Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Day of Beginnings and Endings

It’s been a day of beginnings and endings.


I will start with the endings (I am contrary that way) - today saw the end of the Summer Reading Challenge, the last chance for the hundreds of youngsters who entered this year’s Mischief Makers Challenge to visit the library, give an account of the latest book(s) they have read and collect their certificate and “gold” medal. It was a very exciting afternoon on the Summer Reading Challenge Desk.


Yes, I was there at the end, as I had been at the beginning back in July. I had also been there all through the middle weeks; today I totted up the hours I have volunteered this year and it came to twenty-four. Which I thought was pretty good going until I was told that one of my young fellow volunteers has marked up the amazing total of seventy hours. I am admiring and humbled at one and the same time. The Children’s Librarian tells me that she believes seventy hours may well be an all-time record. It is also one I can’t see myself ever beating.


Nevertheless I have had so much fun - and created my own brand of merry mischief - on this year’s challenge. I have also learnt a lot. Why just this afternoon I learnt that there are 468 subway stations in New York, more than anywhere else in the world - and that if you want to make a rainbow-coloured cake you will fare better if you swap flour, eggs and sugar for a large pinch of magic. Ten children earned their medals and certificates in just under an hour and a half, including several who needed to take me through all six of their library books at once. Their powers of recall were little short of amazing. Each medal ceremony was marked by a drum roll on the Summer Reading Challenge Desk, causing other library visitors to look up from their perusal of the bookshelves to wonder what on earth was going on. There is something quite deliciously subversive about making a noise in a library, don’t you know?


I am sad that this year’s Challenge is over but next year it will all begin again and, hopefully, I will be there. At the beginning and the end.


Today saw a new beginning for my Eleanor, the third of my darling granddaughters, starting out on her University career and doubtless feeling, in common with all the thousands of new students making the same move into the unknown over the next couple of weeks, an intoxicating mixture of nervousness and excitement. 


I made her a string of bunting to decorate her new student room. It was, I confessed, recycled bunting in the manner of my recycled birthday banners where every capital letter once formed part of someone else’s banner. In the case of the bunting, some of the flags had been sewn from material left over from dresses I made for the Twinkles, Tala and Lilia, when they were babies while others were formed from the remnants of the strings of bunting Eleanor and I had painstakingly sewn to decorate the twins’ bedroom when they moved into their new home. Our Bunting Project, as we called it, was a highlight of one of Eleanor’s visits to her Grandad and me.


Eleanor, loyally, said that the fact that my gift to her was recycled made it even more special as it would remind her of the lovely time we had sewing bunting for the Twinkles and bring even more of the family into her new student bedroom.   


Good luck in your new life, dear Ellie. By this time next week you will be into the swing of everything, finding your feet, signing up for the netball club, getting to grips with your timetable and looking forward to your first placements. You will be feeling much more at home and you will have tentatively formed friendships which will hopefully last long after you leave university.


You probably won’t recognise it at the time, but it will be the End of the Beginning. 


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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