Wensum, April 4, 2017
This lump of stone then cascaded down on to the north aisle roof, breaking slates and also some internal timbers over the Trinity Room.
The accident happened on a Thursday afternoon which was fortunate as the church itself had emptied after being crowded with market day shoppers in the morning.
Within 24 hours of the incident both the church architect and insurance assessors were on the spot to view the damage from both the inside and the top of the tower.
And within a couple of days, temporary repairs to the roof ensured the building was watertight. All of which seemed like impressive speed to me.
One of the more amazing sights on the following market day was to see and hear steeplejacks hauling scaffold poles and other items up the outside wall of the tower which is around 110ft in height.
I had wondered how the whole operation might work and it wasn’t for the faint-hearted.
Over the next few days a series of platforms took shape around each of the four corners of the tower in advance of inspecting all the pinnacles.
No actual repairs can take place until official permission is received from the Norwich Diocese as the church is a Grade 1 listed building.
Meantime, normal church and community business has been resumed virtually without interruption.
The numerous activities which feature inside St Peter and St Paul’s day by day have all been able to take place.
And with Easter on the immediate horizon, everyone associated with this important time of the year has breathed a sigh of relief.
Apart from the loss of car parking space at the foot of the tower, about the only thing missing so far has been the sound of the bells which look set to remain silent for some weeks to come.
My last Christmas present to our three sons was to give them copies of an account I had written of my overland trip to Australia when I was aged just twenty.
This adventurous period of my life when a rucksack accompanied me right round the world extended for rather more than the next decade until I finally ‘settled down’ on home ground.
My writing got me into thinking again about those youthful experiences as I now increasingly take pleasure in much more gentle pursuits.
To my surprise the two extremes seemed to go together rather well. Perhaps, after all, I had fulfilled my wanderlust at the right time.
Anyway, the thoughts led me on to really value the enjoyments I’ve discovered whilst living in this neck of the woods.
I’ll not bore you by going through them one by one as I know that many have cropped up in this space down the years. Suffice to say that for all its so-called ordinariness, a quality I especially appreciate, Fakenham and its lovely environs has given me plenty of reasons to be grateful that my wife and I found our way here back in 1979.