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Clerk of Works' Blog: April 2016

Gary skydives
Posted By : Gary Price Wednesday 27th April 2016

You may remember that I said in February that I wouldn’t be able to blog in March due to holidays, well here we are now getting on for the end of April and it really doesn’t seem like two months. I know the evenings are drawing out and there are new leaves everywhere but I’m sure it’s only been about a week since I last blogged, but then they say time flies when you’re enjoying yourself and there’s certainly been a lot to enjoy in that time; settle in and I’ll begin.

 

Talking of flying, I did a sponsored sky dive on the 17th of April in aid of the Trussell Trust along with 20 other fundraisers; I would recommend it to anyone and wow, what an experience! I now know why the birds sing. I’ve put pictures in the gallery and there’s some video footage too.

 

Also on the theme of flying, although with rather less effort than having to get in a plane, our peregrines came back and have laid four eggs. Phil, my technician and Paul, my colleague in IT, have worked tirelessly to get the coverage piped down into the cloisters from the nest up at the base of the spire  and, very excitingly, this year pictures are in HD with a very noticeable difference from last year’s. Our friends at the RSPB will again be coming in for the ringing once the chicks are old enough - they should hatch in about three weeks.  

 

If you live locally and visit the Close you may have spotted that, thanks to a very generous donor, we have a number of new benches, 30 to be exact. Over the years they become worn with use and end up beyond economical repair, our donor allowed us to get the number back up to full strength and beyond so we now have seats around Chorister’s Green so that visitors get a good first impression and can use them for picnics, or when there are events on the Green.

 

You may have seen news, or even experienced in real life, our latest exhibition featuring sculptures by Sophie Ryder making up her 'Relationships' exhibition. It features hares, minotaurs, horses, dogs and hands. The exhibition hit the headlines when we had to move one set of giant hands from over a pathway as people were walking into them while looking at their phones, the same hands then blew over during storm Katie, sadly damaging them and so they were removed in early April to be replaced by 'Sleeping Feet'.

 

I worked with Adam Cheeseman, a local electrician from Eco Heat Wilts to install lights right up inside the spire, so now visitors can not only get a better view of the timbers inside at closer quarters, but get an idea of just how much farther up the whole building goes above them. I hope Adam doesn’t mind me saying he was a bit apprehensive at times, a beam that anyone would walk confidently over on the ground suddenly seems to becomes razor thin at height despite being safely attached with a harness, but he did himself proud and still got on with the job. The finished result is fantastic, I’ve put a picture of the effect you can now get in the gallery of when the lower lights are on next to how it used to look and our donor for the project, Robert Stiby, who is also a Cathedral guide was also pleased with it saying "So after nearly seven hundred years we can at last appreciate the full scale and the intricate structure of the spire; truly one of the wonders of the medieval world". If you would like to see it in its full effect and for real do book onto a Tower Tour.

 

We were all invited to the Cathedral Friends 'house warming' party when they moved offices from 52 to 33a, which is next to our new Bell Tower Tea Rooms; what a lovely idea and our Dean blessed the building too. The Friends are a great bunch of people who are always very generous to us, in fact we would be a lot further behind in MRP if not for their generosity, if you would like to join, or find out more about them their page on the site is here.

 

We have set the dates for this year’s “Have a Go” two-day stone carving courses, more details here including a link to book tickets if you would like to. The August dates are now fully booked, but it would be lovely if some of my blog readers could come along, do make yourselves known if you do!

 

So there you have it, two months’ worth of ‘stuff’ in one go, it’s all rather mind boggling when it’s in one place like that as I tend to deal with it as it arises at the time and then have to go on to the next thing so to look back over it is rather nice, a bit like when you get your P60 – surely I can’t have had all that, where did it go?!