The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - November 27, 2014

WONDERFUL SERVICE Gathering at Lytham St Annes Town Hall for the inauguration of the borough's new mobile library service.

WONDERFUL SERVICE Gathering at Lytham St Annes Town Hall for the inauguration of the borough's new mobile library service.

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I went to a library the other day.

Now I know what you’re thinking – that start doesn’t bode for the most scintillating of columns. And you’d be absolutely right, but bear with me because it does get more interesting. Marginally.

I went to Lytham Library, to be exact, because my computer has broken down. I’m not sure what happened but I’m pretty sure it finally got fed up of Mrs Canavan Googling ‘Debenhams, ankle boots, sale’ and decided to call it a day.

It meant I had to find a way to write this column and my mother – always good in a crisis – suggested the library.

This took me by surprise as the last time I went to a library, circa 1983, there were lots of books and not much else.

But nowadays, as my mother pointed out, it could not be more different.

Libraries have got it all, from DVDs to Blu-ray, e-books to iPads. In fact going to a 
library these days is a bit like visiting your local branch of Currys.

My visit to Lytham’s – its library, not Currys – restored my faith in humanity.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said to the girl behind the desk as I walked in – because I have a habit of starting every sentence with an apology even when I have done nothing wrong – ‘but I was wondering if you had computers and, if so, whether I might be able to use 
one?’

A middle aged-lady with a lovely smile and a very nice patterned cardigan looked at me like I was mad and said ‘of course you can’.

I explained I had never been to the library before (at the back of mind I thought this revelation might result in her frog-marching me outside and hurling me into the gutter), but within two minutes she had registered me and given me a shiny new card.

I was even allowed to pick my own design; I went for one with a picture on it of a baby elephant, or possibly a rhinoceros, it’s hard to tell.

I was then taken to what the lady proudly described as the IT Suite (that’s a slightly ambitious title, it’s basically a small room that looks not unlike my grandma’s lounge, with six or seven computers in) and not only shown how to log on but given a talk on how to get up and running.

In short, the staff could not have been more helpful.

I then wrote the usual rubbish (ie. the stuff you are reading) and sat back in my seat to reflect on what a marvellous country we live in.

I had walked in off the street and been allowed access to a computer for as long as I liked, all completely free of charge.

The only slight disappointment was that a member of staff didn’t come around with a tray of bacon sandwiches and some tea, perhaps offering free foot massages, but you can’t have it all.

Other than all the wondrous technology, the only thing about libraries that seems to have changed from when I was a nipper is that they don’t seem as quiet as they used to.

While I was there, two people sat having a full-on conversation for the best part of 20 minutes.

I think they were married because the woman kept saying things like ‘you didn’t even take the recycling out and I expressly asked you to’, while he looked forlorn, down and overall slightly disappointed with the way his life had panned out.

Yes, they were definitely married.

That aside, I have nothing but praise for Lytham Library and all libraries in fact, for they do a terrific job for the community in an age where more than ever before we need those kind of bases for people to go and use.

With my laptop still out of action – disappointing for me, but on the upside Mrs Canavan can’t use the joint account to purchase expensive ankle boots – I shall be back there again soon.

Love or lobe him...Harry’s ‘mate’ did well

Well done to Lewis Hamilton for winning that race car thing.

I’m not sure what to make of the sport or of Hamilton, the former because to me it doesn’t seem much fun spending two hours watching cars whizz around and the latter because I really don’t like his ear-rings.

He also seems a bit like hard work as a bloke – moody and uncommunicative when things are going badly and slightly smug when they’re going well, which doesn’t fit with Rudyard Kipling’s ‘if you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters the same’.

Still, I wouldn’t fancy driving a vehicle at 200mph, or wearing a big helmet (it would play havoc with my quiff), so fair play to him.

I do feel sorry for Prince Harry though. The poor devil leads such a busy lifestyle – attending dinners, playing polo, removing his clothes at not-so-private parties in Las Vegas – and, sure enough, there he was popping up in Abu Dhabi to speak to Hamilton over the radio as soon as the Brit had won the race and clinched the championship.

“Well done Lewis,” said Harry, looking very dapper in a suit that I’m assuming he didn’t buy in the sales. “You’re a legend, mate.”

Not exactly the language of a Royal but, hey, he’s down with the kids.

So well done Lewis, maybe he’ll treat himself to some new ear-rings with his winnings.