The Clerk in the Country

Friday 21st January 2022

A time to take stock

According to my Sunday newspaper’s magazine supplement, the New Year is a time to pause and take stock of our lives.  For those of us busy with a financial year end of 31st December the only stock we have time to take is of our stock.  As usual, part of my first day back at the Lodge was spent in the back room upstairs counting pamphlets, books and prints.  This is a much pleasanter task since the room was sorted out and transformed into a light and attractive annex to the main reading room, but for many years it was a dingy, grimy store, with an accumulation of ageing boxes containing miscellaneous paperwork, rubbish or nothing at all.

On the morning of a gun salute some years ago, at a time of heightened security, all buildings along the route of the parade had to be checked by the police.  An officer duly arrived at the Lodge and enquired whether we had any unidentified boxes on the premises.  Seeing the store room he turned rather pale, but brightened up when I pointed out the decades-old layer of dust.  He then asked about access to the loft and was relieved to see an ancient cobweb festooning the trapdoor in the ceiling.  To my surprise, he omitted to check the toilet cistern.  Real life criminals must not behave like TV ones.

A financial year end of 31st December has one great advantage, I find.  By the time you emerge from days of checkings and balancings, it is almost still light at 5 o’clock, snowdrops are being spoken of, and you have missed the first half of January which, according to my Sunday newspaper’s magazine supplement is the most depressing time of the year.

A belated Happy New Year to all our readers!