Why I love my job

I work as a library assistant at the Greytown Library. We are lucky to be housed in the Town Centre, a recently-renovated heritage building where there is lots of light, an excellent heating system and a desk where library staff can serve the public while seated (a rarity in libraries).

One of the best aspects of the job is the discussions with customers about books. One of the reasons I thought the job would suit me was because it involves lots of people contact and lots of books. And the job does suit me very well. I had no preconceptions about other readers and how many of them would like to discuss the books they read and/or the books they wanted to read. In all my experience as a library customer – in the nine or ten different public libraries where I was “a regular” at various times – I had never been approached by a librarian with an offer of help, while I was browsing the shelves. However now that I am on the staff side of the equation, offering that help has led me to some of the most enjoyable conversations I have ever had.

Take today as an example. A young woman, in her early years at high school, asked me if I could recommend any books. Together we scanned the shelves of our Young Adult collection and I talked with her about the titles I had read, as she shared the ones she had read. The customer was currently working her way through Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series, after her brother recommended them to her. She had also read other series that I had not, and thought I might like the Pretty Little Liars books. We had both read the Twilight, and Tomorrow When the War Began series. I was happy to send her away with Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom trilogy, the four Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books by Ann Brashares, and the first of Kathy Reich’s YA books, Virals. We talked about dystopian novels and the enjoyment we had both had from The Hunger Games; we talked about the experiences to be garnered from reading – far more than we could ever fit into a lifetime; and we talked about the joy of reading a book that ‘sucks you in’ from the very first pages and how reading creates ‘a happy place’ for us to enjoy. It was a wonderful conversation and the highlight of my day.

Fun with Shimelle

He just doesn't get itI completed this layout using instructions from UK Scrappers monthly challenge “& now for something completely different” run by Shimelle Lane. Each month (on or around 10th of the month) Shimelle posts a set of supplies and photo requirements – together with a photo to show what she has chosen. Then on 20th of the month she posts a set of 20 instructions to create a page using the supplies – so easy to follow along with as closely as you want. Here is the preparation list for June, and here is the set of instructions.

I followed the instructions pretty faithfully, and I’m pleased with how my page turned out. I used up a whole lot of yellow embellishments I didn’t know I had, and told the story of two cats and their very different reaction to catnip.

If you have difficulty reading my handwritten journaling above, the text reads:

We gave Toffee and Scruff catnip balls for Christmas. Toffee tore through the wrapping and abandoned decorum, rubbing and nuzzling his ball and rolling all over the floor, completely entranced. Meanwhile, Scruff was chewing the paper, ignoring the ball completely!

Washi Goodness

Would you believe I had no washi tape in my scrapbooking collection until recently? I read this post on my friend Mandy’s blog and took up her offer of a few samples.

I used the lengths Mandy gave me on a some layouts and cards, and began noticing just how many scrapbookers use this product – and in such a variety of ways. But I was strong and resisted the lure of purchasing any until….

I read that Nic Howard had entered the enabling ranks, by making nine different designs available (and to do my bit in the enabling stakes, go here to find the details). With a little bit of birthday money available (thanks, Dad!) I placed an order a couple of days ago.

Yippee! It’s arrived. I’m looking forward to using these tapes on projects.

To make the parcel extra special, Nic had enclosed a couple of surprise extra items. Wasn’t that nice of her!

Olive Harvest begins

It was only 9.05 on Saturday morning, but already the 2012 olive harvest was underway. We started with our Leccino and Pendolino olives, always the first to ripen. We have 119 of these trees – mostly Leccino.

The picking team of 14 people included our niece and her mum. In 8 years of olive harvesting, this is the very first time we have been successful in getting any family to come along. Thank you, Lucy & Rose, for breaking this dubious trend – and long may your involvement continue!

While one group is picking with rakes and fingers, Jonno (who has appeared anonymously on this blog before) was operating our branch-shaking machine on other trees. Together, these techniques netted (there’s a pun there, if you look closely at the photo above) nearly 20 kg of fruit from each tree.

The next job was to sort out the twigs and leaves. The press has a blower to remove most of the leaves, but those still attached to twigs or fruit are generally too heavy for this, and a hand-sort is more effective.

Once the picking was over for the day (with liberal applications of food and drink applied at two-hourly intervals) we sent 824 kg off to be pressed. 42 trees had been picked – so it was back again the following day for a dedicated team of 7 who continued the job. Even after two days and a total of 1339 kg harvested, there are still more Leccino to pick (not to mention the other cultivars as well). There will be two or three more weekends of harvest to come!

Unexpected visitors

Not long ago I got home to find these little chaps wandering about:

Yes, I know they are cute – I thought so too.

I rang the neighbour and asked, “Do you have three little pigs?”.

“Oh dear”, she said, “are we playing musical stock again?” (The cows on our land, leased to a local farmer, had recently been across to the ‘greener grass’ on the neighbour’s side of the fence). She promised to remove the piggies post-haste.

Just as well – the following day we had a walk around to check the porcine visitors had gone, and found this (and similar sights) all over the olive plot and grape rows closest to the house:

There was time to replace most of the turf and give everything a going-over with the roller before olive harvest begins, but we have really gone off piggies! Cute they may be – but they’re staying penned and on their own side of the fence from now on!

Preparing for Graduation in his own special way

We recently attended Ed’s graduation ceremony – it was a great occasion for his proud family. As he usually wears casual clothing Ed’s neat trousers and white shirts were still at our place, so we brought them over the hill with us. We had arranged to meet him in the car parking building opposite the Michael Fowler Centre, a half-hour before he needed to present himself for the ceremony.

Except the car parking building was full – and we had to park a 10-minute walk further away. So we met Ed near the venue and as I handed Ed his dark trousers and white shirt I expected him to dash off to the venue to change in their bathrooms. But no. “I’ll just change in these bushes”, he said – and proceeded to do just that!

Ready at last, our graduand hurried off to join his fellows.

So very happy to see him graduate – and to have a funny story to tell.