They’re back!

July 31st, 2009 David


sprocketsA team of scaffolders arrived at the church early this morning. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out what they were planning.

Bizarrely, they’ve been asked to move some of the top stone sprockets – the small pieces of shaped stone running along the spire edges – because they were wrongly positioned during the rebuild.

It sounds very odd to do this some months after removing all that expensive scaffolding, and I’m trying to find out some more information.

A lot of people – myself included – have commented that the sprockets don’t seem as evenly-spaced as they were originally. But I didn’t think anyone would suggest going up there and repositioning them.

They’re putting up ladders this morning to take a closer look. And next week they plan to errect some scafflding to complete the work. This will involve removing the sprockets and pinning in new ones.

It can’t be a cheap job so I wonder who’s going to take the blame – and expense – for putting it right!

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All finished!

April 22nd, 2009 David


finished!It’s 22 April 2009 and the final piece of scaffolding has just been taken away. The top part of the spire, damaged by the earthquake more than a year ago, has been completely rebuilt. And the chancel roof repaired.

I hope visitors to this site have enjoyed this on-line diary of the work. And that it will serve as a record for future generations. Thanks for dropping by! David.

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YouTube video: recording the great day!

February 25th, 2009 David


YouTube video part 3The day dawned cold and bright. A clear blue winter sky would provide wonderful views across the Leicestershire countryside from atop the newly rebuilt spire.

ITV local news were on hand to record the great event as the reguilded weather cock finally regained its perch, nearly one year from the fateful earthquake which cracked our church spire.

I’ve just posted a clip taken on the day on YouTube. It starts with the ITV news report, followed by my very shaky video taken from the top of the spire. (I had hoped to post the clip earlier, but pulled a muscle on the climb and have been trying to avoid sitting at a keyboard ever since!)

Bell-ringing captain, John Matthews, was given the task of placing the gleaming weather cock on its new spindle. Joining John and myself at the top were project architects, John Dodson and Silvester Cheung, local builder David Craddock, and Geof Armitage.

Click on the image on the right to view the video clip.

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See the weather cock regain its perch

January 8th, 2009 David


weather cockSunday 18th January is the great day when the reguilded weather cock finally regains its perch high above the village.

The renovation of the weather cock was sponsored by John Vale of Regent Garage and bell-ringing captain, John Matthews. Both Johns will help cement the vane in place on the day.

There will also be one final opportunity for the brave and hardy to climb to the top of the scaffolding and admire the wonderful views. Anyone interested is asked to pay a £50 donation to the cost of the new chancel roof. Phone Christine on 01664 464802 asap to reserve your place.

The day will start from 11am, with the church opening for refreshments from 12 until 1pm. The re-fixing of the weather cock is expected to take place at 12.30.

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YouTube video: Ringing in 2009

January 5th, 2009 David


YouTube video part 3It was an auspicious last day of 2008 as the bell-ringers made ready to ring in the New Year. The bell ringers had been first to discover the damage caused to the spire by the earthquake back in February. Some ten months after they were silenced, this was to be the first time all six bells would ring out over the village.

Our thanks to bell-ringing captain, John Matthews, his wife Christine, and other members of the team – Roy, Barry, Ken, Andrew and Mark – for allowing me to film the event. And to Richard for taking photographs as villagers met on the crossroads at the stroke of midnight.

Click on the image on the right to view the video clip.

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The bells will ring out on New Year’s Eve

December 24th, 2008 David


It was a great to hear the bells ringing briefly on Monday night – for the first time since the earthquake back in February. Bell-ringer Roy Rayson tells me it was a test to make sure they’re okay for a full peal on New Year’s Eve. Which is really good news.

It was the bell-ringers that first discovered the damage to the spire. A large block of masonry dislodged by the quake had smashed into the main wooden wheel. It was only this Monday that Roy and his friends were finally given the go-ahead to refit the repaired wheel and test the bells. Thankfully, all went well.

Roy says they will start ringing the six bells with muffles on at 20 past 11 on New Year’s Eve. At 10 to 12 they’ll take the muffles off. And at the stroke of midnight they will give them a series of full ‘all-out’ peals to celebrate the New Year.

He added that they’re expecting a strong team of bell-ringers for this very special occasion. It’s a long tradition that villagers and revellers from the two pubs join hands for a giant (and sometimes risky :o ) ‘ring-a-ring-a-roses’ on the cross-roads. It promises to be a real night to remember.

PS. BBC East Midlands has asked me to email any photos of the celebration for them to feature on local news. I’m no photographer, so if anyone can help with this, please get in touch.

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The builders reach the pinnacle

December 23rd, 2008 David


Getting thereToday is Wednesday 23rd December and the spire is virtually complete. The builders have been working flat-out for the last few weeks. It’s a great pity that the church won’t have shed its scaffolding in time for Christmas. But it’s been wonderful to see the work advance so quickly.

The builders tell me they’ll be back between Christmas and New Year to cement in the large stone ball at the pinnacle, and fix the weather cock back on its perch high over the village.

Click here to view slideshow 8.

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Poetic memories

November 17th, 2008 David


Church photoMany thanks to Tina for sharing both her evocative poem remembering the earthquake that damaged the church spire, and her photo montage.

Earthquake

Waking
from our peaceful slumber
by shaking wall
and trembling tiles,
quaking deep
within the ground,
unusual
in these placid isles.

Trapped in time
like flies in amber,
our thoughts
go ever circling round,
as life itself,
the yearly seasons,

yet still
we search
for hidden reasons.

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Past the half-way point

November 16th, 2008 David


Rebuilding the spireIt’s now mid November and father and son team, Richard and Matt, together with Robin, from Cedar Steeplejack, have passed the half-way stage of the rebuilding work.

These photos, taken by Richard on November 12th, show that the mid level openings have already been replaced. And they’re now well on the way to the upper openings in the spire.

It’s also interesting to see the amount of new stone-work they’ve had to use.

Click here to view slideshow 7.

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I’m taking cover!

November 12th, 2008 David


It seems I’ve upset some people by trying to explain why this little web project recording the repair of our earthquake-damaged church spire has ground to a halt. The reasons for the apparent discord between the church, the builders, the sub-contractors and the architects have nothing to do with me. And from my recent experience, I’d really like to keep it that way.

I’m not a church goer. My only interest is that I live opposite the church and love anything to do with local history. And since the church is our oldest building, and I build websites for a living, I thought it would be a good opportunity to combine a little work with a little pleasure.

Read the rest of this entry »

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