The Value of History – #MuseItUp #DaffodilAndTheThinPlace

St. Nicholas Church Bell Tower with Woodpecker Holes
St. Nicholas Church Bell Tower with Woodpecker Holes
Steam Tug the 'Brent' from 1945
Steam Tug the ‘Brent’ from 1945
Side of Steam Tug the 'Brent' from 1945
Side of Steam Tug the ‘Brent’ from 1945
St. Nicholas Church Bell Tower with Woodpecker Holes
St. Nicholas Church Bell Tower with Woodpecker Holes

I wasn’t going to mention the Scottish Referendum. I’m not qualified to discuss it. I’m not Scottish. And it seems to me it’s like trying to solve an extremely complicated mathematical equation, where the values are all unknown and you don’t know which mathematical signs to use, or where to put them. The only thing you know is what you want the answer to be.

But it occurred to me when I woke up this morning and realised today is Decision Day for Scotland that what I’d prepared to post on my blog today has some relevance to the question.

Looking at things simply from a historical perspective, we all know old things often rust and become full of holes, so is it better to just discard or destroy them or to lovingly repair and renew them?

Only the Scottish people can decide whether they want the historical links between them and the rest of the United Kingdom to be irrevocably broken or whether they think it’s worth renewing and strengthening them. My thoughts are with the Scots today.

And here’s what I’d originally planned to say. You’ll see why I think it has some relevance:

What do the church bell tower on the left and the steam tug on the right have in common?

On the face of it, not a lot except they are both old and both in need of a lot of TLC.

The bell tower belongs to St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton, Essex and the damage has been caused by woodpeckers. I’ve been told the birds are just attempting to get at the deathwatch beetles in the wood but for whatever reason they are making holes, it’s causing a lot of damage and allowing water into the 13th century building, causing further damage.

The steam tug on the right is the ‘Brent’, which was built in 1945 and is now moored in Maldon, Essex. The ‘Brent’ is the last surviving steam vessel of the Port of London Authority’s fleet and one of only three steam vessels left, of many which were once in use on the River Thames and in the London docks’ system. I found the following information on the website http://www.steamtugbrent.org/

“We want to bring Brent back to the London Docklands or Thames area and establish a permanent berth(s) for her so that she can be displayed in context for generations to come and be opened up for public view as a small floating museum of London’s steam tugs and Dockland history.  The Brent will be maintained, cared for and operated by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.”

And the final sentence gives another clue as to what the bell tower and the steam tug have in common – a team of enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to give their time and skills. In what some consider, to be a throw away culture, isn’t it wonderful that there are people who care enough about preserving our historical heritage?

Unfortunately, the renovation and upkeep of historical buildings, ships and other artifacts is time consuming and expensive. If you’d like to find out more about the work that needs to be done to restore the ‘Brent’ to its former glory or to make a donation, you can check out the website here. Fund raising is going on at St. Nicholas Church to replace the damaged wood with oak, which has the strength to resist those pesky woodpeckers’ beaks! But we are a long way from having enough to start this work. In the meantime, water enters the building causing more damage.

The ebook ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ is a fund raising effort to raise money for the renovation and upkeep of the bell tower. All profits from the ebook, which costs approximately £1.80, will go towards the bell tower. It can be purchased here on the Muse It Up Publishing website or from any major ebook seller. The story ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ is set in the church in both present times and the Victorian times, when the church housed a school. In the story, Daffodil slips back from the twenty-first century to the school. I wonder what someone who slipped forwards from the school to the present day would make of the damage? I wonder if they’d be scandalised at the state of the parish church? #MuseItUp #DaffodilAndTheThinPlace