Life is a Challenge!

By Honeycombebeach


As many of you know, as part of my training and as an ongoing project, I decided to record the journal entries from when I did my Street Challenge back in 2016, so that they could be used on the radio.  

This has proved to be a lot more work than I first thought - with twenty six entries having to be re-jigged for radio, as obviously the listeners won’t be able to look at my photographs and they certainly won’t know who Mr. HCB is!  Not only is there a lot of work involved in recording those entries, but also  editing them and I must admit, I sometimes wonder if I have “bitten off more than I can chew”!  

Undeterred, I decided that as a preamble to the recordings, I would hopefully interview Darryl Moody, the Local Studies Librarian, who was very helpful to me when I was researching our family history.  I wanted to find out more about how that section of our local library works, what sort of people go in there to find out not only about their family history, but also the origins of the streets where they lived or now live.

Today was the day arranged for me to go and interview Darryl so Mr. HCB came in with me, and then went off mooching on his own.  I confess I felt a little nervous at first, because I was aware in yesterday’s interview that I was making more comments that I should have been, such as saying “Right” or “That’s interesting” whereas Shirley had advised me just to nod my head instead of speaking!  I know - you and me both know that it is hard for a chatterbox like me to “keep schtum” but I did explain to Darryl that I would let him speak and just nod and smile, so that he was aware of what I was doing.

However, once we both got into our stride, we were fine and Darryl was really helpful.  All I need to do now is to edit today’s interview and finish my recordings of the various streets - I have already recorded fifteen, so only eleven to go!  Then I need to find people to interview who either live or work in those streets, so you could say it is a fair-sized project for my first one!

Darryl has worked in the Local Studies section of the library for many years and is always keen to learn more about the local area - although he already knows a great deal - and to have any old photographs, newspapers or cuttings that people might otherwise throw out.  He told me that he is in the middle of compiling an update to a book that I dipped into to find out more about the origins of the various street names, and to do that, he will be using much of the information he has gleaned over the years.  

After the interview, we chatted for a while because I was at school with Roger Trayhurn, who used to be in charge of Local Studies until he retired a few years ago, and of course, Darryl knew him very well.  In fact, there are a lot of people we both know and he was especially complimentary about women in Swindon who have done interesting and fascinating things in their lives, some of whom were of rather mature years!

You will see Darryl in the top left of my collage - I did ask if I could take his photograph and use it for my Blip and he kindly said it was fine.  As I went downstairs, from the third floor of the library where we met, but which is not open to the public, I had a wonderful view of our Town Hall clock.  Next to that is a collage, which stands about six feet tall, showing some of the famous “faces” of Swindon - and probably the one most of you will recognise is Diana Dors, the actress, who was born in Marlborough Road, only a stones-throw away from where we now live and you may even recognise Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  All the copies of the local newspaper are on microfiche, so I thought a shot of one of the machines would be good, and then there are the hundreds of books in the Local Studies section, most of which are not able to be borrowed, but are for library use only.

Darryl smiled when I told him I used to get into trouble when I used to go into the library when I was about seven years old and push all the books to the backs of the shelves.  Miss Nockles, the librarian, would shout  “Stop doing that!” so I did - until the next time.  Darryl said that they always pushed the Local Studies books to the back for the simple reason that if there was a fire and the books were all at the front, they would go up in flames.  I was obviously ahead of my time!

When I was leaving the Local Studies area in the library, I met Grant, a man who is doing some research into the men from Swindon who were in the First World War and who hadn’t been killed in the war - I told him my grandfather was one of those men, so have told him I will send some information about him.

Thanks to Darryl for a great morning - I have promised I will let him know when the interview goes on air - so he can listen.  I now need to get sorted out for another interview tomorrow morning - you’ll never hear me saying I’m bored!

This quote reminded me of my Blip friend, Yeeeeed:

“My two favourite things in life 
     are libraries and bicycles. 
They both move people forward 
     without wasting anything. 
The perfect day: 
     riding a bike to the library.” 
Peter Golkin

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