The second extract from Julian Dunham-Massey’s Diaries:

Volunteering at the Library

Whenever I feel enlightened I like to put Montblanc to copper engraved writing paper and share with you  my thoughts in the hope that we can all benefit from accumulated wisdom drawn on the routine experiences of everyday life.

Rather amusingly, the event to which I now refer occurred in my own grounds!  In fact in the grand foyer of the outer vestibule to be precise and involved a local, so called trades person who had arrived at the house, I thought, ostensibly to service the ¾ Cock Double Trap Clay Pigeon Launcher.

I should come clean and, without delay admit that I had forgotten that it was Marlon, our house boy’s morning off and that it did take me rather a long time to answer the door and thus, said Trades person was mildly agitated when I arrived at the door some 45 minutes after he had first telephoned to say he’d been ringing the bell for 10 minutes and could somebody kindly let him in.

Nonetheless, I am standing in the warmth of my own residence attempting to direct him around the side of the East Wing and into the Paddock where we keep the sports equipment whereupon he begins to berate me…’I’m here to talk about volunteering at the Library’ he bleats – ‘ My Library is not open to the public’ I tell him, ‘ Nor shall it ever be!’ …although I must admit the idea of having  someone volunteer to catalogue my Trollops  is appealing.

After further confusion it appears that there is a so called ‘Public’ Library in the village of Cranberry La Zouch and it appears that without volunteers and funding the place will close leaving an enormous cultural and community void.

Once I had got over the shock that there was such a thing as a Public Library and worse that Librarians were traditionally paid for their work I naturally questioned the need for such a place and indeed why this chap would be campaigning with such zealous fervour.  ‘It’s the Big Society isn’t it?’  he responded.

Ah.  The penny had dropped and my foolish behaviour laid bear for all to see.

‘The Big Society you say my good man’ managing to conceal my ignorance and embarrassment.  ‘Why didn’t you say so at first?’

‘I shall be delighted to contribute!’

And so it is with great pleasure that this forthcoming Saturday I will be holding a Whist Drive at the Mayfair on Park Lane in the Capital.  All the chaps from the polo club will be driving up to town to be there.  I have laid on the most fabulous private dining facility and entertainment will be provide by the mezzo soprano Anne Sophie Van Otter who I am flying in from Venice for the evening.

In all, after expenses, I’m hoping to break even, but what publicity to support the local cause.  And… I have also offered the community the services of Marlon as a volunteer… on his morning off obviously.

To bed!