Life is quiet – well, sort of – then suddenly everything comes along at once. On Sunday 5 July, I finally attended Glasgow’s first Comic Con of the year, after many years of never quite managing to do so; if you missed it, there is another Comic Con at the SECC in September, on 26 and 27 September to be precise. Unfortunately, I will miss that one, as I will be visiting friends in Toronto. My partner in crime for this month’s Comic Con was the Officer of the Glasgow chapter of Geek Girl Brunch International. There will be a separate blog post on our trip, but a good time was certainly had by all.
Following that excursion, life over the past fortnight has been busy in the extreme. The joy of working part-time means that when summer comes, and everyone goes on holiday, there are lots of shifts available; I have been working practically full-time, with a day off in the middle of the week. It’s great for being able to get lots done; I “published” the first regular issue of The Otherworldy Oracle, a bimonthly newsletter about Dennistoun Library‘s fantasy, horror, science fiction, and supernatural collections. More on that in another post; today is just a round-up, as much for my benefit as for (hopefully) your entertainment and edification. I also got the related book display Scary or Sparkly: Defining the Vampire done; once I’ve added a little bit more decoration, photos will go up here. Work has also continued apace with the children’s Summer Reading Challenge (theme: Record Breakers). It’s been a great success, and we still have just under three weeks to go before we formally close it with medal and certificate presentations at the library’s Open Day on Friday 7 August.
I marked the end of the working week with some outdoors theatre. The Bard in the Botanics summer season has been running in Glasgow’s beautiful Botanic Gardens since 2003 (I think), and I have greatly missed it since I moved to London. This was my first chance to go since returning home; we had hoped to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but as it was sold out, decided to see Love’s Labour’s Lost instead, as not a one of our company had seen (or read) it before. It was excellent, very funny, but also tragic, with that strange ending when all seems lost. I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler to say that it all turns out well (“How?” “I don’t know. It’s a mystery”).
I had my final day of work the following day before taking a week of annual leave (more on which in a moment), which was understandably busy, as one of those days when you need to make sure that you have all loose ends tied up, to be able to relax in the time away from work. I am beginning to wonder if it’s possible to get carpal tunnel syndrome from cutting out piles of paper dolls to go up on the wall in the children’s library (part of our Record Breakers challenge). We got the idea from Julia Donaldson’s publishers, Pan Macmillan, who enlisted the help of children across the world to help them break the Guinness Book of Records world record for the longest chain of paper dolls, to celebrate the launch of Julia’s 2013 book Paper Dolls. Our community of children love colouring in possibly more than many of them love Julia Donaldson, so it’s been a great success. That night I went to a 40th birthday party, for such is the age which the Victorian Librarian is rapidly approaching, dear readers, which was dominated by cats and delightfully bad puns, in addition to bubbles, Scrabble fairy lights (with interchangeable letters!), and horror stories about T in the Park. Ooo, and the strange Buchanan Street busker who wears an ill-fitting prosthetic owl mask. Does anybody know what that’s about?
Since last Sunday, my life has been lived with the bubble of Celtic Studies, like one of the otherworlds to be found in the glass orbs in Labyrinth, as I attended, for the first time, the International Congress of Celtic Studies, which took place this year at Glasgow University (the 15th meeting of the Congress). I was rather nervous about attending, as it’s been seven years or more since I did any formal Celtic studies research; I took it up as a companion to my ongoing study of Old French literature when studying for an MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (part-time, 2004 to 2006), focusing on early Irish tales. It was a great decision, as I loved the stories, but I’ve definitely not been immersed in Celtic Studies in the meantime, having been working in libraries instead. There was no need to be nervous, as everybody was lovely, and I had a great time, meeting some old friends, making new friends, and meeting people whose work I have long admired. I am hoping to submit an abstract for the 2019 meeting of the Congress, taking place at Bangor University. The location in itself is rather exciting, as I have yet to visit Wales, so that could be a summer holiday! I will write (considerably!) more fully on the Conference in the coming week(s), but I wanted to thank the organisers, speakers, all at Glasgow University who contributed behind the scenes, and everybody who attended for making it such a wonderful week! You can find out more about the day to day of the congress on Twitter through the hashtag #iccs15; I have started a Storify of said tweets, but much remains to be collected.
For now, I’m tired, and having a much-needed day off, with an extreme lie-in, and, once this post is published, a bout of film-watching from the sofa. As I said on Facebook about the congress yesterday, “brain be full, and body be exhausted”, but it’s a happy tired, a contented exhaustion, with lots to think about, to write about here, to plan, and to do.