The Amazing World of Si Hart

Amazing insights into my mind as I battle against the inefficient world of the library, moderate a message board, write Doctor Who audio adventures and try and stay sane!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Unapreciated and Unimportant- Ranting!

I'm home alone again, but I'm not setting traps for any unwary burglars, which is probably a good thing. Steve has gone out for dinner tonight with SFL and it simply isn't possible for me to get into London in time to go with them any more, because of where I am. It's a shame, as the one time I was able to go I had a great time. Ah well. Tomorrow I'm home alone again as he's off to see a Jimi Hendrix tribute with Paul and Lesley and again my late night means I can't go to that either. Hey ho, just one of those things. It still feels like he's barely been here for the past couple of weeks though. Awww!

I get my own back next week though as I'm off out for a curry next Tuesday night with various people from work for Janet and Jo's leaving do. That should be good, especially as they have a Lennon and McCartney theme night going on. Part of the insane week we've got- what with Gaz coming to stay and a trip to see In The Cage on Thursday with Ant and then a trip to Gaz's for the weekend too. I'm really looking forward to that, because, as ever, we've left it far too long between visits (almost a year!) and you know as well as I do, that that is far too long!

It's been a pretty ordinary week really. We had a community day at Great Hollands yesterday and successfully promoted the library all morning in the cold, well Pat did anyway. Heard the rumour that our director wants to shut down the three small libraries in the Borough- IE my two and Harmans Water, which won't be popular at all (certainly not with the Deputy Mayor who says she is fighting the plans every step of the way!) and makes me wonder what makes these people tick... still in many ways we're a very lucky authority, being one of the few not to have had any public libraries closed at all, and long may it remain so.

It's very difficult to quantify what we do, as much of our service passes under the radar- how to quantify the conversations you have with borrowers about the books they've read, the time you spend with kids helping them find information, the time you talk to the older people who come in and hear about their families and stuff? These are all important parts of my job and yet they pass unnoticed and don't seem to be important, and yet they form the basis of community engagement and interaction which is at the core of public library services I reckon. Sometimes I feel the core of what we do isn't appreciated at all, when all that seems to be deemed important is numbers of issues, number of issues and numbers in general. Sometimes, if I stop and think about it, it gets me down because it shouldn't be like this, but our customers never seem to be the focus of anything that comes down from above. I do know that they are the central part of my working life and that's why I'll try and do what I can to keep them happy and keep them coming back. Unappreciated we may be, but I never want my borrowers to feel that they are unappreciated or unimportant in my libraries.

God I'm tired! Rant over!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

He's Home!

It's good to have Steve home. I only really realised how much I'd missed him being around when he walked through the door yesterday and he was back home, more than a bit tired maybe, but home! Wrapped up in a big hug and then made a cup of tea while he sorted himself out- I hope it was a good welcome home.

We didn't do very much yesterday, but it was lovely all the same. We continued the long task of putting things onto DVD, enjoying lots of music from various different Glastonbury festivals (we're up to disc 3 of random music now) and the whole of series one of The Harry Hill Show... aside from the very first episode which has somehow gone astray during the great VHS Purge of 2004. It was very good too- we were silly, we enjoyed all the great Harry Hill jokes (what a great, great series that was- all 3 seasons) and it was just one of those inconsequential days that you pass together, drinking tea and doing nothing of huge importance. Wonderful.

I think it's very important that in any relationship you do some things on your own separate from your partner. Doesn't matter what it is, but really you do need to make sure you keep your own interests and perhaps make sure that you have some time to yourself sometimes. That's the only way that you can truly appreciate what you've got together. And we've got a good thing going!

Friday, October 19, 2007

First Days of Winter

It has suddenly turned cold. This morning it was joy to walk to work in the freezing air, big winter coat on for the first time in months and you know, a crisp, sunny winter's morning is a thing of wonder. At least when it's the first one anyway.

I think it might come as a bit to a shock to Steve though, when he returns. Coming back from 36 degrees to this will be a bit of a downer really!
I have missed him you know. I've had a busy week, which has been great and all, but I miss him not being there to cuddle up to at the end of the day and I miss our silly, inconsequential conversations and just having him around really. I hope he's had a great time.

I'm getting on with the long task of putting videos onto DVD tonight. I'm concentrating on music for a change, which in many ways is something of an even more arduous task than others, because it's best to get each track as a separate chapter for ease. That and the fact that all the miscellaneous music tracks are spread over many, many different vidoes doesn't help much. Still never mind. Glastonbury 98 has provided many good songs and I've just found some nice stuff from Later... With Jools Holland, including The Bluetones, which'll please Steve.

Otherwise, there's not a great deal else to say. I'm planning a trip to meet Lis Sladen next weekend and hopefully to go and meet David Tennant and Freema Aygeman on Monday 5th November. Both are pretty exciting! Lets hope I can make it, eh?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Uncommon Days

You know, I simply haven't been given a chance to miss Steve this week. I don't know if people are taking pity on me, or what, but I've had more invites out for dinner this week than I've had for ages! I was at Vic and Mark's for dinner on Tuesday (and was reading Luke a bedtime story when Steve phoned) and last night Dad invited me over. I'm not complaining, but it does mean that all the Blake's 7 reviews I'd promised myself I'd simply aren't going to get done now. Ah well. It's only a small problem.

I had a lovely day on Monday. I travelled down to Bournemouth for the day to see my good friend Stephen Oakes. I'd been promising we'd come down and see him for over a year, but as usual, hadn't quite got round to doing it, so I thought it was long past time I did. I had a really nice day too, which makes it all the better. His family were really welcoming in, and I chatted away to his Mum, and later his Dad. His family might be one of the few that discuss the relative acting merits of various Doctor Who companions down the years over dinner! That was unexpected I can tell you!
Anyway, we drank a great deal of tea, talked about Doctor Who a great deal (he doesn't get the chance to talk to anyone else about it very often) and had a nice walk in the afternoon. I know it doesn't sound too exciting really, but I just enjoyed his company and the chance to get to know him a bit better, as most of our contact has been through MSN Messenger really.

The train trip down there gave me the chance to get some reading done. I've just read The Raw Shark Texts, which was a brilliant novel. I love the way it twisted reality and was an action adventure set in a world of words and monsters that made of text. So imaginative, with a little twist at the end that was quite poignant. A really good novel!
I also managed to read Alan Bennett's new novella, An Uncommon Reader, which was highly enjoyable. It was all about the Queen developing a love of reading and how it changes her life. What I liked about it was that it emphasised all the great things about reading, the way that it can inform your view of the world and the way that a good novel can make you forget all the other things that are going on in your life and provide a bit of escape. And how addictive it can become if you let it! Great stuff, with a twist at the end that made me smile!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Fortunately the much mooted car boot sale has been postponed for yet another week until next Sunday, so i got to stay in bed this morning. It was much needed. So here I am at the PC listening to Shirley Bassey (oh my! How gay!) in my dressing gown waiting for the water to heat up so I can have a bath.

I'm going to have a lot of time to myself this week, as after this weekend of Steve playing computer games, he'll be flying out to Abu Dhabi tomorrow lunchtime. It'll feel very odd without him here, but I'm sure I'll soon settle into it! No, I will miss him I'm sure, after all, I'll have to get up int he morning and make my own cup of tea and sandwiches! I think he'll have a great time and it'll be a great trip- standing out in the desert looking at a new motorway... and being paid for it too!

He's been a bit stressed the last few days and seems to have gone round upsetting people all over the place, or at least he thinks he has anyway. The stuff over the production of his story was a bit silly really, and I don't really think I was very supportive. I just left him to it and hoped for the best. Of course, the best probably came out of it last night once he'd calmed down a bit!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


"I never could get the hang of Thursdays"
Thursdays are odd days. It's possibly our quietest day at Birch Hill, and even this morning's sunshine (after the thick early morning fog) didn't bring them out today. Ah well. It wasn't really for the best today, as my poor member of staff (not naming names) needed some distraction. In what's turning into one of those weeks, she came in this morning and after I'd asked her if everything was OK after her husband crashed the car, she burst into tears. Turns out the crashed car brought several things to a head and her husband is leaving her. Oh my! They always seemed so well suited and so happy too, so it really did come out of nowhere. I gave her a hug and suddenly people were ringing the bell because we were a minute or two late opening up. You don't get a moment's grace when it comes to opening up.

So she looked distracted all morning, as you would do really. She put up a new display, which took her most of the morning, and I tried to keep her as occupied as possible. It's difficult to know what to do for the best in these situations- but hopefully I did OK. As her manager I assured her, I'd do all I could to help her and as a friend, I promised her if she needed someone to talk to, I was there. What more can you do.

There's been a children's survey this week. It's going well I think, we're certainly hitting most of the quota, which is good. I think we're getting good feedback too, which is always good. Latest issue stats show we're improving month on month at Great Hollands, and the Birch Hill stats are variable, but high in general. Hooray! Something good on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Positive thinking

It's been a somewhat odd day really and I suppose in many ways I've been rather distracted by Andrew's news. It's one of those things you don't quite expect- Andrew is a couple of years older than I am, and he's just been diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. I, like many others I suspect, never think that cancer happens to people my age. But it does, of course it does.
He was with us at the weekend, and really we had no idea. He was as upbeat and cheerful as usual and really good company. And he didn't want to tell us either because he was having such a lovely time. He's so positive about beating it though, which is fantastic. He's got the right attitude and I really hope he comes through it. I've not known him for all that long, so I'd like to have the chance to get to know him better if I can. Fingers crossed eh?

As I said earlier in the year when Uncle Dave was diagnosed, it's not easy to know what to say, so I again I just sent all my very best wishes and said I'd go and watch Doctor Who with him while he's recovering. Perhaps it's enough to know he has loads of friends looking out for him. I hope so.
This is another example of why PS is somewhat unique in forums- the place has been full of well wishers all day and I noticed lots of private messages going his way all day. That's good. Really good.

The news did sort of distract me most of the day. I left the library keys at home this morning, which caused all sorts of logistical problems for everyone, as did the rain, but we got through them OK. It was good to have Pat back though.
Steve could off to Abu Dhabi in the next week. We're not quite sure when though. I'll miss him- I'll have to make my own lunches and cups of tea while he's away!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Christmas comes early!

I'm feeling knackered today after another fun weekend. We had a houseful of people to record Steve's play, Doctor Who and the Christmas Gnomes. Great fun was had by all, which is nice. We didn't get started on the recording until rather late in the day, which meant a late dinner and a late start to the drinking on Saturday night, but that didn't seem to stop us going for that with customary gusto. Much wine and beer was consumed, if the trip to the bottle bank yesterday afternoon is anything to go by! We played a few rounds of Jonno's drinking game, which is enough to slaughter anyone- and certainly did poor old Ant Cox in, not that I think he really minded. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and as I went to bed at 2.45am, they were just starting to watch 1999's Doctor Who night... even I wasn't really up for that!

The recording seemed to go well. I think Steve really enjoyed being in charge and getting things done his way! He's not quite as laid back as Si is in the directing stakes, but they both get the best from their actors. I had a blocked noce and a rather fragile voice, so my part sounds rather husky this time, but it's still recognisably Vera-esque I think. Some of the other performances are quite wonderfully insane, which is probably just what this script needs.

So it was lovely to welcome to our place. It was a shame Andrew and Ant had to rush off on Saturday night, and as always there's never enough time to chat to everyone properly- I never seem to get time to have a decent chat with Si these days! But there was the chance to talk to Dave Tudor on Sunday when everyone else had headed home and to Pip and Tim before everyone else arrived on Saturday (and we're having Pip to stay for the PS meet, which'll be nice) but I'm sure it won't be long until we see everyone again, anyway. It never is and that's a good thing!

Paul and Jody came up on Sunday with Tabby and William. It was their first visit to our place and it was really good to finally welcome them! Tabby and William of course stole all the attention whenever they could, and it's quite clear that our house really isn't set up for children! If I'd had more time and been less hungover we could have sorted that out a bit more than we did. Ah well. It didn't matter though. I can't believe how much they've grown up in the few months since we last saw them. I suppose because I see Luke and Annabel all the time I don't really notice how much they're changing all the time.
Anyway they seemed to enjoy Steve's cake and the trip to the playground over the road was fun too. William got thoroughly covered in mud, which is how it should be. I'm not sure Charlie enjoyed all the attention he got, especially as both William and Tabby were quite excited to see him running around, but I'm sure he's recovered now.
It was just a shame I was a bit hungover and that meant I wasn't as chatty as I should have been. Hey ho.

Today I've had a quiet day. A bit of DVDing stuff, a bit of watching and two wonderful episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures, which I'm not ashamed to say I'm enjoying immensely!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

All Bunged Up.

I feel like I could sleep forever right now. This is not good, as I really ought to go to work today. I'm full of cold and didn't sleep too well last night as I spent much of the night coughing. Steve got so irritated by it, that he came down and slept on the sofa, which then made me feel ever so guilty (until I fell asleep again). At the moment I can't tell whether it's lack of sleep or whether I'm just so full of cold that I feel so rubbish today. It's probably some of both. Ah well, I'll does myself up and go to work and come hope and flop down on the sofa. I can do that.

We had a great weekend. We went to stay with Richard and Mike in Ipswich. It's a long old trip, but it's worth it, because we had a great time. It's very good getting to know Mike a bit better and it's really wonderful after all this time to see Richard looking happy and settled. They seem very good for each other. We didn't do a great deal on Saturday night, but that didn't matter really, we drank some wine, ate some great food and had a good chat all evening. That seemed to work just fine really!
Sunday was good. We went up to where Mike works and borrowed some bikes and cycled round the farm and up some country lanes; very different to where we usually cycle! It was good. The sun was out and since we're all about as fit as each other, no one was out ahead all the time! Richard and Steve enjoyed seeing the cows in the fields too!

On the way home, we popped in to see Steve's Gran and Auntie Betty. That was good. They always make me laugh, especially Auntie Betty and her rather downbeat outlook on things (she asked me if I thought Charlie would have drowned if I hadn't been there to rescue him from the pond!). It's always worthwhile. :)