Since my last blog work has continued around our house guests and we now have a live video feed in the Cloisters of the peregrines’ nest with a link due to go on our website any day now, so it may well be live by the time you read this. My technician, Phil, has worked tirelessly on the system since moving the screen to make way for part of our Magna Carta display, ably assisted by our IT colleague, Paul – it may all appear to happen by magic, but for this, they are the magicians. The web updates will come from Granville Pictor who works in conjunction with the RSPB and was heavily involved last year; if you wanted to make a note for your diary ringing the chicks is booked for the 26 May and will again be undertaken by Ed Drewitt.
If anyone has been waiting for news of the next “Have a Go” two-day stone carving courses that also include a tower tour and workshop tour, I can now tell you that we have arranged them for 2-3 July, 9-10 July, 30-31 July and 6-7 August. I know some people were disappointed last year as the places went so quickly, so hopefully you will be lucky this time, tickets are only available via our website. My team and I look forward to meeting you - if you find you enjoy it and would like to carry on at home there will be small sets of chisels and off-cuts of stone available to buy.
My encounters with celebrity this time have been varied between radio, television and in person. I attended a 'Meet the Buyer' event at the Guildhall with our Floor Manager, Mark Bonner and was fortunate to meet Jo Broom who is currently the 754th Right Worshipful Mayor of Salisbury, her time in office is drawing to a close and she will hand the chain over to her current deputy in mid-May. If only I had known she was going to be there, I could have worn my chain too for a serious “chain-off”, although she definitely would have won on size.
My television encounter was with Roger Finn of South Today when he interviewed me about the peregrines and the radio was Wiltshire Sound, who interviewed me twice, once about the peregrines and then about the High Street Gate closures.
If you live locally you may have heard that Wiltshire Sound interview or seen/heard news of, if not been effected by, the recent and forthcoming closure of the High Street Gate. The story behind that was that a survey of the Gate was carried out by the Close Surveyor, which identified some repair work was required to the parapet wall as a precautionary measure. My team installed new stainless steel dowels to strengthen the wall and re-fixed a number of stones using traditional methods, whilst there we also carried out some cosmetic repairs to the archway.
Talking of the media, keep your eye on on the spire after dark on 26 May when we go pink in support of Cancer Research UK's Race for Life that will be held on 12 July, starting and finishing at Hudson's Field. It's a great cause and you don't have to run the 5k, as it says on their web page you can walk or even dance round it - why not?!
We had mixed feelings within the team this month when Stonemason Simon Montebello left us after seven years. He has taken an opportunity far too good to be missed in Sussex that we were pleased came up for him, but he will be sorely missed; there aren’t many people that would buy their work colleagues a present when they leave, but Simon got each of us really thoughtful gifts. I’ve put a picture in the gallery of him holding the present we made for him; he is a very keen golfer and the carving on the ball is his banker mark.
Last month I signed off by mentioning we were waiting to see if we were going to get the wildflower seeds from the BBC’s Countryfile website and I’m delighted to say we did! There are pictures in the gallery that goes with this blog of the “garden” as it is now and how it has looked just a few years ago, hopefully we can get it somewhere in between again. Let’s hope the pigeons don’t scoff all the seeds before they germinate – where are those peregrines when you need them….