We had our Quinquennial last Wednesday. Oh the joys of being Anglican and living in the world of archdeacons, Septuagesima and antidisestablishmentarianism. But thankfully a Quinquennial is not as complex as any of these: is just a five year anniversary. And it’s the shorthand for a five yearly inspection of church property. In this case it was of the Vicarage. It’s the diocese’s way of ensuring that essential maintenance is done on crumbling Vicarages at regular intervals.
So we had a visit from our excellent diocesan architect and he went round making a note of the broken door handles and peeling external paint. He gave us the good news of the four year double glazing programme to which have now been added. Meaning that we should get double glazing in about a year’s time. So we’ve another year of pretty iced window photos to come. And he admired our wood burning stoves and wrote a long list of works. These then have to be quoted against, go up to a diocesan committee and then get commissioned. My vicar’s wife friend, Snap, who lives in a different diocese, says her work, already identified, won’t be started on until September. The joys of ministry. But at least it’s in the pipeline.
As the architect left, a surveyor for the insulation company commissioned by WarmZone arrived. He went round our cold bits and has promised loft and cavity wall insulation before Easter. So although we’ll not have the double glazing, we should be properly insulated next winter. After our visit from Seema the other week, we were under the impression that we’d get this work done for a bargain £49.
But it seems things are turning out even better for us – npower are now funding the project completely for all payers of council tax in Sandwell. So if you live near me you can get this help for nothing. Gratis. Wonderful.
But not if you’re my friend Tink. She applied for help from WarmZone, but her private landlord has declined to have anything done. She tells me that although they offered the loft and cavity wall insulation for free, because they declined to provide a free boiler as well, her landlord decided not to have any work at all.
In the meantime, Tink continues to pay higher bills for energy than all her neighbours, living in council owned property in the same terrace. And there’s nothing she can do about it apart from continue to bid for a council house, just as she’s been doing for the last two years. Sometimes I have reason to be thankful for the Church of England.