying "send this back now!!!" whenever they're issued or returned all the remaining copies have been loaned out again.

After all this time it's vanishingly unlikely that they'll be replaced by the supplier even if they do come back to the fold. Sigh...

Magic realism

A book's sent back to the Acq. Team to see about getting a replacement because of a printer's error. These things happen every so often. This time the narrative goes from the end of chapter 11 to chapters 3 to 5 of an entirely different story. What's remarkable is that it's been issued five times before anybody complained. God knows what the readers made of it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The future's naughty

I obviously have "that look."

Walking down Daisycutter Lane to get a butty I'm handed an advertising flier by a lady of a certain age, which I accept graciously. Imagine my surprise when I take a look at it and discover it's a 10% discount voucher for a new sex shop next door to the chip shop.

I brought it back here and left it in the staff room alongside the money-off vouchers for Pollyfilla from Boots and fittings at Hannigan's Truss Boutique.

Knowledge Management workshop two: timeliness and credibility

Verity Hedley, the branch manager at Carbootsale Library, goes to each of the local Community Forum meetings. It's a good way of keeping in touch with the local community as well as making sure the library's at the table when there's any useful developments. It's a bit tricky this time: T.Aldous was told a month ago that we weren't successful in getting funding for a major revamp for the library, he told Verity last week and he told her that she wasn't to tell anyone, even the local councillors.

"I'll tell councillors," says T.Aldous.

Which is interesting when the Forum gets to discuss community room facilities in the area:

"We can't really decide on what work we need to do on the facilities until we get the results of the funding bid for the library," says Councillor Pascombe. "Have you heard anything Verity?"

"T.Aldous has told me he'll let you know when he's heard anything."

"Ooh, haven't you heard?" pipes up another. "It was unsuccessful. We were told that in last week's housing association meeting."

Knowledge Management Workshop one: know your enemy

T.Aldous will tell anybody who asks that "we have regular monthly staff meetings." This actually means: "we have occasional staff meetings at Catty and Dutch Bend." At Helminthdale the last of even these wizened briefings was more than a year hence.

In some respects it's no bad thing not to have to endure one of T.Aldous' whizz-bang monologue shows. In other respects it would be useful for us to know what was going on in the service. Especially as those people backstage without borough-wide responsibilities end up answering the 'phone for T.Aldous and being subjected to interrogations about where meetings are, why someone's not available, etc. etc. etc.

Today, for instance, it would have been nice for us to know that there's going to be a book launch in the library next week before seeing the poster in the shopping centre. We might have felt like we were part of the team. As is, we may decide that we know nothing about it and bollocks to them.

Like you do your sandwiches

Doreen's planning for what happens when the carpet's replaced at Helminthdale Library. T.Aldous' plan seems to be for half the library to be roped off while the workmen do the carpet and then the other half roped off while they do the carpet there. Which works very well with an empty room. It's a bit more difficult when the place is full of bookshelves, books and furniture. So it's decided that all the stuff that needs to be got out of the way should be stacked up in a corner of the library that can then be roped off from the public (don't don't don't ask where the kit that's in that corner's got to go!!! we're digging a hole to bury the earth displaced from the first hole we dug).

So far so bad.

T.Aldous has decreed that the stock that's being shifted out of the way shall not be boxed up. Imagine, if you will, twenty thousand non-fiction items stacked up in piles on a trestle table in the corner of the library, just begging to be accidentally knocked over and replaced out of sequence. Doreen's already wondering if there's still time for her to book leave for that fortnight.

Why has T.Aldous suddenly taken agin boxes? Who knows: there's no evidence of any rethink backstage.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Henry Hall should live this night

Another staff room conversation.

"I'd had that teddy bear for forty years so I took it to the Dolls' Hospital in Bencup. They did a really good job: completely restuffed and with a new head and clothes and everything."

"How is that not a brand new teddy bear?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A jingly bracelet or two

A colleague tells me that her library authority has decided to flog its withdrawn stock on eBay. Her boss susses out that they'll need a PayPal account and an eBay account.

"We can't set up accounts for the library authority so you'll have to open accounts in your own name and organise the sales and payments. Oh, by the way, you'll need to take the books to the Post Office outside hours because we can't spare you from the library."

Last year's case in Manchester looming large in the memory, my colleague told them to go and procreate.

Monday, September 24, 2007


As always, if anything odd happens I get the blame... email from Beryl at Senebene:

If you send me any books about sex you're dead.

What books about sex? Apparently a copy of "More Joy of Sex" had been reserved for her.

"Did it arrive under plain wrapper?" I ask.

"It just came in the box this morning."

It was worth copping the blame for that one.


In trots T.Aldous...

"I've just come back from the meeting about the call centre. They want to know how much training will be needed for their staff to use the management system."

"That rather depends on what they'll actually be doing and what we decide to let them see."

"I tried telling them that but they said that was detail for a future meeting but they need to know how much time to set aside for training. By the way, you don't mind being the trainer do you?"

"I can't see any option, I'm the only person in the borough who can do it."

So there we have it: give a binding answer to the amount of time needed to provide training on a suite of unspecified functions to a group with unspecified permissions for to deliver a parcel of unspecified customer transactions. For once T.Aldous was embarassed by a daft question so I told him to tell them it would need between one and four two-hour sessions, which is suitably vague without resorting to bald derision.

Gardener's World

Complaint from a customer at Milkbeck:

"Those wild flower seeds you gave my lad for the Big Wild Read? I sowed 'em and just got weeds."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ain't it grand

The muse strikes again. For those of you who care about these things, this one has a rather louche orchestra backing with lots of brass and a bloke with a whoopee whistle.

Ain't It Grand To Work In Helminthdale!
(apologies and due deference to Sarony)

Lately there's nothing but trouble, grief and strife
There's not much attraction about this bloomin' life
Last night I dreamt I was bloomin' well dead
At work in the library I bloomin' well said:
Look at the decor, early late stone age.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!
Look at the web site, can't add a web page.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

We don't train the staff to use systems old or new
There's no one to train them so nowt will have to do.
Look at the staffing, looks like a ghost town.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

Half of the posts here, gone like a vapour.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!
All of the remnants, burnt out and bitter.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

We're closing a library to give it a refit
But don't tell the customers, it's a see-kerit.
Look at the ceiling, look at it fall down.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

Look at what passes for communication.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!
Old horses asses misinformation.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

We're having a booksale you might not be aware
And that's why there's boxes in every bloomin' where.
Can't move for cartons some have been years there.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

What are those spinners? They're going nowhere.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!
Don't chuck that shelving! Best keep it back spare.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

We come from dust and we all go back they say
That layer on the ref stock could well be you some day.
Look at T.Aldous, thumping great halfwit.
Ain't it grand to work in Helminthdale!

Trying to be gracious

At the point at which I'm just about to escape this hell hole T.Aldous appears at the door to apologise for this morning's "misunderstanding." He explains that he didn't know that Julia had given me the possible dates for the closure and that this has had to be postponed for all sorts of reasons.

"I don't know why she didn't wait until we knew for sure of the dates."

"She wanted to make sure that nobody had loans due during the closed period. We've been there before and we want to avoid the complaints if we can."

This ping-pong continues for a while until even he realises I want to go home.

Early warning

"Just to let you know," says Jim, "Warner's going to be asking T.Aldous whether he's had your views on the call centre process diagrams."

Warner already knows my views as Jim has passed a bowdlerised version of my notes on to him. I noticed that "this is utter bollocks" became "this doesn't look quite right."

Sure enough, five minutes later T.Aldous comes in to tell me about this last-minute document that he'd like me to have a look at. I promise to get back to him by early afternoon.


'Phone call from Lupin, who's sorting out some problems at Catty.

"Why don't you let your customers save to USB sticks?"

"Because your section head told us we weren't allowed to save to memory devices for security reasons."

"Do you want me to see if I can set it up for you?"

"I'd love you to but shouldn't you check beforehand to watch your back?"

It turns out that Lupin is told not to do so.

You might ask why I didn't just say yes. Experience tells me that once we went public on it it would be immediately shut down and Lupin bollocked. We'd have achieved nothing and compromised a useful ally.

Joined-up services

Frog's just had an email from a guy in Yorkshire congratulating him on Helminthdale's "First For Family Literacy" programme and asking how deeply embedded the Library Service is in the project.

The second half of the question is easily answered: this is the first that Frog's heard of it. His correspondent supplies him with links to the appropriate places. It turns out that this project's being run by the Family Learning Section Frog's been working with to deliver BookStart, inter alia, and that the conference presentation on the project was delivered by Cavey Gaskem, Warner's line manager and our Big Boss. We scour the presentation for evidence of the word "library." The rest is predictable...

Compared to us the Stasi was over-communicative

A bollocking from T.Aldous for telling staff that the reason why items being issued at Catty today have a May 2008 due date is because it's going to be closed for building works.

"This is premature. You should check your facts first."

"This is far from premature. Both staff and public will be wondering why this stock has a May due date."

Why does every bloody thing in this library service have to be a secret?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Low comedy

Post-meeting banter between colleagues, one of whom returns to a well-worn topic.

"In the war 'itler told the Luftwaffe that on no account must they bomb our town hall."

"He liked the building that much?"

"He reckoned our council was worth twenty fifth columns."

What type of a blunt instrument are we looking for?

Email from the web team.

"The library news page is out of date. Please update it as soon as possible."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!


'Phone call:

"Is Frog there please?"

"No, sorry, he's in events at Spadespit Library all day."

"All day?"


"I'll ring him back this afternoon."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Processed cheese

"Has anyone shown you this?" asks Jim. "We've been looking at it in Management Group this morning."
"This" turns out to be a series of process flowcharts for the call centre's staff using our systems for customer transactions. Most are wrong in detail and one is functionally illiterate. Needless to say, this is the first I've seen of it and I've no idea who informed the process mapping.
"It's another panic job: Warner's got to sign it off on Monday."
I raise my eyebrows.

"T.Aldous spent all morning telling us that he only got this yesterday morning and that's why he asked them to postpone the signing-off meeting that had been set up for today. Except it turns out that this is the revised document taking into account some of the comments from earlier meetings."
This is true. In proper justifying-the-consultancy-fee fashion the document's history is mapped out date-by-date in the first page. T.Aldous sat on this for a month before letting Management Group see it. I'm getting my first dekko this lunchtime. I am fizzing.

Trying to convince myself that I can still be professional occasionally I go through the document, mapping out the errors and issues requiring decision as I go along, sketching out a few possible solutions along the way knowing full well they won't be looked at let alone adopted. Lovely.

Happy to serve

Frog's at Senebene Library with a class visit.

"That was really lovely and the children really enjoyed it. Thanks a lot," says the teacher. "Though it might have been better if, when you told the children that they'll be welcome in the library in the future and that this will be the first visit of many, the staff on the counter didn't roll their eyes and groan loudly."

Brick wall

Yet another web page rejection. We need to get four pieces of information onto the library web page:
  • Telling people about CIPFA plus (and encouraging them to say nice things about us);
  • Warning them that Catty Library will soon be closed for building works;
  • Promoting our Breathing Places events; and
  • Encouraging the last stragglers to finish the Big Wild Read.

The fact that three of these directly affect national performance indicators and the fourth is something our Catty customers absolutely need to know is neither here nor there. You cannot have more than two new items at a time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hidden in plain sight

Only in Helminthdale could the Outlook settings on new PCs be such as to automatically archive old mail to a hard drive that staff don't have permission to access.

Further opacity

Eileen asks me for some advice on getting some information out of the library catalogue. "For Monday's business information seminar."

"What business information seminar?"

"The one Milton's organised. He's got a chap coming in to talk about business information and business information systems."

It's good to know the communications policy's working so well. Milton's on his hols so I can't quiz him about it, which is a shame because he's one of the people who complains the most about other sections of the service having a silo mentality. I can't be bothered to feel personally slighted, it's nothing to do with me any more.

We're unimpressed down here as we're only the people who'll be answering the 'phone to people asking about the seminar.

Manual drive

I am heartily sick of people having a go at me for the fact that the new laser printers don't come with manuals. Typically:

"Where's the manual? How can we know how to use the thing without a manual? What are you doing about it?!?"

In short, nothing.

I'd probably be less pissed-off about it if the manuals for all the other kit we've ever had in the library hadn't been sent to my office on arrival and that not a one of the systems manuals I've ever written for the buggers has ever been seen to be available to staff on desk or counter.

Children without innocence

Frog's put out, and rightly. Some of the librarians didn't turn up for a children's library services meeting this morning. It turns out that after discussions in Management Group and a discussion in the last Assistant Librarians' meeting it has been decided that from today only one Assistant Librarian at a time will be coming to the meetings.

Nobody could be arsed to tell Frog about it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wot the 'ell 's t'good of a yoyo t'me?

"What are the risks in our implementing a project for a new library management system?" I'm asked.

I reply that key milestones in the specification, planning and implementation process might not be playing to our strengths, requiring as they do:
  1. Specification of required outcomes
  2. Decision-making
  3. Evaluation and review
  4. Project planning
  5. Process re-engineering
  6. Communicating with staff
  7. Communicating with customers
  8. Staff training
  9. Workload planning and prioritisation
  10. Workflow planning

Aside from that, we'd be fine so long as we were working for another organisation at some other time doing something else.

A jewel on the nation's arse

Call centre time again. Basically, it's a last-minute panic to not have any of our staffing budget taken off us to pay for the call centre without any of our planning for the fact that the centre's going to happen come what may so we should put forward some positive proposals for things they can do without ay additional resources that we'll have to pay for. Big shock, Management Group's negotiating ploy is to sit and sulk in the corner.

I'm not allowed in on any of the discussions on the Library Service's response to the call centre proposals, I'm just the guy who had to scope the project on his own over a few evenings because Management Group didn't want to know early last year; tried to ensure that all the physical activities and face-to-face interactions with customers outweighed any virtual or telephone interactions that could be taken over by the call centre; and who will be held responsible for any system that need to be set up, used and reported from when the time comes. What happens is that every so often one or other of them will pop their head into the office, show me some bit of paper I've never seen before and, before I get the chance to read it, subject me to another of their precious viva voce examinations: "can our management system report on the call centre's registering borrowers?" "what needs to be done?" "I thought not." Fuck off.

I wouldn't mind if these stupid examinations didn't involve their wasting my time with fifteen minutes' worth of blather about the doings and emailings of people I've never heard of prior to meetings I've never heard of or from either. Every bloody time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Grasping the nettle

I've whined on about the business of waking up at your desk and finding out that you're the senior officer of the service and have no idea what the hell to do in an emergency so I won't do it again. It's happened again today, the emergency being a staffing issue. Now, I'll admit that I've no idea what it is I do these days but I'm very sure that it doesn't cover staffing the library. Unfortunately, half of management group are on leave and the remaining pair out a meetings (which circumstance never happens). We do the numbers and Mog decides that Julia must be around somewhere and resolves to beard her in her lair.

"Found her," says Mog, "she was at Dutch Bend."

"Oh yes. Job sorted?"

"What do you think?"

"Just out of curiosity, what was the official answer?"

"She said: 'It'll have to wait until T.Aldous is back.'"

One of the crowd

A belated thanks to The Annoyed Librarian for including 'Tales' in her blogroll.

One of the really scary things about the blogosphere (sorry!) is just how many other people are writing accounts of the hell that is life in utterly disfunctional library organisations. While it is always 'a comfort in wretchedness to have companions in woe' (Marlowe's 'Faust') I can't help boggling that this sorry world can stand it.

Whatever, let's raise a Brasso & orange with Citalopram chasers to our worldwide band of sufferers!

So who should run the public library service?

The votes are in:
  • The people who brought you the Millennium Dome? 0%
  • The people who brought you the Olympics 2012 logo? 0%
  • The people who get your name wrong on your pay slip? 0%
  • The people who lose your annual leave forms? 0%
  • The Chuckle Brothers? 33%
  • The late Charlie Caroli? 66%
So the late Charlie Caroli is voted the person most fit to run the public library service. Which was also the conclusion of the Bookseller poll which provoked this.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An inverted pyramid of piffle

"The bloke from the MLA says that we should be using Google Analytics for our web-based performance indicator figures. He reckons it would be easy enough," says Jim.

"I hope you told the bloke from the MLA that some of us are spending all our time working for a living," I respond.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sometimes you can't win for losing

A colleague writes...

"One of our managers successfully persuaded the council's media team to include a piece on the forthcoming CIPFA Plus survey on the council's web site. Really good, including an excellent quote from the Chair of the Library Committee.

"The gilt was scraped off the gingerbread by the headline:

'Young bookworms get their say on services'

"I tremble to think what the headline might have been had we been surveying our Asian readers!"

Service development priorities

I don't have a lot of truck with most of the Library 2.0 evangelisms but I must see some point in Web 2.0 tools or I wouldn't be doing this. Consequently, when an advert for introductory training for Web 2.0 appeared in the lists I suggested that it would be useful for some of our librarians to go on it to get some idea of what I've been trying to talk to them about for the past three years. For once I got a response to an email to Management Group:

"Salome won't be available. She will be supervising the laying of the new carpet."

His granny's pot clock

Real 'phone call. Maybelle Googly rings me...

"Helminthdale Library, Kevin Musgrove speaking."

"Hello Kevin. Are you in there?"

"You've had a pig of a morning, haven't you Maybelle?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Daisy's just given up smoking again.

"What will you be setting fire to now you've not got your cancer sticks?" I josh.

The glint in her eye prompts me to warn her of the detection rates for arson. I tell lies but it would be just her luck to be in the 0.5% solved by the Dutch Bend plod.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Journeying anonymous through the rising tide of concrete

I've promised myself that I won't get the Dutch Bend bus home again until March. Now the nights are drawing in I'm not sure I can deal with the journey in the dark.

The Dutch Bend bus seems to be the magnet for all the stray idiots and loonies within a fifteen-mile radius. Fist fights (usually between middle-aged women) and a loss of control of bodily gases are not unknown, and it gets worse in the evening.

Tonight was worse than usual. Or else I'm less attuned to it. My heart sank when the bus pulled in: we had a driver's friend. (You know: the one who stands by the driver's cab and makes sure they overshoot or miss bus stops and get in the way of people getting on or off the bus). Worse yet: this one had a toddler in tow. The little boy spent his time running up and down the bus. As we passed through Noddy he suddenly piped up:

"Mummy! I want the toilet!"

Eventually the driver suggested that he pause awhile to let the child have a pee in the gutter.

"No way! It would be just like you to drive off!"

Passing Dutch Bend Library nature took its course. The child at least at the sense to stand up and pee against the wall of the driver's cab ("Eeeuuuuwww! Keep it away from me!" squealed the mother). I expect the poor little sod got a telling-off at home for showing his mother up.

You can't hide from real life on public transport.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Staff room:

"What do you reckon about Pay & Grading?"

"I reckon somebody's panicked about how much it might cost to pay us for what we really do so they're under orders to keep the lid on it all."

"What, by downgrading our performance or by downgrading our reviews?"

"What makes you think there's an 'or' there?"

Positive reinforcement

We're constantly told what we're not able to do: usually by T.Aldous when he's either disrupting progress or covering his butt. We do get some things right, actually...

In yesterday's lending team briefing Bronwyn and Salome told the staff that they should be looking around to see if any ideas for changes in the library come to mind. We know that a lot needs to be done: the last-minute arrangements and installations of nearly two decades ago are stuck in aspic because T.Aldous has obfuscated his way around stopping two lots of Group Librarians' plans for rejigging everything. Doreen's decided that enough is enough and she's canvassing staff for ideas prior to a big shift-around.

"You new folk in particular should have a look around and make a note of any ideas," says Salome. "The rest of us have been living with work-arounds for so long that we've forgotten how annoying the problems really are."

One of the new bods takes Bronwyn to one side later on.

"It's really good that we're being asked our opinions. I've not worked anywhere where my opinions counted for anything."

All cynicism aside, there's a certain sadness to this tale. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad that the girls asked their staff for their opinions (and meant it); and I'm glad that they got such a nice response. But it's awful that anybody should have such a poverty of expectation. Let's hope we don't betray it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The enlightenment

Seth's been out playing Mr. Shifter all day. When he comes back in he's collared by T.Aldous. All becomes clear...

"Tomorrow I want you to bring back some boxes of booksale books from Milkbeck. There's not many, just twenty or so."

"Where are they going? There's no room."

"I just knew you were going to be difficult."

It's been a while since we last talked about boxes

Arriving back at the Nerve Centre we discover that — at last! — we've received some stock deliveries. The girls don't seem as relieved and delighted as they should be so, like an eedjit, I ask.

"Mary's told us that we need to shift through them quickly because there's no room left on this floor."

This is the the floor full of very large boxes; and boxes of book sale items; and extremely large boxes; not to mention SureStart packs, BookStart Treasure Chests; boxes of ***king Up books for Year Seven kids and a pile of boxes dumped on us by the Book Trust for delivery to schools who aren't fussed. Oh, and three broken desks that T.Aldous insists on our hanging onto. And some shelving. And a spinner. And a box of bookmarks featuring Larry Grayson telling us to read more books. And the old stock from Noddy and Glass Road that didn't move into the new premises. And some decrepit fiche readers. And some "reading group" books that have been being sorted out next week for the past two years. And some Italian books that somehow reappeared in the dead of one night. And some fluorescent light bulbs that are the wrong size. And a horse blanket.

For our next trick we will secrete the Albert Hall in the void of a ping-pong ball.

It would be marvellous on the beach in summer

Frog and I are doing some work in Windscape Library this afternoon so we decided that we might as well have us lunch in the park while it's not raining. As we were sat sitting by the pond, throwing chips to the ducks, we had a joint shiver of existential angst.

"You do realise that if we just stayed here and spent the afternoon feeding the ducks and didn't do any work nobody would give a shit?"

"Happen. So long as we clocked in and clocked out. They don't care what you deliver just so long as you put the hours in."

"When do you reckon Mary will ring the library to speak to one or other of us?"

"Two o'clock prompt."

The email requiring an urgent answer was sent at one-thirty.

E'ats shō¯ots and, leaves

We've had some children's approvals sent through for Frog and Jessie to have a look at. The children's edition of the popular Apostrophe Police Handbook doesn't inspire. As Jessie says:

"I yield to nobody in my utter devotion to the comma but I can't be bothered reading a whole book about it!"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


We're a bit thin on the ground today (I wonder how often I've said that). T.Aldous surveys the serried ranks of nobody there and wanders over to Noreen in the Acq. Team.

"I'm very worried about telephone calls getting answered," he says.

"If we hear a 'phone ringing and it's not answered we pick it up and either take a message or try and hunt down whoever's being asked for. That's what we've been doing ever since we moved in here with you."

"We need to have some sort of a system."

Self-discipline I can only dream about stops her from saying: "You could answer your 'phone occasionally."

Snap, crackle and shriek

A classic. I'll leave you to guess the main protagonist.

"People think I'm fussing about with the book sale but I'm not, it's very important."

"While you're here, have you done the job descriptions for the pay and grading review? The deadline's Thursday."

"No, I haven't had the time, I've been busy with the telephone bill for Glass Road Library."

The mirror crack'd

One of 'those' disputes, so beloved of libraries:

"Staff in branch libraries do not do stock-editing. They don't know how to do stock-editing and it isn't part of their job," say T.Aldous and Julia.

"So that memo you sent you sent us last year telling us to remove all stock more than five years old and detailing the criteria for removal of the dead or tatty stock that you wanted us to remove before our stock figures were inspected was just a mirage then was it?"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Number Five and a lining of Lake

Warner is not happy. He's had a very difficult conversation with a councillor who cannot understand why we've not moved Roadkill Library into its new premises yet. Nor can many other people: the project's been rolling on for the best part of three years and it's been vacant for the best part of a year. Warner's done his best to mollify and now he wants to know what the big problem is. T.Aldous tells him.

He and Julia can't agree on the colour of the shelving.

The Girding of Loins

Staff Room conversation:

"What's that you're reading?"

"Seeing how things are I thought I'd best re-read my Machiavelli."

"What's that?"

"Well, 'The Prince' is a good primer on realpolitik. And the 'Discourses' are a good grounding in civics."

"So which is that?"

"'The Art of War'"

Holy Moses! Have a look!

Your organisation buys a whiteboard, puts it up on the wall and you're in business, right?


This is what happened to Jim when Management Group decided, eventually, to have a whiteboard so that we could leave notes for whoever's dumped with the job of answering people's 'phones when they're off-site (or, in the case of T.Aldous and Mary, when they can't be arsed to answer their own 'phones).

You decide you're getting a whiteboard so your senior managers measure all the available walls, decide which wall it's going on and then order the whiteboard. Once it arrives your senior managers measure it, decide on its going on a different wall and tell you to send it back. You then get a replacement and are instructed to leave it in a dark place, jutting out into a fire exit, to mature for a few weeks. When your senior boss is on leave you get the whiteboard fixed to the wall you first thought of -- the most appropriate one -- and everyone starts using it. When they get back, follow orders to order the replacement whiteboard. When you receive the whiteboard, your senior managers will inspect all the available walls, their having decided at length in the previous management meeting where it should go, and instruct the caretaker to Do Nothing. A suitable interval having relapsed, lose patience and ask the caretaker to get the thing stuck on the wall while your chief's distracted. Once the holes are drilled in the wall your chief will toddle along and instruct the caretaker to Do Nothing. Your senior managers will then measure the walls and instruct you to order a Bigger Whiteboard. Spurn junior colleagues' suggestion that perhaps you should get a tin of blackboard paint and some chalk. Or tar and feathers. Order the Biggest Whiteboard In The Catalogue. When you receive the whiteboard, your senior managers will inspect all the available walls. Repeat ad nauseam.

Next to the bucket

Pansy isn't happy with the idea of shitting where she eats when the disabled bogs are getting installed at Gypsy Lane. Like Alexander dealing with the Gordian Knot, Julia gets straight to the solution:

"If you don't like it you can always pop down the road and ask the hairdressers if they'll let you use their toilets."

Monday, September 03, 2007

That bit where they put a bag over your head and then hit you with a sock stuffed with wet sand

"You know that communications strategy Management Group was working on at the beginning of the year?"


"When will we get to see it?"

"We're waiting for T.Aldous to OK the draft's being circulated to staff for comment."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Great Caesar's ghost!

I'm getting to be a Blogthings addict.

Your Superpower Should Be Invisibility

You are stealthy, complex, and creative.
You never face problems head on. Instead, you rely on your craftiness to get your way.
A mystery to others, you thrive on being a little misunderstood.
You happily work behind the scenes... because there's nothing better than a sneak attack!

Why you would be a good superhero: You're so sly, no one would notice... not even your best friends

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Missing out on all of the glory that visible superheroes get

78%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?