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Clerk of the Works' Blog: June 2015

Puppet from the Magna Carta procession
Posted By : Gary Price Tuesday 16th June 2015

As you can see from this month’s main picture, I’m having a bad hair day!

 

This puppet Baron formed part of the evening events of the 15th of June when we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta with an Open Day, which finished with a procession through the city and ended at the Cathedral, where we had music and a pyrotechnic display. 18 of the barons and some banners from the pageant will be on display in the Cloisters and entrance marquee, there's a picture in this month's gallery of two of them here in the Works Yard before they were fixed, along with another picture of some of the 750 aprons we had drying after they were dyed for the children participating in Magna Cantata.

 

There was a trip to Runnymede near Windsor on that day too as it was the site of the sealing of the document. Only nine staff were drawn to attend and my carpenter, Richard, was lucky enough to be one of them. He says was an extremely good visit including fly-pasts from old planes and even the Red Arrows

 

The anniversary celebrations are continuing on until the end of the year so do keep an eye out for anything you would like to come along to if you live close enough. If you’re from farther afield there will be updates on our social media channels and I’ll be featuring snippets in my blogs.

 

Something else you can get involved in if you’re local to us is the 'Have a Go' stone carving courses, there are only a couple of places left on the 30th/31st July course, but there are a few more on the 2nd/3rd and 9th/10th July courses and some on the 6th/7th August one. Courses are held here in the Works Yard and include a workshop tour to start with and an optional tower tour at the end of the second day. Follow this link to book your place(s) online.

 

In case you’re wondering why the courses aren’t all in July, we have left a gap for the Festival of Archaeology that is scheduled for the 18th/19th of July when there will be an opportunity for visitors to have a short go at some stone carving on our stall. Professor Alice Roberts will be coming along again, you may remember she and I had our photo taken at the opening event of the Museum’s Wessex Gallery and I think this time she’s probably after an autograph, either that or she’s going to be one of the guest speakers at the event.

 

Some slightly heavier duty stone carving has been going on in our workshops and my masons were recently involved in a topping out ceremony for Major Repair Area 3, which is the high level of the south east section of the Cathedral. There are pictures (courtesy of Ash Mills) in the gallery of the team and the final stone of that area being lowered into place. We were joined for the ceremony by a number of sponsors so it was great to be able to show them our funded work close up. As they made their way back down the scaffold they had the opportunity to talk with my team and they asked some fantastic questions, I hope they all enjoyed it as much as we all did; it was a lovely afternoon that gave us a chance to give a bit back. After the ceremony we were invited for tea and cake with our Canon Treasurer (soon to be Bishop of Crediton), which of course we couldn't possibly refuse and enjoying the summer sunshine in her garden rounded it off beautifully.

 

For those of you who have been glued to your screens, waiting until I was able to reveal the awards we were making for the South Wilts Business of the Year Awards you can now relax as the ceremony was on the 25th of June. Hearty congratulations to all the winners and in case you weren't one of them, pop along to the gallery to see a picture of the little spirelings waiting in the Works Yard, looking up at their inspiration and one of one award as almost the finished article in the maintenance workshop. There's also a picture of me helping with the sound check; no, really, that's what I'm doing, I'm helping.

 

By the time you read this our chicks will be flying! It seems to go so quickly and much less than the 42 days it actually is from hatching to fledging. Our regular contact, Phil Sheldrake, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) also came in as part of our Magna Carta celebrations, not least due to birds of prey’s historical use for sport so they would definitely have been around 800 years ago, but also as we had so many visitors, many of whom are very interested in the birds. There's a recent picture in the gallery that accompanies this month's blog.

 

On the subject of flying, you may remember me telling you about our lovely video of aerial footage combined with Insomnia's version of Feeling Good and the hopes it could go viral, well it's been very successful so far and has had over 3,000 views in its first three weeks of being live on You Tube, if you haven't seen it yet do follow this link and if you like it it would be lovely to read some feedback in the comments, or just click on the "Like" button.

 

Our seeds in the garden are now coming on really well and the excellent “Grow Wild” website, who were the people behind the seeds from Country File, is very informative and I now know some of the types of flowers we can expect to see, which are common knapweed, field scabious, corn chamomile and red campion, there are also a few self-seeded hollyhocks amongst others. Again, check out the gallery for a close-up.

 

In mid-June I was lucky enough to be one of the first customers of our new Bell Tower Tea Rooms, all I can say is that if you have the chance to visit, grab it with both hands; the refreshments are delicious, tea rooms themselves make lovely surroundings and to be able to sit with such an unspoilt, panoramic view of the Cathedral is an absolute delight. I was able to spot many of the stones I had worked on during the phase of our MRP that took in the north transept, which also seems very recent.

 

What with all this talk of time going quickly I must be getting old so I’m just off for a bit of a lie down before my next blog…