Friday 20 July 2012

From a Distant Archive, far, far away. 20.

All this month of July the editorial staff of Bitsnbobs have shut themselves away in the distant archives. They hope to turn up a few gems, but whatever they find THERE will appear HERE.

Apart from the permanent staff, The Archives can be home to any number of research students, intrepid explorers or energetic tourists.

One time a visitor fell asleep at a table in the outer reaches – the information housed in The Archives can do that to you.

Unfortunately, on this occasion one of the staff – a new recruit in his first week – mistook the sleeping person for one of the exhibits and dutifully locked the visitor away in the artefact cupboard at the end of the day.

When she work up she was pretty angry, something that became compounded over the ensuing three days; at that time The Archives respected religious holidays.

When staff heard the shouts and bangs the following Tuesday they immediately rushed to the artefact cupboard and released her.

By now of course her anger and sense of injustice was intense.

The staff tried everything to placate her – tea, cup cakes and even lifetime membership.

Then, possibly in desperation, someone offered her the hitherto non-existent post of Head Archivist in Perpetuity. They must have figured that either the fact that the post didn’t exist or the excessively long period of tenure would elicit a polite but honoured refusal.

Instead she accepted and calmed down instantly.

Mrs Penny was 16 at the time.

This was fifty years ago today.

Some say that her actual age is a simple coincidence.

To celebrate her appointment it is customary for Mrs Penny to break open one of the (many) locked drawers stored in the Locked Vault of the central chamber.

Occasionally, when searching for something else in The Archives,  people stumble across a locked drawer and it is taken and stored in the Locked Vault to wait especially for this yearly ritual.

Why the drawers are locked and even who locked them is something that no one has an answer for, but the once-a year opening of one such is an event that few would choose to miss.

Today we found this.

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