Well this month we’ve been in darkness, taken stuff down and put others up and welcomed new key members of staff - if you’d like to know more, read on.
On 18 November we had a total scheduled power cut to allow SSE to undertake essential maintenance, which also allowed us to do similar in that I and a few colleagues ventured the length and breadth of the Cathedral at roof level to check the emergency lights were all working. It also let us find out that the fire alarm panels were working, as they bleeped incessantly until the power was restored, so that was nice!
One after effect was that our clock that controls the bells lost time, so I went with the Dean’s Verger, Ant, to put it right. Without trying to be too technical, we used two different sized levers to stop the minutes and hours, then lifted stays out of cogs to allow the wheels to rotate, 10 revolutions later and we were back on track. There’s a picture of the mechanism in this month’s gallery.
The last of the floral displays post Magna Flora came down from the North Transept. The reasonably sized frameworks, as they seemed in the Cathedral, swamped our Works Yard until they were broken down into smaller elements to be re-used by our maintenance team. It’s so easy to overlook just how huge the building is until you’re “up close and personal” with something that has come out of it and struggle to see over the top of it.
Regular readers and anyone living locally will know we’ve been installing a new stone base for our Walking Madonna statue. We are really pleased with how it looks and by the time this blog is published she will have had lights installed into the stone too for the first time. If you were passing during the work you may well have seen us lining her up with the High Street Gate and making sure she accompanied anyone walking along the Broadwalk. I’ve put a picture in the gallery of my team who worked on the base with the statue back in situ.
My plumber, Brendan, had a really lovely job for a client who had brought in a lead bird bath, which had Pan sat playing his pipes on the edge of the shell-like base. The weight of the little chap (Pan, not Brendan), had bowed the dish of the bird bath and it had detached from its base. Brendan had the idea of just moving the bowl over on the base enough to adjust its pivot point and so the weight was more supported by the top of the base. He’s back on his way to Wales now and we hope he’ll be happy in his new home…I don’t know what we'll do now without our plumber.
As host of one of the modules for this year’s CWF (Cathedrals’ Workshops’ Fellowship) Foundation Degree course I will be venturing out in a minibus to take the students down to the quarry so they get to experience every aspect of stonemasonry including choosing the stones. I’ve never driven a minibus before, so that will be interesting, although whether for me or the students remains to be seen.
As you may have seen either on one of our social media channels or this main website, we have recently welcomed a new Canon Treasurer and Chapter Clerk. I was invited to process at the installation ceremony, which was part of a lovely evensong. By the time you see this both Robert and Jackie will have started in their new posts and I really look forward to working closely with both of them. A couple of Ash Mills’ photos from the event are in this month’s gallery.
Talking of social media, if you are on Facebook you may well have seen my Head Mason, Lee’s, graduation photograph on there from when he graduated from the University of Gloucester with a Foundation Degree in Stonemasonry. I was so proud of him and we both loved all the comments that his photo with his certificate attracted. Watch out for his next blog - he hopes to be able to publish at least one picture of him at the ceremony with his cap and gown.
We've also gone green! You will probably have seen the story about our spire turning green, my technician, Phil, went round each of the tower and spire floodlights and fitted the green gels, there's a picture in the gallery that shows one of the lights just after fitting, he's done a fantastic job.
So that was November, the temperature’s starting to drop just a fraction and the evenings are certainly darker, but the trees have been glorious this autumn and there is, of course, the excitement of December approaching and you know what that means, yes, sofa sales!
See you next month…