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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Suspended animation

Bad news: the lift's stuck with someone in it.

Good news: Seth knows how to bring the lift down manually.

Bad news: it's Seth who's stuck in the lift.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few words from a graduate from the Rank Charm School

We're not allowed to fill vacancies at the moment, in case the jobs need to be needlessly destroyed in response to a doctrinaire hatred of public services displaced as part of the efficiencies. But we still need to keep the doors open so we're using people from an employment agency. Unfortunately, this means that we're starting to employ women below the age of fifty at Umpty Library.

A customer greets a new, young, face at the counter:

"Hello love, I've not seen you before, are you new here?"

Bunty leans over and says:

"Don't get used to her. She's a temp."

I've seen some of the lads there sobbing their hearts out, at least that's what I think they were doing

Sally walks into the staff room at Umpty Library. She sniffs and is not impressed.

"My God! This place smells of boy!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pavarotti's ferret

I'm definitely due some holiday...

  • Three 'phone calls about paper jams in the lending library printer.
  • A 'phone call about a print job that wasn't being printed (because of one of the paper jams)
  • A 'phone call asking what is meant when a book is marked "unavailable" on the catalogue
  • A 'phone call asking why a lost book isn't available for to fill requests
  • A 'phone call to say that there'd been a mistake typing in a borrower's name and address and what was I going to do about it
  • A 'phone call asking what Milton was doing about a project I hadn't previously heard about
I want to shout: "for God's sake, get a grip!" but seeing as how half the staff has its hands around the throat of the other half...

Valentino lives!!!

You can always tell it's the third week in February: all the books about sexually-transmitted diseases are flying off the shelves.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pale hands I loved behind the chalet, ma

The usual end-of-Friday missive or epistle from His Esteemed Excellency And Chief Executive J.Arthur Blenkenstein, detailing this week's efforts to undermine staff morale, cut public services and generally spread joy throughout the land, lands in my Outlook inbox at the same time as Microsoft's press release informing me of: "The technical beauty of Internet Explorer 9."

Strychnine on the rocks for me.

Monday, February 14, 2011


There are some nasty bugs going round. Half the staff are off with norovirus, some of the others are off with a debilitating virus. Hildie's just back in after a fortnight's illness.

"I was in bed bored shitless with my legs in the air," she moans.

"Is that how you caught the virus?" asks Sammi.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'll have a P please, Bob

Today's word is Logorrhoea. Logorrhoea.

Milton has just spent 82 minutes of a meeting saying: "I'm not bovvered."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Going down with all hands

The bad news is that Carbootsale Swimming Baths is to close due to council efficiencies.

The good news is that the community room at Catty Library is the length of an Olympic size swimming pool.

We just need to move the photocopier from the shallow end.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

You'll have someone's eye out with that

Every so often we worry about the physical state of some of the books we loan out to the public. It's not our fault this time, it's a book we've borrowed off Borsetshire Libraries via the regional loan service. It's a bit stained, battered round the edges and the pages are falling out. It also happens to be the only copy available for loan anywhere in the country and is well-used even today, with a waiting list as long as your arm.

The waiting list isn't the only thing about the book that is as long as your arm. As we find out by casually letting the book open at random. A shocked perusal by people old enough to know better confirms that it is, for all intents and purposes, fairly hard core gay porn.

"Who on earth requested this?" I asked Sybil.

"One of the old dears on the housebound library run," she replies.

Silly question, really.

Smells like teen spirit

This is wrong on so many levels…

Some of us have our sexual magnetism wave the white flag and give up at an early age. Not Mr. Tallyhassen, one of the regulars at Umpty Library. Evidently he still has it, even at the age of 74 judging by the conversation I've just overheard.

"I've just been helping Mr. Tallyhassen with his email."

"Ooh… Mr. Tallyhassen. Have you smelled him?"

"Oh yes. I leant over to point at the screen and it was all I could do not to go all funny at the knees."

"I know what you mean. Lovely."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Tearing away the false tinsel to reveal the real tinsel underneath

There's scaffolding up all over Helminthdale town centre and the place is being tarted up.


The old, blank wooden boards that cover the windows of the shops and pubs of the area have all been replaced by new, shiny wooden boards with ginormous photos on them to make them look lived in and prosperous.

Thus it is that to the passer-by on the Penkridge Road omnibus the old Earl of Derby's Post House has been transformed, apparently, into a spacious up-to-the-minute computer training suite.

Kitted out with 28b PCs running Windows 3.1.

(If you have to ask the question you can probably guess the answer.)

Just a minute

Consternation at Catty Library: Dulcie's on leave so they can't have a staff meeting because she's the only one who's been on the minute-taking course...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Trying to ease their dyspepsia by swallowing a raincoat

We live in uncertain times, the twenty-first century is sniffing round our heels and Call-Me-Dave's Austerity Britain is biting us on the arse so I suppose it's understandable that I'm a bit tetchy.

I'm doing a workshop to try and persuade some of our librarians that the internet is an information and communications medium. In a few cases it's tough sledding. In the end, I crack:
"How many of you have mobile 'phones?"
All hands go up.
"How many of you take photos with your 'phone."
Most hands stay up.
"Who's on Facebook?"
Half the audience.
"Who buys stuff online?"
Most of the audience.
"How many of you have gone on a mobile 'phone course?"
"A digital photography course?"
One of the people who doesn't use her 'phone for photography.
"A Facebook course?"
"An e-commerce seminar?"
Of course not.
"Don't tell me you can't use digital technology without training then."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ermine street

Lucy is having a fag break outside Catty Library when she notices something coming down the pavement.

It's a ferret.

It pauses to look at her and then scampers off in the direction of the post office.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The crew shot an albatross for luck

Jack Harry has asked Posy to put together some project proposals for some funding he'll decide we can't get anyway so he won't bother. Posy, being young and still almost enthusiastic at times despite everything, has put in a load of work to do the necessary.

"Here you are," she says as she hands the work over to Jack Harry. "But I'm sure I've forgotten something important."

"I shouldn't worry about it," says Jack Harry, "I probably won't read it anyway."

A chocolate-themed away day

It's an awful thing but the earworm I've had jingling round in my head this past week or so has been the old theme tune for Uncle Rubbish's Tiny Tots' Tea-Time Toy Time Time:
"It's time for tiny tots' toy time once again.
It's time for tiny tots' toy time once again, yes it is.
It's time for tiny tots' time,
It's toy time for tiny tots.
Yes, it's time for tiny tots' toy time once again, yes it is, oh baby."
Which is entirely unfair, probably, perhaps. But there have been times...

These are difficult and uncertain times and it should surprise nobody that nerves are frayed and tempers on edge and people are feeling threatened. It would be inhuman to expect any different. The problems arise from the ways that people deal with this.

I will offend some of my readership by suggesting that men and women tend to behave differently in these circumstances. Don't care: in my experience it's generally true, with the inevitable occasional exception to keep life interesting. Men, even the best of us (and God knows, I'm not!), go in for a lot of posturing. I've done it myself in my time: you think you're a rational civilised human being then one day you realise you're sitting in an office doing gorilla posturing. Go into any testosterone-fuelled office and you'll see a lot of unconscious yawning and people leaning back with their hands being their heads and armpits in full flourish. Blokes do lots of ritualised "I'm bigger, more virile and more masterful than I really am" nonsense, most of which is utter bollocks (literally and figuratively). Women under threat are generally (generally) quieter, subtler and more dangerous, the primary aim being to undermine, belittle and/or exclude "the competition" by whatever means. And sometimes those means can get pretty horrible.

The library service is mostly staffed by women. Most of the time this is a good thing: there's not a lot of macho idiocy getting in the way of business. Unfortunately when times get particularly bad, like now, we can find ourselves having to manage our way through some very unnecessary and unseemly unpleasantnesses.

It makes me tired: we don't have time for this sort of nonsense.

Mister Volta's dancing frogs

Milton's spent the morning wondering why Dutch Bend Library's electricity meter is his problem, in between finally getting through to the direct works department's emergency voicemail.

The good news is that the fuses that have blown only connect up all the public workstations and the communications box for the library so we can pretend that it's business as usual as far as the customers are concerned.