Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Thursday, April 30, 2020

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Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise. It’s Thursday 30th April and this is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast.

In yesterday’s podcast I talked about the risks we still face from the virus. Infection levels might be falling, but as one family has found, we are all still at risk whenever we leave the Village.

Unfortunately this family now has their second case in the household. They were one of our earliest households affected, just after lock down started. Back in March, one of their two children developed a fever and a dry cough, the classic symptoms. The family went into isolation for 14 days to ensure that all risks would pass. No others in the household caught it and they came out of isolation in mid April, all feeling well. They are a responsible model family who have stuck carefully to every rule and piece of guidance throughout the whole lockdown. Since school broke up the Children have not even left the Village, except for one medical appointment in hospital last. Only one of the parents and one of the children went to hospital and they stuck to all the rules there, being ultra careful. No one wants the virus a second time.

You can imagine their dismay over the weekend when their second child developed the same symptoms in spite of all the precautions they have taken. So now they are back in isolation for at least another 14 days. They weren’t in the hospital long but obviously came into close contact with the staff. It is entirely possible that the infection happened then.

This underlines the danger we are still all in. That virus is definitely out there, ready to infect. Some of the German states have started to lift their lock down and have seen an immediate increase in infection rates. Don’t be surprised if the Government is very cautious indeed.

So my morning didn’t start well at all. However, things got much better when Melvyn Wooding called me during my morning beer break. Yes you heard correctly I like a nice cold beer at around 11:15am after a couple of hours cutting the verges. I get up at 5am and so I figure that waiting over 6 hours for the first beer shows at least some self restraint.

Anyway Melvyn had some more stories about Canon Roger Davison which was just what the doctor ordered. However, first I needed to talk daffodils. They look lovely when in full bloom but quickly become unsightly as they go to seed and die off. There is a big debate each year about when to chop them down. Some residents get impatient and cut them down in mid-April. I generally leave them until the last cut in May, but then I get complaints that I have left them too long. And to complicate it all, we have different varieties in the Village that flower and die at different times. I needed advice from Melvyn as he was responsible donating the bulbs and planting up the Higham Road and Caldecott Road and the bends into Caldecott. You can recognise his planting by the concentrated clumps and swathes of colour. My planting always looks pathetic by comparison as I used a post borer and dropped one bulb in each hole spaced out as it said on the box. Anyway he will be letting me know when he thinks the time is right for chopping them down.

So back to the stories about Roger Davison. I am sure you’ve gathered that he was a law unto himself. That might be the case, but he had been given a huge challenge to try to save the Church. Brenda has sent me an article entitled “A rural Cinderella” which I’ll add a link to in the Daily Newsletter. St Johns was in a terrible state and needed drastic action to save it. Roger took that action.

We know that Michael Foulger worked with Roger on the pews. And I mentioned a couple of days ago that Melvyn helped on Churchyard maintenance. Before Melvyn joined in, Roger used to do at least of half of the grass cutting himself. It was a very hard job. The graves were too close together for the new mower to fit between them and many of the graves had footstones and often side stones.

Both of these are now not permitted in a Churchyard. But in those days Roger was forever hitting these with the mower. The job was impossible. Now I already knew that Roger had moved some footstones, but I had no idea that he had removed so many of the side stones. In fact he even removed some of the headstones that were very old and in the way. Gradually the Churchyard was restored but the pile of discarded memorial stones was growing. Now when I tried tidying up graves last year I got into lots of trouble. Roger got away with it. But then again he had God on his side. I’m not ordained and I certainly don’t own the Church.

When Melvyn joined, Roger offered some of this pile of memorial stonework for Melvyn’s rockery in his cottage. As you can imagine Melvyn was reluctant to accept. You could still read some of the names on bits of the stonework. It felt rather ghoulish to be robbing graves!

I have often wondered why there are headstones, and footstones behind trees or stacked against the walls of the Churchyard. Now I know.

With the congregation down to 6 people, Roger had the challenge of engaging with the Village. He did this in two ways.

On Mothering Sunday he took a bunch of snowdrops to all the mothers he knew about. They loved him and word got round so that the next year his round was even bigger.

Then he decided to act like a Village Bobby and on one day each week, he would pound the beat, chatting to everyone he met and knocking on doors to see if anyone was in for a chat. Of course he was always open to any hospitality on offer. It would have been rude to refuse. I am pretty sure there must be a bible story about offering a traveller sustenance.

Melvyn remembers him calling round one afternoon. Rosemary offered Roger a cup of tea, but he looked outside and commented that it was perhaps a little warm for tea. “Perhaps a cold drink then?” she said “Oh yes please”. Knowing he was fond of a tipple Melvyn offered Roger a sherry. “Perhaps something stronger” said Roger. So there in the middle of the afternoon sat Roger and Melvyn drinking Scotch! How times change.

But of course the Church was eventually saved from closure, which is great news. And how was it achieved? Well clearly by ripping out pews, taking up gravestones, delivering flowers and drinking whisky in the middle of the afternoon. Now that is an interesting style of ministry!

So Michelle, how does that sound as a plan? I know you are partial to a glass Prosecco, so should we all have a bottle on ice just in case you drop by? I know that you’ve just done an interview for the Evening Standard on ministry in these challenging times. Can you imagine the headlines if Roger had given the interview . . .

Thank you