Is it really ten years? Time flies when you're having fun.
Helminthdale is Helminthdale. Still. And forever. There are roadworks on the Penkridge Road, same as there has been this past forty years. The rain it raineth every day. Councillor Donkeyhanger still points at potholes in the road for newspaper photographers.
For all the eternal verities the place has changed. The Monkey's Arms is boarded up and closed, as are The Black Horse, The Red Lion and The Milkmaid's Dagger. By one of those coincidences known only in fiction the only chain store left in town is Chains R Us, which started life as a licensed sex shop but now specialises in the more lucrative trading in Staffordshire pit bull terrier accessories. The bus station, the council bin yard, the Meeting House of the More Peculiar Than You Would Ever Give Credit For Methodists have been bulldozed as part of Phase One of the building of Helminthdale International Airport. You would scarce know the place.
T.Aldous Huxtable, poor devil, has gone on to his final rest. To his credit, he did manage to leave the library service in a better state than he found it, which is no bad thing. The frustration and fury at the opportunities missed along the way must be tempered by comparison with the works of so many of his predecessors and contemporaries. Many of his achievements are history, but at least he had them.
What of the others? Most have moved on or out, though a few remain. Doreen feeds the ducks at Milkbeck Library and Norma is still threatening to unleash the gazebo in the car park at Windscape. And Frog, dear old Frog, still marches on. He must be potty.
Despite the harsh cold winds of Call Me Dave's Austerity Helminthdale Library Service still manages to have a library on every other street corner, though how long it can continue to buck the national trend is anyone's guess. And when the time comes there'll be no going down to The Monkey's Arms for a farewell drink.
Is it really only ten years? It might be Paris in the Edwardian era.