It’s a long-running joke in our house that we’re destined to be penniless due to my inability to return library books on time.
Personally, I like to think of the overdue fines as small (but regular) contributions towards keeping libraries afloat, but for some reason this justification is no longer washing with Mr Bean. I think he’s seen the librarians' faces light up when I walk in, anticipating another generous donation.
So when I came across this article I had to bring it to his attention. Some poor soul is even more forgetful than me and after 80 years (yes, years!) the book has finally been returned to its home in Navan Library, Ireland.
As any self-respecting overdue borrower would, the book was dropped off quickly and quietly before anyone noticed. As records don’t exist from that long ago, no one has any idea who the original borrower was, or indeed the returner.
Although the cloak and dagger behaviour could also have been to avoid the not inconsiderable fine which the librarian has calculated to be over 4000 Euros – and this is based on the charge it would have been back then: a penny a week.
‘And you thought a fiver was excessive?’ I can’t help but comment to Mr Bean, who just raises his eyebrows and looks pointedly at the pile of library books in the entrance hall, waiting to be taken back.
They’ve been there for over a week now. The librarians will be pleased.