Manic Monday

A* has phoned in sick today, so it’s just S* and I until an Italian girl from the pool comes in for lunchtime cover.

We finish the banking just as we open the doors, so, although I’ve been making notes, I still couldn’t do it unsupervised. S* says ‘you just have to keep doing it.’

As it’s just the two of us, I can’t join her for ‘baby bounce and rhyme’ although eventually the mums do join in and S* has them on their feet by the end of the session. There are a few more than last week and the edges of the library are lined with baby buggies. Only one person seems to mind the noise, asking me how long it goes on for, and then sitting at the end of the library furthest away from the noise.

In the afternoon, a group of about 10 Year 1s (I think) from a local school come in with their teachers, and I’m allowed to read them a story. We have so many books to choose from, but I like ‘Hairy Maclary’ so that’s what I read, sitting on one of the children’s orange chairs. They join in where they can, and when I leave a gap for them to fill in the word. It’s probably a bit young for them and they probably know the story off by heart, but I had to start somewhere. Reading upside down is quite difficult, I must say!

There are sometimes such contrasts in the library. One the one hand, there’s S*, who’s spent her weekend on a guided tour going round Prince Charles’s Highgrove gardens (which she says are worth a visit, although the tea was disappointing due to a surfeit of cake and no sandwiches!), and on the other, a bloke comes in and tells me that he was hit by a bus and has lost all his teeth, bar one. He shows me the evidence, and I make what I hope are soothing, empathetic sounds. Actually, I can’t really understand exactly what he’s saying and every now and again I have to ask him to repeat himself, which sends him off into a stammering session, but I get the general idea. He takes out a selection of ‘Quick Reads’, which, I note, are not in alphabetical order — or any kind of order. That’s the quirkiness of libraries that I love!

Two blokes come in with what look like large wooden boards — plus a traffic cone. They tell us these are our polling station booths. I ask what the date is for this event, but they can’t tell me. I wonder if it’s the same as Wales — 5th May. It’s not one of my work days but I wonder if the libraries will be open for business on that day.

We also spend some time putting together an activity for schoolchildren, based on the themes of Shakespeare’s death or the Queen’s life.

S* tells me a ‘shortcut’ to the A38 but I end up going the same way as last week and it takes me over half an hour just to get to the M5 junction (the whole journey takes as long in the morning), so I’ll have to find another route next week.

I’ve put a table and chairs here now, which S* says looks good.