Dirty Hands, Empty Cupboard

We’re due to reopen for browsing next week so I took advantage of a slow day to tackle the cupboard containing our main electrics board and the gas supply stopcock – as you do. No spiders or accumulations of building debris from renovation work would stay my hand from discarding mouse-nibbled bits of carpet or cleaning off plastic children’s chairs.

As an added bonus to passing the time, it meant I could organise the contents so that it was a) safe b) not blocking access to important things c) improve fire safety and d) put things we needed in easy reach rather than the subject of intensive explorations to uncover.

I’m rather proud of today’s efforts.

Gently Pausing

Another week, and as I was working on Saturday today was a short morning – that was mostly spent sorting out rotas. We’ve started sharing the duties out on that as the restructure starts shifting management around. No great dramas to report there.

I did drop by another library on the way home though. We’re starting to think about how to safely restart public events as restrictions drop, and I’d promised a couple of staff at this one that I would drop in on the way home.

While some libraries have in the past used CD players while running things like rhymetime this has not been the case here, so the staff were unsure about appropriate songs or lyrics to use. I promised to bring my old folder of songs round for them to copy. It was also a good excuse to stop in and have a gossip with my co-manager who was on-site today.

So, not a lot done, but it felt productive. With that and sorting out laundry when I got home it has been a nice pause.

Writing Nice Things

One of my colleagues has been working for the library for some 25 years now, and it’s always good to mark these things. My boss was nudged to write nice things to celebrate this and so this morning I received a plea for help in composing it. The email was titled: “R Citation”

The original call was for reminiscences but being the garrulous soul I am, I ended up with the following (slightly edited to preserve identities):

I must have been talking to too many Americans as the first thought on seeing ‘R Citation’ in the Subject was to wonder what she’d done now…

First impressions of R were of someone watchful and no nonsense – and then I got to know her and the sheer dryness of her humour was a joy. If we were busy we were given time and space to just get on with it – and if we weren’t then things could be found.

These days when asked to quickly describe R I use words and phrases like “bundle of energy”, “leaping into action”, and “don’t leave old paperwork around or it’ll go in the bin”. R is passionate about her work and about the library service. Watching her work is a lesson in managing to sprint along the tightrope between maintaining strict boundaries with the public, and going above and beyond the extra mile in pursuit of customer care. R’s distinctive voice and genuine interest in the people around her make her truly memorable to the people she meets and works with. Perhaps that’s the key to summing up R: she cares.

R has always been a kind and intuitive listener, even if – as she’ll be the first to tell you – she doesn’t always use the right words. I am now well used to phone-calls asking me to check over draft emails; asked to help turn direct and unvarnished language into considered and not-quite-so inflammatory directives. One of these days I’m sure she will produce some of the original drafts of her emails while writing her memoirs, and we can look forward to the series of explosions across the land.

R’s dedication to fitness is legendary, with swimming, running, and bottles of wine all being regular conquests in the race to keep ahead of the demands of work, family, and escape attempts by family pets. The sight of her bike propped up in Staines Library’s back rooms or corridors has often brought a smile when considering the pile of parcels delivered from Amazon that will then need to be carefully balanced on the return journey.

Perhaps the greatest testament to R is that when you mention her name, people’s faces light up. That’s a rare gift.

So, unsurprisingly my boss has said she’ll probably just use what I wrote. Perhaps I should send a mock invoice.

Odds and Sods

Another day done, reasonably productively, so that’s good. I’d been concerned for a colleague who seemed to have slipped through the cracks in the vaccination program but was pleased to hear that they’d been successful in securing an appointment.

Perhaps unsurprisingly I seem to have gained a reputation, at least with my manager, for being able to help distressed colleagues. I’m more frequently being asked to check in on various people so I’m having to remember to maintain my boundaries and not carry things home.

Proof myr s loves me

Still, I’m doodling and plotting things for the next few games, so that’s a positive thing. Shenanigans are afoot.

A Day of Consultation

Every now and then I’m called upon to be the fount of all knowledge, or at least the nodding insurance advert dog that people come to for permission to do what they’ve already decided to do – or for sounding board duties while they justify the decision their subconscious has already made.

Today has been that day. Thankfully I was only due to work a short shift as the hours were swapped with yesterday so that we could head off an issue with cover.

During the scant few hours, somehow every single conversation was about the same small pool of topics and individuals. I was therefore very relieved to get away for a coffee date after work with another colleague. An hour of gossip and putting the world to rights was just the right antidote to it all.

In other news, I’ve been confirmed as a Mental Health First Aider, and training booked in for early next month. Just in time for the big restructure. Just, generally, in time.

Draining Day

I had various bits of training online today, presented via Teams by some of our Social Services colleagues and focused on the organisations and teams involved locally in supporting the victims of domestic abuse.

A tough session, but it did lead to a discussion of the role of libraries as a community safe space and how we might be able to contribute. Ongoing conversations to be had there I think.

Weekend’s Here

That’s my first week back at work, and my legs are very aware I’ve been on my feet for most of it. It’s been good to reconnect with staff and public alike, and it has been a chance to encourage new creativity for displays.

We’ve got Mother’s Day here in the UK on Sunday, and Shakespeare Week to follow, so my main role today was to support, encourage and stir the pot, while my staff turned their attention to working out how to use Publisher. There may even have been investigations into the intricacies of printer layout settings and margins.

I love watching people’s faces as they work out new things, especially creative things. There’s often a great dawning joy and satisfaction that overtakes their features and its hugely rewarding to be part of that process.

That said I now need to start whipping my own creativity into shape to prepare for Sunday’s game. I have no idea what I’m going to set up.

A Day of Lightness

I was back to work for the first time in three weeks today, at least for the afternoon anyway, and it was nice to be able to catch up with people and feel a little more grounded back in reality.

Most of the conversations were of course surrounding how well Lady M is recuperating, and its been lovely to be able to report the total rejuvenation and new lease of life she has. Her own interactions with her work place have had her smiling about her job and pretty much everything for the first time in years.

And an added cherry on top is that I’m now booked in for my first covid vaccine jab on Monday next week. So all’s well that ends well today.

Back to Work Tomorrow

I’ve enjoyed having a quiet day, left broadly to my own devices, while Lady M plunged back to work. Every now and then I heard fragments of new meetings, each dominated by how well she looks.

My work week restarts tomorrow afternoon for a short shift, so it’s a gentle ease back in – or that’s the theory anyway.

Today has been spent drawing, reading, and creating a new map that I’ve uploaded this afternoon. Games and Gaming has now been retitled as Roleplay Games in the menu as its a more focused description of what is there.

A new map appears!

All very civilised…

Bouncing Back

Been a lot brighter as the weekend has gone on, and thats been more than a little due to the anticipation of and running of tonight’s game, which just finished.

It was a battle-heavy game as the group tracked down the people and entities responsible for the recent carnage and kidnapping of their companion. I was concerned at one point that I might not have judged things well from a balance point of view, but a combination of luck (both good and bad), tactics, and planning saw it all work out, including Caeluma being the one to strike the fatal blow against the Bone Knight responsible for everything.

I’m all energised in a tired way from that, so with tomorrow being my last day on holiday I’ll spend some time working out the next chapter, and then preparing for a new week of strangeness.

Lady M is back to work tomorrow. I suspect there may be some swearing…