Thursday, 23 September 2010

Help or bureaucracy?

I've been pondering about developing some simple guidelines to making things happen – prompted by the need to run fundraising events at Church efficiently. I had in mind a checklist of activities or a skeleton plan for running an event. However, I was concerned that this may be interpreted as overkill rather than a help. This conflict was highlighted by two consecutive items on Today today. [I'm sorry about my R4 addiction!] The first was about how the police are spending less time on the streets because of bureaucratic form-filling. The second was about the accommodation for the Commonwealth Games and how the Indian contractors have completely ignored any good practices and so roofs fall in and bridges collapse. You can listen to the two clips here and here.

Surely the sensible position is somewhere between these two extremes. Is it a cultural problem that workers in the public sector focus on the process rather than the results? 'Health and Safety' gets a lot of bad press but, as an example, the death rate amongst construction workers has reduced significantly as a result of safer working conditions – 21% fewer deaths in the year ending 31 March 2010 than the previous year. Should we be complacent about 151 deaths? Are the public sector workers too caught up with the politicians who regularly talk in evasive language. When they say 'we must learn the lessons' from a less than successful project, do they say what the lessons are? Have you ever heard what these lessons are? They talk of 'outcomes' – which can be interpreted as anything and probably will be when they are challenged in the future.

So I'll attempt to produce a simple one-page pro-forma for a plan to make things happen and try it out.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Southampton Boat Show

We went to the Southampton boat show yesterday. It was a beautiful day for wandering round the show which is on the waterfront and includes lots of boats afloat. There wasn't much evidence of the recession with vast FGPs and big expensive sailing boats. However we heard that Sunseeker had been rescued and that Broom had ceased building boats.

We were looking at the other extreme! We were amused by this Starfish children's dinghy – only 5 feet in length. Perhaps for the grandchildren in a while.

We were looking for a replacement for our old dinghy which had gone missing – probably children playing on the jetty. I'd spotted a likely candidate – actually made by the same company as the Starfish – but when we saw it we realised it would be much too heavy to manhandle on the jetty. We then spotted the Walker Bay. This was light to handle, looked like a real boat and had the bonus of having a simple sail so we could potter in the evenings and perhaps introduce the grandchildren to sailing.

When we arrived at home. Little Hampden was looking it's usual beautiful self – with the leaves just turning.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Clerestory windows

David Sear sent me some pictures of the glass from the windows and the stonework. He says:  here you will see the poor repairs that at some time past have been carried out on the clerestory glazing, also a close up of the masonry works carried out to the easternmost window of the north side

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

So those tadpoles did survive!

This little chap met me on the doorstep when I arrived home from the PCC tonight

Monday, 13 September 2010

Work continues on the clerestory windows

Sunday services and cream teas were business as usual in spite of scaffolding in the Church – well nearly!  The volunteer cleaning team did a fantastic job on Saturday so that the licensing of our new Curate and the renewal of marriage vows (after 60 years) went ahead.

The glazing contractors arrived today and started removing the windows. I hope to have some pictures of the windows themselves in a day or so.

David Sear of the Lincolnshire Stained Glass Studios has a transparent business card – rather appropriate!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Scaffolding arrives!

Work has already started on repairing the clerestory windows at St Peter & St Paul but today when we were having our first site meeting, the scaffolding was being put up in the nave. The stonemasons have started repairing the stonework around the outside of the windows. The scaffolding inside the Church, which will be a complete platform below the clerestory, it primarily to allow the window contractors to remove all the windows – this they plan to start on Monday. The windows will be taken to the workshops and re-leaded.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Autumn at Little Hampden

A quick walk round the village yesterday. Don still harvesting after a few wet weeks. Blackberries ripe and some of the trees just turning. We'll be lighting fires soon! I also found an enormous puff ball – must have been a foot across (300mm) Soon after spotting this, I met Mark with his knife. He was going to cut off some of this fungus and have it for supper. I offered to pop in later to check that he wasn't in a coma but Mark confidently declined.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Zone Plus - pictures

Another great day!