The picture shows some of a yew tree at St George’s, Bradley. It is seen through a hole in the church’s east window and through the grid of the heavy duty protecting guard across it. I love the way in which the long tips of fresh growth on the yew are such a light bright green compared with the rest of the tree.
But, of course, there shouldn’t be a hole in the east window. One of the phone calls this week was from the Churchwarden who had found first the broken glass on the window ledge and then the abandoned beer cans and bent back protecting guard outside. She and the Treasurer are now beginning the tedious round of contacting the police, the insurer, the stained glass window specialist who has repaired the window in the past, and the Archdeacon. It is such a pity that this is what they have to spend their voluntary time doing.
Last year, the phone calls were quite regularly about damage to the south aisle roof at St Michael’s, Little Coates. These were the result of different attempts to lift the lead. We eventually had it all removed ourselves. The phone call this week was to say that a heritage advisory committee in the diocese has (on a second time of asking) agreed to sign off our application to put slates there instead, which will match the neighbouring roof. We had already worked our way through getting an engineer’s opinion, architect’s plans, English Heritage approval, the local authority’s Conservation Officer’s support, and then Planning Permission. Now all we have to do is apply for a formal church Faculty and shell out the £2000 or so this will cost us over and above what the insurer has paid. Who would have thought that the rise in world metal prices would put members of an ordinary congregation to so much trouble and expense?
Finally, a phone call also came in this week about our third church at St Nicolas’, Great Coates. Its churchyard gets over grown in May each year as the spring flowers are allowed to set seed. A community group then comes in and mows in June. Except this year at the very end of May its equipment has been damaged in an arson attack on the place in which it was stored so they told us in early June that they can’t come. We’ve put a notice up in the churchyard explaining this, volunteers have already cleared at least a third of the area, and a Churchwarden is trying to get a Working Party together to do some more. My caller had been to visit an over grown grave, had been ‘disgusted’, felt the ‘the church should do something’ and doubted we had ‘any respect for the dead’, and went on doing so even after I’d explained the situation. I'm sorry she was upset.