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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I've got me tickling tackle and me nicky nacky noo

Dennis is working with us on a six-month work placement at Umpty Library. Any ideas he may have entertained about libraries being sedate, genteel places have been shot to bits by some of the customers.

"Donny!" shouts Mrs. Tumbleweed, "I'm trying to remember the name of that book I had the other week. I can't remember what it were called but it were about a lass as was taken up the jacksy by a sheikh. It were a Mills and Boon. I have to have them in the large print these days."

Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision

A sign of the times: Maisie, who is one of the gentlest of creatures, has been on the warpath this week because Jack Harry and Milton did some clever last-minute ordering and then made themselves scarce when the time came to authorise the payments. I take a 'phone call from her:
"Are they in?" she asks.

"No," I reply, "can I help?"

"No, it's about that frigging, frigging, frigging, frigging, frigging invoice."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hang out the aspidistras

Mooching round the "all you can eat for a fiver" section of Hannigan's Truss Boutique, I bump into Ken Barmy. His council is very excited because they are to have a pre-nuptial visit from The Royal Couple. Their library overlooks the processionsary parade and they've spent the day being vetted by The Riot Police Of Hearts (P.C. Neddy Strangelove and a team of dog handlers, most of whom have been remanded pending medical reports).

"The Mayor and Corporation will be presenting the happy couple with three pounds' worth of Ann Summers vouchers," he tells me.

They're a couple of months too late in the efficiencies process to be awarded the freedom of the city's public lavatories.

His own white leather toilet seat

It wouldn't be March without a few dozen new chairs in the fire escape corridor...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today's special: monkeyhands and chips

"Calling all librarians! Augmented reality app could save librarians hours," says the link.

Given some our librarIans' shall we say tenuous links to reality I think augmentation may be a step too far.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chalet rash

I take a phone call for Milton.

"Sorry, he's on leave this week," I explain.

"That bloke has more holidays than Thomas Cook," mutters the caller who's been trying to talk to him for the past month.

Brutish summer time

They've put the clocks forward in Helminthdale. We're all very worried about That Hitler.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think

Ooh, there'll be some heads in Helminthdale this morning...

Yesterday evening we repaired to The Monkey's for Julia's leaving do. And very convivial it was, too. If, as threatened, she ever sets herself up on Facebook there'll be some explaining to do about the photographs.

Ours was not the only leaving do: most of the Engineers' Department was saying its farewells in the billiard room; the benefits advice team in the snug; the business advice team in the dining room; and the adult careers service on the main public bar.

Given the state of the borough before the cuts efficiencies, I can't say that any of this makes me optimistic for the future.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nothing worse could happen to one than to be completely understood

These are difficult times and there are days when any of us can be a bit high-maintenance. It's Posy's turn all this week and she's going for it in a big way.

To be fair, she ended up being the one having to have the meeting with the bollock who wants us to give him a pile of money to "repurpose the reading library journey."

Thursday, March 24, 2011


You can always tell the approach of the end of the financial year as all the managers disappear like the last of winter's bramblings.

Consequently, there's nobody around to countersign any of the invoice slips for the as-per-bloody-usual last-minute spendings. And nobody to authorise the orders in the first place.

The good news is that this means that the year end process is a doddle because they say so and have never seen any proof to the contrary.

And to be fair, it mostly is. Because they're not involved.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spirit messages

I get a 'phone call from Milkbeck Library:

"I'm calling on behalf of the volunteer who's doing the family history session. He can't get any of the People's Network PCs to log onto the network."

Two points here: the person ringing was the member of staff responsible for that day's running of the library, including providing access to the Internet for the public; and it's their job to have logged those PCs on at start of play,


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Infinite similarity

I really am sick and tired of this fucking place.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Consecrating an armadillo for St. Swithin's Day

Receive an email with the latest corporate exhortation to man the galleys for the glory of the nation.

"For fuck's sake, do they think I've nothing better to do?" I explode.

It turns out that on reflection no, I don't.

Trips around the lighthouse

It's going to be an interesting week. Julia's demob happy as it's her last working week before taking the remainder of her annual leave then early retirement. Her resentment at feeling that she was not wanted on voyage is more than tempered by the relief she's feeling now she's had sight of the iceberg.

Most of the rest of the nonsense is ladies sharpening their elbows.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The hand of the world is wounded by its own skill

The council's email servers are struggling because of overcapacity. Which is to say that they're full.

It probably doesn't help that librarians will insist on sending out 15Mb of high-definition photos that they've already put in the library folder on the intranet to 54 colleagues within the library service.

Or that half those colleagues don't check their email...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hope is a waking dream

"Council leaders to be axed!" cries the Catty Examiner.

Sadly, it turns out that a few of them are taking early retirement.

Four seasons in The Sound of Music

Nancy Clutterbuck is a lady "of an age" who has worked at Umpty Library for longer than a gentleman should tell.

Today she's covering at Gypsy Lane Library with Gracie. Nancy turned up five minutes before overture and beginners in a state of deshabille and with her hair in that style so beloved by haystacks. Especially with the straw in her hair.

Gracie sized up the situation, dug a clean t-shirt out of her car and tidied Nancy up.

"For God's sake, Nancy, will you look at the fucking state of you!"

"A lady can't help it if she is to be pleasured in the morning," replied Nancy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time-share sandcastles

There's no money about so there are plans afoot to knock down the west wing of The Edie Grimshaw Memorial Market Hall (don't get excited: it's two stalls selling tubular bandages and a greengrocer's) and the car park so as to open up the culverted area and retrieve the local reaches of The Majestic River Helminth back into its pristine sunlit glory. The old bridges are to be restored so that the main roads can cross this babbling brook and passing gentry can spend their time counting the trout a-frolicking amongst the shopping trolleys.

This news has caused celebration in one part of the Engineers' Department at least. Staveley Fleetwood's the only person who can remember where the old bridges are, so he reckons his job's safe for a few months at least.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wouldn't it be nice to sabotage a hotpot supper

You know how there's always someone worse off than yourself? Well, like as not they work for Benchmark Library Service.

They've spent the past ten years in perpetual reorganisation and penury (not necessarily in that order). The first thing that went was the Chief Librarian, which God knows isn't always a bad thing. Since then various combinations of poor devils have tried to keep the wheels on the tricycle (a handcart being beyond their means), in between cut-backs and culls of anybody who may want anything above the minimum wage.

I notice they're advertising the Chief Librarian's post this week. To oversee the latest round of reorganisations and efficiencies and Call-Me-Dave's Big Society.

Interesting to see that we've not entirely abandoned human sacrifice.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Heft Of Cathedral Tunes

Talking of singing, I forgot to mention the new community singing sessions at Catty Library every Monday afternoon.

The more forward-thinking of our staff have suggested that they should start practicing for a performance of "Nearer My God," to be sung as the library slides under it's own weight into the local river.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Look mum, it's the singing gynaecologist!

News from Catty Library's staff meeting.

Julia had gone through the corporate briefing and news of the latest round of savage cuts minor efficiencies that do not affect front-line services and asked for any other business.

"There's the issue of access to the safe key during the lunch hour," says Agnes.

"Why would you want the safe key at lunchtime?" asks Julia. "Cashing up's done at the end of the day."

"We might need it," insisted Agnes.

"What for?" asked Julia.

"Well, what happens if an armed robber comes into the library and demands to get into the safe?"

Julia, to her immense credit, kept her composure.

"If any armed robbers come into the library you might want to not tell them about the safe," she says, quietly.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

So that's why you're wearing that rah rah skirt

Today is International Hug A Librarian Day.

There's never a lump hammer around when you really need one.