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Posts Tagged ‘ceiling’

Our plaster disaster is taking a while to sort out. I think we’re at 5 weeks meeting in the church hall on Sundays now. The builders have been busy removing great chunks of plaster and replacing it, and have been putting protective epoxy on some of the woodwork (I think, I wasn’t taking in the detail very well). They’ve had a lot to do – it all needs painting to match the existing decoration too. A much loved saint from our congregation went on to glory a couple of weeks ago and it would be lovely if the church could be ready for her funeral next week. I spoke to the builders as they finished yesterday and I think we’re going to be on track for finishing in time.

In the meantime, there is an enormous scaffolding structure occupying the whole of the front of the church. Our building is a great space, and pretty flexible as Victorian churches go. But getting scaffolding and builders sorted out is a lot more complicated than when there’s a bit of plaster coming down in the bathroom at home. Various brilliant members of the church have been involved in finding, contacting and appointing the contractor and organising diocesan architects and what not. The Vicar has had a hand on it all – including a trip to the top of the scaffolding. And I’ve been letting the contractors in and out for the last few days. There’s been a fair few people involved.

Next week could be a bit tight and is sure to require all hands on deck with the mops and dusters once the workers have left. We love our building, but it can be quite a lot of work. The photos are pretty rubbish, I’m afraid – but you can get an idea of the scaffolding size at least. The work is going on at the junction between the main roof (painted a shade of orange) and the wall between the nave and the chancel (a version of magnolia). Damp and ants were our problems. Hopefully the epoxy should stop the damp and the lack of damp will discourage the ants and we’ll not have anything more fall from the heights for a few years. I’m staying optimistic on this.

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The Vicar planned to take a couple of days off this half term to hang out with the family. Today however, he has been talking to insurance people and building people about a little incident in church on Sunday. In the morning the early birds arrived to a bit of plaster dust on the floor of the chancel. We’d had a problem with ants in the roof last year, so we assumed it was the same thing, and the area where the plaster had landed was taped off. It seemed appropriate timing, since the Vicar and our PCC Health and Safety rep had only just attended a Health and Safety training event on Saturday.

Our Sunday services (10.30am & 6.30pm for us, 12.30am for the other church that shares our building, plus our 4.30pm SOUL course) all went along without a hitch. Then, as the final folk were milling around at the end of the evening service and the organist was playing a closing voluntary, there was a massive BANG. And plaster showered down over the chancel and into the nave. A huge chunk had broken off the decorative plasterwork in the ceiling and it dropped down, breaking into pieces and damaging lights and a microphone in its descent.

We are very thankful that the plaster disaster happened after everything had finished. If it had exploded when communion was happening on Sunday morning, there could easily have been injuries. As it is, the Vicar’s holiday has been a little disrupted, and there’s a bit of work ahead to sort out (and pay for) but otherwise we’re fine. Things falling off our church, inside and out, happens almost annually. We love our old building, but sometimes it gives us a bit of a fright. Who’d have thought they only made the plasterwork to last 173 years, eh?

The hazards of Victorian plasterwork

The hazards of Victorian plasterwork

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Today the diocese sent some chaps round. Don’t worry, they’ve not discovered that I mistook the liturgical season for Christmas instead of Epiphany. We’re keeping that one quiet. The chaps came round after we reported the repeated leaks in our living room ceiling. They’ve known about them for ages actually. And sent chaps round before. The chaps sealed the window in the living room a few times. And then they sealed our bedroom window sill a few times too. And then we’ve had more weather (strong winds and heavy rain do it best) and the leaks have continued and the Vicar has worked out the path the water has been taking (under our bedroom window sill, down the inside of the wooden panelling above our window and then into the panel above the window in the living room).

The panelless living room ceiling

The panelless living room ceiling

The Vicar’s latest email to the diocese mentioning possible damp and rot elicited a rapid response team who arrived today. And they had to take the panelling down in the living room. It was rotten. And there are some patches of rot in the oak lintel above but they can be treated. And the window sill above is now covered in felt. They’re going to reinstate everything when the promised double glazing arrives next month and things have dried out.

And this evening the Vicar had to head to the church basement, where the boilers live. There, appropriately dressed in wellies and rubber gloves, he discovered that the sump pump intake was blocked with leaves and other debris. A trugful of slimy gunk later, he was able to start the pump again and hopefully tomorrow the basement will be free of water.

These have been minor irritations compared to what others have suffered in this recent damp spell, but I’ll be glad when the weather perks up a bit, I must say.

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It has been a crazy day in the Vicarage. The lads upstairs have made some impressive progress on the attic. The Queen had a friend come over. A lovely friend came over to help me with the Passover meal and we made a selection of eclectic purchases at Morrisons. (Matzohs, strawberries, creme fraiche, spring greens, plain yoghurt etc – all in bulk). Our old MT from Wolverhampton days, Gambit, was here on a visit. The Vicar had a wedding rehearsal. Oh, and the Vicar and I had a lovely evening out at a comedy club, The Laughing Sole, that has just launched at The Public. A local monthly laugh night – we’re very pleased.

Anyway, here’s some pics of the upstairs at the end of today. It’s looking quite neat and organised, I think.

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