Friday, 12 August 2016

Jobs done and a story of a lost city

This morning I wrote my Sunday sermon, then at lunchtime I was collected and taken to St Luke's for the sculptor's funeral. There was a congregation of well over a hundred. I found a reading from Exodus to use, praising people gifted as artists and craftsmen. His son gave an affectionate tribute and told a funny story that combined his Dad's artistic prowess with his ingenuity as a practical joker. This involved him doing a lifelike lightning sketch of his brother on the plaster of a wall, and concealing it behind loose wallpaper about to be stripped for redecorating, then letting his brother discover it, as if by magic, and teasing him about the ominous nature of the appearance of the image from nowhere. After the interment at Thornhill, I was taken home. Then, after a cup of tea and the rest of my lunch I went to the office for the rest of the afternoon to tidy up financial records and catch up with Julie and Ashley. 

In the evening Clare and I watched a TV documentary on Channel Five, which I'd not seen before, about the recent discovery of a 3000 year old lost city of Pharoah Rameses II, called Pi-Ramesses. It had once been a major military base on the banks of a Nile tributary. Once the tributary silted up, a replacement city was rebuilt on a river bank thirty miles away. Stones and monuments from the first city were moved, possibly via irrigation canals, to use at the new site. Sand and soil eventually covered the original site and its previous history forgotten. It's been used for over two millennia for farming, but modern ground penetrating radar has revealed the extensive layout of the original built environment. Select trial excavations have confirmed the marine and military industrial character of the city, and provided work for archaeologists to explore in depth for years to come. Such a fascinating scientific detective story to learn about. 

Removal of the rear of house chimney stack has progressed well this past few days, partly due to the crumbling mortar between the bricks making it easy to remove, without needing much hammering to separate them. All the debris has been manhandled to the ground, as there wasn't enough space to erect a chute. The back lane is barely wide enough to remove debris by wheelbarrow as well, so it's not been an easy job, but by tea-time today tiles covered the space vacated by the chimney and the new piece of gable end wall has been rendered with cement. We have more work to be done on our side next week, with the replacement of ancient iron guttering.

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