Over the last couple of years, the emphasis in this series has been to share the delights and pleasures of being an archivist, especially when blessed with such a beautiful part of the country to ply one's trade in. Delights take many forms, and leaving aside the serious business of archives being destroyed by their storage conditions and handling, there is even a peculiar delight in discovering ones' self walking in the darker realms of the profession.
In an earlier post, "Bumper Day in the Archive",- I shared the discovery of a biscuit in a folder I was sorting. This is not such a dark realm, especially as the records were stored in reasonable conditions and the biscuit was still dry and un-munched on by nefarious critters (I realise that "nefarious" is a judgmental term, which I shouldn't apply: insects, rodents, and other creatures which feed in and on archives are simply doing what they are designed to do, and aren't motivated by hidden agendas or malice. Apologies).
Today's entry is somewhat darker. Stored in a garage, next to a bit of wild wood, their protective file cabinet had become home to rats or some similar animal, against which the records had no natural defences: In nesting, pooping and feeding, the animals had begun to take their toll. It could have been darker: there was no mould, and the birds had not got in. And there can be worse things.
Strong black milking gloves on, and get stuck in. No, really...It is one of the strange privileges of the profession.