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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'll think of you until my memory fails

This is a time when we traditionally take stock of our lives. As I do so I'm shocked to realise that I have posted over 800 all-too-true anecdotes on this blog in the past year. I'm even more shocked to recall all the stories that didn't get on the blog because they'd breach confidentiality; or would deal with personnel matters that are none of my damned business; or which, although true, are too unlikely for words (I know...!)

Well, here's wishing you all a Happy New Year.

Let's hope it's a better one than 2008, but judging by
2007 and 2006 and 2005 I think it's going to be business as bloody usual.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The last words of Anaxagoras were "Give the lads a holiday"

Well, reason and common sense notwithstanding the End Of The National Year Of Reading Event took place and was A Big Success. Which is to say that enough people came along to justify the expense of hiring choir, juggler and poet but not so many as to have T.Aldous and Mary making noises about fire regulations. Bronwyn and Maybelle put up some good displays; the children joined in with Frog's audience participation stuff; Nancy did a really good Silent Storytime for toddlers; and Mary actually brought the mince pies in a couple of hours before the event started.

"Let's not get too cocky," says Bronwyn. "There'll be another one coming along right behind."

How true those words are, even today.

Monday, December 29, 2008

No form of entertainment, no matter how sordid or debased it may be shall ever take the place of Her Majesty's Commissioners of Income Tax

"How's tomorrow's big day looking?" I ask Maybelle. "It's sorted," she says, though the sincerity of her words are compromised as she rolls her eyes, bites her lip and hisses something about "... mince pies!"

I ask Bronwyn the same question. She lets out a deep sigh. "We'll get there and we'll do it because we always do."

I ask Frog and he says: "Like always, we don't know what the fuck we're supposed to be doing and nobody seems to much care. We'll make it up as we go along as per usual and they'll say it was a great success because enough kids turned up and nobody was actually sick on the carpet. And this time next month it will all have been forgotten about."

Unfortunately, they're dead right. They'll deliver a fun event despite not knowing what it's for or what the Library Service wants to get out of it and Policy Team will think it was a splendid thing for all the time that they care to think of it. What a waste of resources and opportunity.

One suspects the master of deception is aware

"What's a VIP switch?" asks Maudie.

"A what?"

"A VIP switch. T.Aldous says that's why the publicity for Catty Library is wrong."

"It's a bit like the rhythm method but you have to ask for an extension because you weren't ready at the right time."


Maudie approaches.

"Did you know that the "Welcome to Catty Library" leaflets didn't have the new 'phone number on them."

"Er... yes."

"Do you know if we're going to do anything about getting them updated or reprinted?"

"Er... no. Have you asked T.Aldous or Julia?"

"Julia blanked me and T.Aldous said that we needed to have a look at it some time."

"That'll be right."

"It's uncanny. I asked Milton the same questions and gave me word for word the same answers."

Can't think why.


Corporate Helminthdale scores another own-goal. We've all received our copies of the new corporate newsletter, the first since they told us we're all getting pay cuts (even the people getting pay rises). Pride of place is the news that the council has installed "confidential screening for sexually-transmitted diseases" in the toilets in the Town Hall.

"This facility will be moving around the Town Hall, so keep your eye out for it!"

No schoolboy smut from this source!

This hasn't impressed the troops. The Christmas message was that the Council thinks we're worthless. The New Year message is that the Council thinks we're syphilitic and worthless.

God knows what the Easter message will be.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The forest is breathing along with us tonight

South Pacific island sceneIn a lonely library
Where the shelving butts on a leaking wall
Most people look for another library
Ill luck besets them to hear the call...

In the stone age.
Library... cast a sigh.
Where you can't act your own age
And careers come to die.

Boxing clever
Pile 'em up, pile 'em high
Like some card Tower of Babel
Climbing up to the sky.

Your own locker space;
Your own locker key;
Your own half-chewed biro;
A cold cup of tea.

Crises crafted with skill.
With your confidence damaged
You just wait for the kill.

Librar... eek!
South Pacific island scene Somewhere in the library
You may see the right book.
You may see the right book
Although it's been misshelved.
And sadly you know,
You know even then,
That you may never
Find it if you try again.

Somewhere in the library
There will be a stranger.
There will be a stranger
Just as perplexed as you.
They'll struggle and curse
And yet what is worse
They will have worked there since June '82.

South Pacific island scene
A hundred and one pounds of fun
That's our new acquisition
Come and have a look
At a reference book

Speaking of these directories
Set in six point jargonese
Squint at it mint
While it's still out in print
And sight.

South Pacific island scene
Happy talking talking library talk,
Talk about things you'll never do.
You got to have a dream.
If you don't have a dream,
How'll they ever have a dream to screw?

Talk about the stock
Chosen for the shelves.
Popular and useful, naturally.
Talk about the staff
Valued for their skill
Trained, empow'red, and with authority!

Happy talking talking library talk,
Talk about things they're going to rush.
You got to have a dream.
If you don't have a dream,
How'll they ever have a dream to crush?

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Have yourself a merry little library.
Hear the bookshelves groan.
If you want to stock-edit then you're on
Your own.

Have yourself a merry little library
Watch career hopes fade.
See them ruthlessly deskill you down to what
You're paid.

I hear that there's libraries
Where the book stock's bright and new
And staff do well.
Such cruel tales they tell
To the likes of me
And you.

Have yourself a merry little library.
Watch the gutters rot.
Some day next year they will be replaced
Or not.
So lend a hand in the land that Santa Claus


A Merry Christmas to all our readers!
from Eddie the Happy Editor

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pass the parcel

With one excpetion, only Mary could think that this afternoon is the best time to embark on moving the furniture round in the corner of the office occupied by the Acq. Team.

"There are network points in the wall. Do they work?" she asks me.

"They might do. The best way to test is to plug a laptop in and see if it logs on. I'm busy at the moment [Julia and T.Aldous have seperately and severally told me the date for Carbootsale's closing for rebuilding]. If I can get time this afternoon I'll check it out. If not, it'll be the New Year."

When last seen, she was going to mither Milton about the possibility of his buying a new PC for Bronwyn. A redundant exercise: Lupin's planning on replacing her old one in the very near future as part of the IT renewal process.

Mince all over his warehouse coat

Mary's been landed with the job of organising T.Aldous' end-of-year celebration of the National Year of Reading. She's roped in Bronwyn, Maybelle and Frog; they've cadged favours from some of their usual contacts and had nearly all the ideas knocked back by Mary for various reasons irrational. So the printed programme for the day is:
  • Carols from the choir of St. Barrabas, Helminthdale
  • A demonstration of corn dolly-making
  • A poetry reading
  • A juggler
  • Mince pies will be provided
Not especially literary, as I mention to Maybelle.
"I'm too busy worrying about the mince pies: Mary says she's going to be buying them so I expect we'll be having the usual panic first thing on the day."
The voice of grim experience.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Common abuse is not libel

"T.Aldous had a right go at me yesterday," says Milton. "He tried to give me a bollocking because you've got a bad attitude towards his and Julia's handling of Catty Library."

"Oh shit, I'm really sorry about that."

"That's OK. I just said that you were dead right and asked him what he was going do about making a better job of it with Carbootsale."

"He'll hold that against you."

"I hope so. It might provoke him into doing it properly next time."

Caught outside Belle Vue Zoo with a branding iron and a box of bird seed

Maudie gets a 'phone call from the council switchboard.

"Is it true that Catty Library's been put onto the switchboard?"

"Apparently so."

"Do you know their extension number?"

"I don't. I was hoping to find out from you."

"We only found out because a member of the public rang us to ask to be put through."

Between us we eventually discovered their new internal 'phone number. Which was three-quarters of an hour well spent.

We then moved onto the next vexed question: what is the public telephone number? (Ordinarily we'd get it off the publicity or the web site but seeing as Maudie's responsible for getting the publicity to the printers and I'm responsible for editing the web site we're on a hiding to nothing there.) T.Aldous' walking past at this point gives me an opportunity for enquiry.

"What's the new public telephone number for Catty Library?"

"It's the same one as the old one."

"No it isn't."

"Yes it is. I arranged it."

"If you ring that number you get a message telling you that line is no longer in use."

"No you don't."

So I dialled the number, gave him the handset and proved my point.

"It should move seamlessly to the new 'phone number."

"Which is...?"

"We wouldn't have this problem if the VoIP switch had been delivered on time."

"The new 'phone number...?"

"We ordered that VoIP switch weeks ago. We've been badly let down by IT."

"I know the backstory, T.Aldous. What is the public telephone number for Catty Library?"

"Well, it would have been sorted by now if it had been installed on time."

"I am a member of the public. I don't care about the backstory about the VoIP switch. I want to ring Catty Library. I want to talk to somebody there about something. What number do I ring?"

"It should be the old number."

"Well it isn't, the library's been open two days and I'm a member of the public trying to contact them by telephone. I dial what number?"

"I really don't like your attitude. I'll get Julia to send out an email to all staff with it on."

Which she could have done weeks ago. When we put together the publicity that never happened either.

National Year of Reading

The Director of Education (whom God preserve) has decreed that next Monday there shall be a celebration of The National Year of Reading, encompassing all forms of glad-handing, back-slapping and lickspittling of the Adult Literacy Working Group of which he is Chair. Looking at the programme it's pretty much a day of wristjobs workshops for practioners rather than anything for public consumption.

T.Aldous, ever ready to score a point against the Director of Education (whom God preserve) has decreed that Tuesday is a public celebration of the National Year of Reading, to be held in Helminthdale Central Library. And so it has hung for the three weeks since he had the idea. Nobody knows what is to be happening that day but it will be A Great Thing. If it goes true to form, some time in the next day and a half somebody will be landed the job of organising the spectacular with a budget of buttons.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sometimes it's so bleak and desperate that you can almost hear the furniture giggling at you

Catty Library re-opened for business today. A customer went into Carbootsale Library late in the afternoon and said:

"I see Catty Library's closed."

"Oh no, it's re-opened today."

"That's as maybe. There's two librarians stood on the doorstep telling people that it's closed."

So Verity rang Catty Library and was told that yes, it had been closed because one of the windows had fallen out and they're getting Health & Safety in to come and check the putty.

Verity fed the intell into the jungle telegraph and I've sent a system message telling staff what little we know, which is enhanced by a customer's popping into Gypsy Lane Library and giving Pansy a verbatim report of the notice on the front door. Nobody from Catty Library has bothered letting anybody else know that they'd all gone home.

Given the height of the machine and the length of the arc, he is clearly a man without prostate issues

I mention the lack of information to staff about Catty Library to T.Aldous. I also mention that it's unfortunate that we can get information about the refurbished library into the paper but not onto our web site.

"But you updated the information the other week, I saw it."

"Yes, but that was weeks after these articles and I had to make it all up myself."

"Well, you did it so what's the problem?"

"The problem is that library service managers should be taking more of an interest in making sure that we get information about our libraries and services onto the council's web site."

"But that's what you're for."

"Err... No. If I'm given the infomation I'll do my level best to get it online in a timely fashion but if I don't know I can't do."

"Well, you did it."

"Aye, no thanks to you or Julia. Yet you managed to get let the Catty Examiner know what's going on."

"That's down to the council's press office. They did that."

"And where did they get the information from...?"

"Well, of course we worked with the press office. Why wouldn't we?"

"Of course you should. But shouldn't you also be working with your own staff too?"

"That would be down to the press office."

"No. No, no, no, no no. Letting your customers know about your services being delivered in your libraries is your responsibility, not that of the press office."


"No. Your responsibility."

At which point he stalked away and threw some crockery about the staff room.

Immortalised in singing concrete

I think we've had the last Christmas Kareoke Night at Dutch Bend Library. Saturday night's do went on raucously and well into the night (my informant left just before one after watching the spectacle of T.Aldous dancing to 'Nellie the Elephant').

Daisy Duck's planning her revenge on her mate the landlord at The Spotted Mule, which is just across the road from the library. At half two there was a knock on the library door. Daisy opened it to be faced with two policemen.

"We've had a complaint from the pub across the road. They say you're making too much noise."

It must have made their year. Daisy can see the funny side but is a bit worried:

"I don't think T.Aldous has ever been raided before."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

If music be the food of love then here comes the syrup of figs

Well, we've negotiated a few turkey lunches in the nursery slopes but now we're looking at the big stuff. I ducked out of last night's piss-up in Helminthdale: it looked like the whole of the Town Hall was intent on drowning its sorrows and I didn't want to know. Tonight is the Dutch Bend Christmas Party, which invariably involves a good deal of drink and a karaoke. Which, if you haven't had a good deal of drink, is pretty close to Hell.

Once that's done there's only the Helminthdale pot-luck lunch and we're home and dry and A over T into the bosom of our families for the seasonal hostilities.

Feeding the fourth estate

I am incandescent with rage. For weeks now I've been banging on at Julia and T.Aldous that we need to put an update on the state of play of Catty Library on the web site so please could they tell me something about it. With nil result. In the end, I got so embarassed about not updating that information for three months that I bullshitted something up and published it at the beginning of last week.

Imagine my delight, then, to find lying about by the fax machine copies of two articles about the new, improved library that were published - with pictures - in November. They can get the Catty Examiner in for a preview but they can't be arsed to pass any information on to their own bloody staff.

Single team working? My arse.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Roughly the bit which keeps the pie crust up

Joy be unconfined! The refurbishment of Catty Library - which has, like World War One, been promised to be 'over by Christmas' - is done and dusted as far as the outside world is concerned (we'll draw a veil over the leaky children's library and the fact that there's no telephone) and it's to re-open on Monday.

"The 'phone should be going in tomorrow, so it'll probably be Monday afternoon," says Milton.

"I'll have to update the web site over the weekend. What's the new 'phone number?"

"I don't know. I asked Julia but didn't really get a useful answer."

Despite his suggestion that I don't do it, I have a go at this myself. Julia's not available so I ask T.Aldous.

"What's Catty Library's new 'phone number? Nobody seems to know."

"Everybody knows it: it's pinned up on the staff noticeboard at Catty. Given them a ring and find out."

Passed it

Fire inspection been and gone and damn me we've passed.

The one and only time we see a co-ordinated management effort to communicate a goal to the other ranks and see them support and resource the work to the successful attainment of said goal it's to hoodwink a fire inspector.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nobody takes biscuit addiction seriously in this country

Frog's miffed. After all the story times; class visits; Team Read promotions; SureStart and BookStart events and deliveries; teenage reading programmes; families and carers activities and bounce & rhyme sessions he's delivered this year the one time he gets fulsome praise from his betters is when he empties and disposes of two boxes of crap from near his desk.


The gasman's been to Senebene Library.

"It's OK, love, it's not a gas leak. You're just smelling the methane from the drains."

So that's all right then.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A plumber you can trust

Lupin's been off sick with the 'flu. That's put one of our projects back a week or two, which is unfortunate. Even more unfortunately, while he's been off sick somebody else in IT has "borrowed" his kit and erased the PC image he'd set up for the project, so he's going to have to spend a day putting it back together again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keep our land grand

"How are you getting on with all those boxes in the fire escape corridor?" Mary asks Noreen.

"We're doing well, there's only as many as there were last week."
The plan is that when the fire inspector comes a-prowling these boxes will all be put into the dispatch room, which is where they ought to be in the first place. We still don't know where the crap that's been filling the dispatch room this past decade is going.

Another plan is for Bronwyn to move her desk into the corner of the Acq. Team's area, where all the boxes of Booked If I Know picture books are piled up, awaiting shipping out to very receptive main libraries. Naïvely, I ask where the Booked If I Know boxes are going ('cos they won't be going out to the main libraries any time soon). Apparently they, too, are to go into the dispatch room. I can only think that we're going to knock the ceiling out.

I remember the days when you could buy a cow with a tin of beans

Maisie is being sent out to buy yet more milk for one or other of the meetings in the library.

"Wouldn't it be easier to buy a cow?"

I ask. Which prompts the inevitable discussion in the staff room.

"I should think we've got more than enough cows as it is."

"If we bought a cow we could call it T.Aldous."

"We could say that it was a tribute."

Monday, December 15, 2008

I can't make me mind up if it's too dead or not dead enough

Travelling to a meeting by train I'm joined at the platform by Ken Barmy. He is a disturbing travelling companion.

"Hist! Are they the singing sands of the Asian desert, intent on luring us to lonely, unmarked graves?"

"They're announcing the arrival of the next train."

"Are you telling me that's not a disembodied voice designed by devils to mislead the unwary traveller such that their loved ones may never see them again?"

I had to concede the point.

Like most local government employees lately, we got to comparing notes on Pay & Grading.

Note for the unwary (English public sector workers may want to skip this bit)
A decade and a bit ago it was pointed out that "women's" jobs were paid less than "men's" jobs in English local government, regardless of the relative importance of the jobs and/or requirements on qualification, training, etc. So the government told local autorities that they had to review their staff's pay with a view to providing equal pay for equal value by 2007. Not many local authorities met the deadline. Many faffed about. Most took it as an opportunity to save a bit on the staffing budgets by equalising down. Many took the opportunity of cutting the salaries of specialist staff on the basis that there's less of them and it's harder for them to find examples of jobs of equal worth to compare themselves with. This is a bowdlerised account but you get the gist.

I asked Ken how he got on.

"They've cut my salary by £3,000. How about you?"

"Twelve percent cut."

"Of course, you know it's a job creation scheme for Personnel departments, don't you?"

"Eh? How do you work that out?"

"If a large number of disaffected staff worrying themselves sick about how they'll be paying the bills isn't a problem requiring a Human Resources solution, I don't know what is."

In a sane and just world he'd have a statue.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So now you know

Norma talking to a customer:

"In this country we say please and thank you!"

Salome challenged her:

"That was a bit uncalled for."

"I don't care. If they're in this country they should learn to do like we do."

Strangely enough, "please" and "thank you" don't feature highly in the local vernacular.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Three methods of expansion

In the old days upstairs a customer would come in, queue to return their books, be told that they've got an item on the reservations (holds) shelf, be given the book and then queue to get it issued to them and stamped out. Now, the customer queues to return their books, is told they've an item on the reservations shelf, walks over to the enquiry desk where they queue to get given the book and then goes back to the counter to queue to get it issued and stamped out.

The reason? Staff were complaining about having to keep bending down to get the books from under the counter. Given that there's about three acres of space behind the counter it wouldn't be beyond the wit of library managers to put some shelving or trolleys in there for the reserved stock. Except that Doreen says they can't do it because "someone might take the trolleys out and shelve the books."

Christmas at Windscape

We couldn't have Christmas without yet another spat at Windscape concerning the children's party. This year Norma is annoyed because Kitty, who is her job share, is for the very first time being allowed to claim the time back as time worked instead of coming in to help in her own time.

The protest takes a bizarre turn when Norma turns up at the reading group's Christmas party and tries to claim the time back. Doreen's having none of it, though ends up having to concede half an hour because Norma covered the library while Kitty went out for a bottle of milk.

"Lola hadn't arrived yet so I had to cover," she says.

The truth is that she told Kitty not to wait for Lola, she'd mind the shop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some people have no objection

School visit at Windscape. The teacher notices that Thelma is covering.

"Such a nice change to have someone who smiles and says hello to the children!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One hundred and twenty pounds of horseshit

Oh, I don't want to blog about this week. Surely I've exhausted my readers' patience about
  • boxes
  • and shifting stock out of Umpty Library because they say they've got too much new children's stock and don't have time for visits for school classes
  • and libraries' closed dates not being disclosed to the systems guy or to the passing public
  • and Policy Team not having yet another scheduled meeting
  • and another unannounced staff meeting with T.Aldous complaining that people didn't turn up for it
  • and the network being down
  • and the public PCs dying one by one in random pattern with their hard disks blown to buggery
  • and the reference librarians' entering the fourth glorious year of reviewing the standing orders lists but actually not bothering
  • and the expensive reference stock we're buying for Catty Library which won't have a reference section when it re-opens
  • and Policy Team members boasting that they can't possibly provide information about what's going on in our libraries because their staff don't tell them
  • and the plans - ha ha! - for closing Carbootsale for rebuilding work once Catty Library re-opens

Oh, I'm bored just listing the possibilities, you'd never stand for me blathering on about them.

So the baby could play with the smoke

Maisie's spent an hour and a half on the 'phone to the gas company querying a bill for the old Roadkill Library, including thirty-two minutes on hold listening to Mantovani. I couldn't help overhearing the eventual conversation.

"One of your engineers came over in September, cut off the gas and took a final reading..."

"...It's been closed since January. It's closed and unoccupied..."

"...No, it's unoccupied. And it never will be occupied again: it's been closed for demolition, they're going to build a motorway over it..."

"...There's no point in you sending us an estimated bill, the reading's going to be the same as the final one your engineer took..."

"...Isn't your engineer's actual final reading better than a customer reading?"

"...The library's nine miles away and there's nobody in there. We can't send somebody over once a month to take a reading. Besides, what's the point? The gas has been cut off and your engineer took the final reading..."

The eventual compromise is that once a quarter for the next hundred years, Maisie will be sending the gas board an email saying:

The building that was Roadkill Library, Windicote Lane, closed for demolition January 2008. Reading 103772

Monday, December 08, 2008


Seth's been walking round with a grin on his face and T.Aldous is in full stroppy panic. This can only mean one thing...

Fire inspection!

T.Aldous is in a flap because we've done precisely nothing in response to the last fire inspection report (I wouldn't want you to think that we've just the one standard response to any inspection reports, even though it's true).

The Acq. Team have been working through the influenza like Trojans and have got the backlog down to just twenty boxes in the fire escape corridor. The official line now is that these boxes will be moved to the dispatch room, where they should have been in the first place. Quite what's happening with all the crap that's been stuffed in the dispatch room for the past decade and a half is beyond our collective imagination.

Unless T.Aldous is building a tunnel, too.

Time and place

I'm surprised to find Milton mooching round the office.

"Shouldn't you be with the rest of Policy Team? I thought you all had a meeting in the Town Hall today."

"We did. T.Aldous has cancelled it because he couldn't find the email about it because his PC 'isn't working' again."

The meeting was supposed to be about "Making Things Happen."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Making an effort

Lavinia asked about Helminthdale's Christmas lights, which were switched on the other week by Pusscat Willum. Here they are in all their festive glory.

Chrimbo lights in Helminthdale - look they're red and green and lovely!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

More kicks than ha'porth

We were wondering what the ranting and raving and shouting was... It turns out to be Julia, giving Daisy Duck a bollocking for asking for a new telephone at Dutch Bend because the existing one is broken. Not the style of management I'd adopt personally but then I'm not A Professional.

We laughed for exactly eleven-and-a-half minutes

Had a drink with Ken Barmy last night after bumping into him while Christmas shopping in Hannigan's Truss Boutique.

"How's your authority's much-vaunted change programme going on?"

"Oh, we've done change. It's back to Business As Usual With Fucking Big Boots On now. No priorities, aimless meandering management chucking their weight about when it suits and disappearing like the morning mists whenever accountability comes a-knocking and the project management expertise of the kindergarten sand-table."

"As good as that?"

"I'm instinctively optimistic."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What's my line?

I catch Milton in an unguarded moment (he'd just had one of those conversation with T.Aldous where you wonder which of you stepped out of an aeroplane without a parachute).

"Why didn't they put a 'phone line in at Catty the same time as they put in the fax?"

"Because T.Aldous has decided that it's going onto the council switchboard."

"I thought we were putting it onto the switchboard at the end of next year as part of the council's VoIP roll-out."

"We were."

"What happened?"

"A couple of weeks ago T.Aldous was talking to somebody in the Town Hall lift who said that it should be possible to put a VoIP line into Catty to put it onto the switchboard. So that's what we're doing."


"So that it won't cost anything for T.Aldous and Julia to ring Catty Library."

"Have we sorted out the publicity for the new 'phone number?"


"I'll need to know the number so's I can make the changes in the web site."

"Good luck to you."

"We don't know the number?"

"Not yet we don't."

"So what's the plan?"

"I've told them that if they're going to change the arrangements at this late stage of the game they can sort out the consequences themselves."

Sounds like our way of doing things... If you don't like the answer you get, keep asking people until somebody gives you the answer you want, however much it screws up your project.

Not fit for man nor beast

The unseasonably wintery weather has taken its toll on the local transport systems. It took me two and a half hours to get into work, most of which involved a group of us shivering at the station wondering if the boneshaker parked at the platform was going to Helminthdale. It turned out to be the Liverpool train, which came as a shock to the driver and guard, who thought they were going to Huddersfield. Frog got in just ten minutes before me, having struggled his way over the hills from Bencup.

T.Aldous has been wandering round the building complaining that it took him 45 minutes to get into work this morning. We are collectively aghast: it usually takes him the best part of an hour to do the ten-minute journey down the Pardendale Road.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mysteries in telecommunications

"They've finally gotten the fax line installed at Catty," says Milton.

"So we finally have an opening date for them, then?"

"Er... no. We're waiting for the 'phones to be sorted."

"They've not put the 'phone line in at the same time as the fax?"

"Let's not go there. If you get me started on this one we'll be here all day."

"Aren't we just restoring the existing 'phone line?"

"Let's talk about something else. How's the web site getting on?"


One of our regulars rushes into the lending library upstairs as soon as the doors open.

"I need to use your toilet," he says.

He then rummaged around in the back of his trousers and proceded to show Seth why he needed to use the toilet.

Note for customer care advocates: there's no excuse for this, the library's in a shopping centre which has been open since quarter to nine and has two lots of public conveniences.


Monday, December 01, 2008

It frightened Burke and Hare

One of "those" conversations:

"Is Bronwyn around?"

"She's off sick today. Can anybody else help?"

"I've got somebody on the 'phone asking about a talk by Fred Dibnah."

"Stuff me, I thought we only used the Ouija board for talking to Policy Team. If we start using it in public events we'll be picketed by the witch-burners."