Thursday, 20 January 2011
No option but to delay
There's a large funeral taking place in one of our rural churches this afternoon, of which I am not the officiant. There has been flurry of phone calls this morning as the grave digger is refusing to dig the grave because as soon as he takes out a bucket-load of soil the space is filling with water, and the side walls are not stable.
Admittedly this is the one churchyard of ours that is surrounded by a medieval moat, but on this occasion that is not the cause of the problem. The ground is so sodden from the weeks of snow and then the recent couple of days of rain that the water-level has risen considerably. The roadside ditches round our lanes are full, and that is always a good indicator of the state of the fields.
So my advice to the officiant, in line with that already obtained from our Archdeacon, is that the funeral service can go ahead as planned, but that the burial will have to be delayed. This will undoubtedly cause some distress to the family and those relatives who have flown in from lands afar, but there is no choice. Nature will win, and we must wait on the water-table dropping back to its usual level before the final act can take place.