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

Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm to be Queen of the May, mama! I'm to be Queen of the May!

The May Day Bank Holiday (always held on a Monday to make the point that it's got nothing to do with the rampant socialism of May Day) brings to mind Elsie Bradlow. Elsie used to work the reference library at Dutch Bend. She it was who had the self-imposed duty of covering all the important reference works with wallpaper dustjackets to protect the covers. This made life interesting for users of the library as none of the home-made jackets were labelled. Old hands could guess at some of them: Pears Cyclopedia is a completely different shape to Dod's Parliamentary Yearbook, for instance. Some examples baffled even them: is that this year's World Book Encyclopedia or The Cabmen of Huntingdonshire?

Uniquely, the Phone Book was labelled. In hand-written block capitals on the spine, the front cover and the back cover were the words "THIS IS IT!!!!"

Elsie was a keen member of the Dutch Bend Preservation Society until quite recently (I'm not sure if she rain out of steam or there was some type of fall out). The Preservation Society is what you would expect. I suspect most mean well, though some of their impacts are less than useful. Their main luminaries are the remnants of the old squirarchy and people who haven't yet come to terms with the loss of the old County Borough status and the 1974 incorporation into Helminthdale. I can understand the lack of enthusiasm about the feckless wonders of Helminthdale Town Hall but even a cursory glance through the local history of Dutch Bend would confirm that they're not behind the door with their fair share of useless heaps. And for a while Elsie was on the committee.

Thus it was that one bright winter morning Elsie decided that there was going to be a maypole. She took the idea to the next committee meeting and was met with a lukewarm response. So she told them that there was going to be a maypole. Each time she met one or other of them in a shop, or at a bus stop, or when they came in the library for their free photocopying that we're not supposed to have known about she told them that there was going to be a maypole. She told the public. She told the library staff. Repeatedly. And then again to be on the safe side. And so it came to pass that a maypole was procured and set in the Jubilee Gardens late in April.

Which was fine, except that there wasn't anyone available to dance round the maypole. It was too late for children to learn to be experts. So Elsie spent a couple of weeks trying to pressgang library staff into doing the business...


Madame DeFarge said...

If you weren't looking for the phone book, would you still know that 'This Is It'? You may have been looking for something else, in which case 'This Is Not It'. It leaves open some interesting existential questions about identity that can be resolved over a pint. Maybe it makes sense after whirling around a maypole.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Mme. DF: We all fell for the "This is it" trick, each of imagining it was whatever important item it was we were searching for. Very often more than once, too.

Gadjo Dilo said...

"pressgang library staff into doing the business... hmmm. This is a story you must continue. Though, judging by some of your previous posts, librarians need fertility rites like a phonebook needs a durable dust jacket.