Monday, 16 February 2009

Pigeon muck

Ministry here is not so much characterised by washing the feet of the poor (which our monarchs used to do on Maundy Thursday), or of cleaning the sores of lepers (which was St Hugh’s speciality), or of a litter sweep in the community (which we did include in our Lent activities last year), but shifting pigeon muck off the roof of St Michael’s. It isn’t usually me, and I’m grateful to those who pay regular attention to the valley gutter which runs a lot of the length of the church, but even I had to get my hands dirty on Saturday.

‘We have water coming down the north turret,’ the Churchwardens told me. This isn’t somewhere we’ve had it before, and it did seem my turn to do something. So I levered my way up through the small hatch at the top of the narrow spiral staircase to find that the roof of the turret was like an open lead tank full of water and much else. I assumed there must be a drain somewhere so, after they had passed up some rubber gloves (you will have realised that ‘I had to get my hands dirty’ was symbolic statement rather than a literal one), felt around until I found it.

One advantage of beginning to carry a camera in my pocket was I was able to taken a number of shots to show them where the water appeared to have risen above a join in the lead (from which point it was probably making its way in - at least we hope that is the explanation because if not we have a problem somewhere else). The picture here is of the offending small drain (once clear and swilled through) and will be of significance to nobody but myself, but then this is my blog.

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