Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Rural social and financial success

The booksale at St. James exceeded all expectations, going past last year's total and netting some £920. It was extremely busy in the morning whilst the afternoon can best be described as slow and steady. Even the Village Hall cadre who ran the refreshments for their own funds doubled what they made last year. So it was a very successful day, and coming hard on the heels of the wonderful Flower Festival at Ilketshall St Lawrence a fortnight before, which itself raised some £840 for the funds, we have had a very good month. Pictures of the flowers will shortly be available on the Benefice web site ( but at present I'm trying to redesign the whole series of pages and the news on there is old.

The vicarage roof is slowly being replaced. The tiles have started going back today, and they look lovely and straight. Quite a difference from the uneven and slipping condition before. It will take the garden a while to recover from all the dust, rubble and scaffolding that has turned parts of it yellow and parts of it grey, but it will bounce back. The autumn rains should see to that.

It's this village's Harvest Festival this coming Sunday, and with the Village Hall already booked by a Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme party, I have offered to host the Harvest lunch in the vicarage. Better make sure that there's lashings of ginger beer to go with the soup, ham salad and boiled potatoes, and apple pies.

"Golly" said Dick, "what a feast!"
(Let the Famous Five reader understand)

Friday, 22 September 2006

Second attempt

I updated this Blog yesterday. Well, I spent some 15 minutes typing it out just on midnight, and then when I tried to upload it all I got was a message that Blogger was doing some routine maintenance and I couldn't access the site. And I lost the entire post. And now, 24 hours later, I can't recall what it was that I was writing about anyway! The ephemeral nature of a Blogger's mind ....

Work on the roof progresses, despite the heavy rain today. I was down In Ipswich for a clergy Training event so I didn't have to witness the sodden roofers nailing down the waterproof membrane, or ripping off the extra sheets I fixed across the gaps around the chimneys yesterday afternoon when I saw the weather forecast!

Ipswich is not my favourite place on God's earth. There's something about it that I don't really like. Norwich is my shopping centre of choice, and I'm very fond of that city. It has a completely different atmosphere about it, perhaps because it's a University town and it has a vibrant air with all the young people milling around. But Ipswich had its young today, with just as many outlandish fashions, but it also had several people stumbling along, eyes glazed, heading for their next "fix". I wasn't too impressed either with the guy who got onto the Park & Ride bus and who proceeded to open a can of Carlsberg Special Brew and drink his way to the town centre at 10.30 in the morning! Still, at least he threw his empty can into a litter bin and not onto the pavement. No, give me Norwich any day.

It's the Second-hand Book Sale at St. James South Elmham tomorrow, and I shall be over there all day helping to sell. There are thousands of books on all subjects, and if last year is anything to go by, we should be kept fairly busy. Last year's Sale, the first attempt at this kind of fund-raiser, netted some £650, so we have that as a target. We'll see.

So, before I try and post this one tonight, I think I'll copy the text onto a Word document just in case ....

Friday, 15 September 2006

At the end of the day ...

... two new windows are in - expertly installed by a young man who clearly knows his job. The scaffolding is about two-thirds erected by four men who can't work without Radio 1 thundering out acros the lawn. In fact the first thing that comes out of their wagon when they (eventually) arrive is the ghetto-blaster! They managed four and a half hours today before leaving for the weekend. Nice work if you can get it! I expect them to return on Monday and finish the job whilst the roofers are here and doing what they can on the scaffolding that is up to the required height.

It's amazing how much light is prevented from entering the rooms with scaffolding and planks around the house. It's like living in a steel cage, though some of it is reminiscent of a cloister-walk, and has set me thinking ......

It's going up

The roofers have departed. The window replacement man has arrived and is half-way through fitting the second window. It's midday and the scaffolders have come back. After a smoke-break in their wagon, they are now finally doing something.

Watch this space.

Partial erection problems

So ... the scaffolders worked until 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday, and I was expecting them to come back yesterday and finish their erection. Well, they did turn up, but not until 4.00 p.m., and then they left at 4.30 p.m. with it still not completed. Which has caused a bit of a problem with the roofers who have arrived this morning and are unable to start since they scaffold only reaches half-way up the house. Phone calls to their boss have been made, and he is not happy. I've put the kettle on and made each of them a mug of coffee. They are now sitting in their van.

Two new windws are also due to be installed today. I wonder what time they will arrive?

Now if I administered the churches like this .....

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Grumpy old man

This afternoon the house is surrounded by three men heaving huge metal pipes along my back passage - the scaffolding is going up prior to the re-roofing of the vicarage. The black and blue wheelie-bins now have a prominent position by the front door since the walkway down the side of the house to their usual resting place is blocked off by angled support poles; the flat-leaf parsley looks somewhat sad underneath one of the support boards, and the large man in charge, who came with the van, walked around the house giving instructions, and who then disappeard without ringing the bell and speaking to me, was muttering about having asked for the holly tree to be cut down. No such request was ever made, and I don't mind it being lopped, but it ain't coming down, matey!

Allied to this I have been attempting to renew my House Contents Insurance with a company that specialises in dealing with the older generation (let the reader understand) that falls due in two day's time. When I telephoned them last week the lady asked if any works were being done on the bulding. When I told her about the planned re-roofing she said that in order to renew my Contents cover they had to have the start date and finish date of the work. I explained that since it was a Tied House, I did not have that information. She then told me they wouldn't renew without it. This caused a flurry of e-mails between myself, the Diocese, the Architects, builders and scaffolders.

Armed with the dates (today and one in four week's time) I have just telephoned the company again and asked to renew my Contents Insurance. There was no question asked about works on the house, and it was renewed immediately. I've noted down the name of the lady I spoke to, and the time of the call, so if anything happens .....

I almost bought a "Grumpy Old Man" T-shirt last week, until I saw the price. I can get a plain one and write on it for far less expense.

Oh look, the scaffolders have been working for 25 minutes and are now on their first break !

Seasonal greetings

There I was in Tesco's yesterday when I came upon their "Seasonal" aisle. Oh deep joy and felicity! I can now buy my Advent calendars and Stollen cake. And it's still September!

Is it me?

I was also slightly disturbed to pick up from my hall carpet this morning a small piece of blue tinsel from last year's Christmas decorations. Now where the heck has that been hiding for the last 9 months?

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Okay, pedants ...

Following on from the "Comment" about the Indian Summer, and that it should really be an All-Hallows Summer, it's a bit early for that as well, for that would be the end of this month, not the start.

And as for the "Comment" about the licensing of the parish church rather than the new Vicar ... I agree, it can be read that way. Let me make myself perfectly clear ... The new Vicar of Bungay was licensed last night in the small parish church of the town.


I'm not ....

The rubbish I have to put up with .....(mutter) ..... (mutter) ... (mumble)

Now off to a PCC, and a Chinese take-away afterwards! Parish life is such a bore .....

Can you still call it an "Indian summer"?

Or is that politically incorrect now?
Whatever, after a wet August, September has brought the hot sun back again. Even the wind the last couple of days has been warm, like the Mistral, and the heavy showers late yesterday evening did nothing to alleviate the warmth, just made it feel like the interior of a Turkish Bath ... or should I call that a Sauna now?

Thankfully today the air is a lot cooler and more clear, and the oppression has lifted. I much prefer this sort of autumn weather. I'd rather put on a jersey to keep warm than strip off and remain a sweating beached whale. (Not a pretty sight!)

The new Vicar of Bungay's parish church was licensed last night. It was a good service and the Suffragan Bishop spoke well. To illustrate the challenge of taking up a new post he used the story of the three envelopes that a new Governmental Minister finds when he enters his office on the first morning. These are to be opened when things go wrong. A few weeks into his job and he encounters the first problem, so he opens the first envelope. Inside is a note saying "Blame your predecessor", so he does. All goes smoothjly for a time, and then there's a bigger problem. Opening the second evenvelope he reads: "Reorganise your department", so he does, and it all settles down again. Later he encouinters a major crisis, and no longer able to blame his form,er incumbent, and with the department working as well as it can, he slits open the third envelope. The note inside reads, "Prepare three envelopes for your successor" .......

Even without the follow-on exegesis, the story is an apt picture of how parish life goes.

I'm not sure which envelope I'm on .......