Mon 08 June 2015
Friends sometimes ask us what goes on at Sheldon when there is nothing on the programme. Well, there are always guests on private retreat, sometimes there are self-catering groups, and usually we are making the most of windows of opportunity to get noisy, messy or intrusive jobs done.
On July 22nd Mary's Lodge will come out of circulation as guest accommodation and be emptied and prepared to welcome Andrew and Rhian to their new home the following week. We discovered the front door had developed dry rot so that was replaced on Friday. With all our previous construction firms out of action now that involved finding and hiring a new carpenter - Robbie will be back this Thursday for a "door clinic" to adjust about a dozen doors around the site that are sticking or not latching or locking easily.
Two weeks ago Simon hired a mini digger and dug a trench from the Woodshed to Mary's Lodge so that we could run in a CAT5 cable and put a wifi access point in there. We snapped a picture of Simon introducing his young son Jackson to the joys of diggers in his tea break. After 20 years of digging most trenches by hand around Sheldon we were delighted to get the job done in a more civilised way this time.On Monday the team from QES ran the cabling from the housekeeping office in the South Wing, through the Farmhouse and Woodshed roof spaces, under the new ducting and into Mary's Lodge. Our IT provider Gary Stent at Let's Face IT will then get the new access point linked into our system.
Meanwhile Jan and the housekeeping team have made lists of all the furniture to come out of Mary's Lodge and where each item will be rehomed in other accommodation. When this involves a 3 or 4 point furniture rotation.we need to combine changeover days with no-one in residence in the relevant units plus the carrying capacity to get everything moved. Most of that is lined up for next Friday, but we already have a large pile of "stuff from the loft" assembled in the Conservatory that now needs sorting, re-homing or disposing.
Since we made the final 3 bedrooms in the Pound House into en-suite rooms 3 years ago, one of the rooms has had persistent problems with airlocks making the hot water flow intermittent. We've finally bitten the bullet on that and our heating engineers Sprague & Ouseley are on site this week doing a complete re-plumbing of the hot water in the Pound House roof space to solve the problem once and for all. Luckily for them the weather is a little cooler than last week!
All the preparations are in full swing for the six open air theatre concerts starting next Friday. There are 1,500 tickets already sold and we're ordering the food and drink supplies for the burger bar, rostering all the volunteers for carparking, front of house, box office, technical box, toilet cleaning etc. With several key volunteers having to withdraw for reasons of personal and/or family health this year we have been recruiting extra people to make sure we have enough cover to keep everyone safe and happy.
Meanwhile guests on private retreat continue to have their Lodges, Pig Pens or Hen Runs beautifully prepared by the housekeeping team and their larders stocked. We massage weary bodies and listen to tough struggles with vocation, faith, bereavement, caring, health, fatigue studying, depression, anxiety, transition and more, using our skills and experience to help people take a step forward on the road to recovery. The admin team are keeping pace with bookings, theatre enquiries, accounts and other behind the scenes work like insurance renewal and re-ordering of the back office above reception.
We're really looking forward to some time to celebrate with Friends when our patron Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, joins us on 31st July for the Community Rededication, and presides at the Annual Eucharist on 1st August. We'll be having a bit of fun afterwards with the story of the Farmhouse and Bishop Richard will bless it for its new Community use. Don't want to give the game away, but let's just say there will be some surprising histories and a treat for the ears thrown in!