Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Delays and delays

I just had a phone call from my sister June, on her land line - finally working again, sixteen days after it went dead, following letters and phone calls from me, and more significantly from cousin Di, a TV journalist! Somewhat bemused, June said that her first call had been from a BT engineer, stating, though not apologising, or offering any explanation, that her line had been switched off. Presumably this was during the first few hours of down-time, when the automatic voice recording announced that there was a problem at the exchange. So, it was not as simple a matter as TalkTalk's customer interface being unable to cope with the needs of a non-mobile phone owning customer with hearing problems, BT was also in on the act, for reasons unexplained.

It was great to hear the relief in June's voice, at getting her ordinary phone back. Her acute hearing sensitivity means that the output of the mobile phone I bought her last Friday makes it painful to use. Like the Queen, I told her, you only have to use it to call out in an emergency. Otherwise, don't give anyone else your number. Thank heavens that's over for the time being. I can stop worrying now.

St John's churchyard is looking a lot less unmanageable this afternoon. Two mornings running, pouring rain notwithstanding, a crew of tree surgeons have removed a eucalyptus tree which hung over the main path in a threatening way, cut own a self seeded ash, cut back huge bushes, and thinned out foliage on remaining trees. It's possible to see in and out of all areas for the first time in years. It's lighter, and looks cleaner. The grass gets mowed regularly, but it's now much more evident with the bushes and trees all neat. It's taken ages to arrange to get this done as our trees are subject to Council protection orders and cannot be touched without prior agreement with the Tree Preservation Officer.

Finding out the right person and getting him to make an inspection visit took a while. Philip was marvellously diligent in finding out the right person, and making all the contacts. The TPO wouldn't let us take down a tree we were most concerned about because its roots were pushing up the paving, although he did agree to allowing the roots to be cut back and the insertion of a barrier to prevent them spreading under the path again, as part of his overall recommendations to manage the trees. It's cost a fair sum of money to do the job, but it all adds to the 'uplift' of the church in the midst of the centre's only green space. All that's needed now is to get that path re-paved. And we're having problems sourcing the exact kind of stone which the diocesan advisory committee specified as a condition of giving a faculty.

The PCC resolved to renew the paving and prune the trees three years and two months ago, as its precarious state was giving rise to Health and Safety concerns. We were obliged to take up a few paving slabs for the Tree Protection man to inspect roots, and in doing so made a effort to level them up temporarily until the full job could be be done. But with all the delays, I wonder if it will be complete before I retire?

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