Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Light That Failed

There are two parts to my job. One involves working in idyllic surroundings, with a view of the South Downs in the distance, listing quirky antiquarian books in a pleasant, weatherboarded office.

The other requires long periods of manual drudgery, sorting through huge deliveries of stock, trying to push rusting, back-breakingly heavy wheelie bins along muddy ground that feels like the shore of a tidal estuary.

Although they have lids, the bins still collect an extraordinary amount of rainwater and when I start to move them, they expel their brackish liquid from a small hole, like nervous sheep.

Next to the bins, there is a collection of odd machines, haphazardly mounted on planks. I have no idea what they are for:

During the last six months, I've watched the view from my workplace gradually change:

Autumn has clearly arrived and the late afternoon light is noticeably weaker. I now have to find my book orders by torchlight, as the solitary flourescent bulb barely makes an impression on the rows of shelves.

At the moment, I have a friend working with me. He has a regular role in a BBC radio soap opera, but when his character is going through a quiet period, he logs books with me.

I think he'd rather be acting, but it's good to have some company for a few days.

The temperature has been in the early 20s (or 70s, if you prefer) recently, but soon it will plummet and the books in the warehouse will feel like blocks of ice cream. I'm not looking forward to that. I can usually handle ten books before my fingers begin to seize up.

Yesterday I found a dead rat lying in a grass verge. I recoiled in horror and turned the other way, where I spotted a £1 coin lying on the ground. I lead a fairytale existence.


simplesuffolksmallholder said...

Sounds like you need a daylight bulb to see better.
I've just found your blog.......more pictures of book covers please, take me back to my library days in the 70s

Grey Area said...

You realise, of course - the frisson of excitement that this post has inspired in a legion of Archers lovers (and *cough* loathers) - I'll have a fiver on Nelson Gabriel - it's a long shot, but the entertainment value makes it worthwhile.

Steerforth said...

Simplesuffolksmallholder - Yes, I'll keep posting book covers when I find them. I enjoyed reading your blog and would like to follow suit, but my wife is firmly in the Margot Leadbetter camp.

Richard - I'm ashamed to say that I've no idea who Nelson Gabriel is, but it isn't him.

Dale said...

At least you didn't have to swallow the dead rat to get to the money - a metaphor for our times, if you like.

Steerforth said...

Dale - I was offered the dead rat for a £1 coin seven years ago, but walked away. I'll stick to my shillings.

Martin Hodges said...

That would be fairytales of the Grimm variety, of course?

Steerforth said...

Martin - Indeed, but it was meant to be a humorous post. I don't know what went wrong.