There is a church in Clay Coton, a hamlet between the villages of Stanford-on-Avon and Yelvertoft, lying on the boundary between Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. When, some years ago, I inquisitively visited its grounds, it was clear that it was a long time since it had been used as a place for Christian gathering.
Within recent months on a group walk, we stumbled across the same hamlet and the same church – what a change! It was no longer in an abandoned and neglected state, but had been purchased, restored and rebuilt as a private dwelling.
By coincidence, the owner emerged as we passed through, but entry is no longer possible. The public footpath right of way continues to go through what was formerly the churchyard.
In winter 2018, when the snowdrops were out, we visited Shaftesbury in Dorset where a former large redundant church is used as a two storey store. One church continued to serve the people of the local community for gathering, but two churches were no longer needed.
A church in central Rugby, having been declared redundant, made way for dwellings in the late 20th century. The cost of maintaining and repairing the building and fabric of churches, particularly rural churches, amounts to millions of pounds. Why not sell or even demolish?
Where did all the material from abandoned castles and demolished abbeys go? Churches and chapels have costs, and maintenance and attendance hardly justify the present expenditure.
The last time a similar upheaval in church buildings took place was only 500 years ago in the reign of Henry V111, unless we include the contribution of the Luftwaffe!
Surely someone, somewhere, will have a measure of sorts to determine whether a church or chapel building has ceased to be a presence in a village, town or city worth maintaining?
There would be complaints and appeals. Ironically, the most vocal often come from people who never set foot in the church!
6.6 billion years ago uranium was created from supernova explosions: now it is as common as tin on the Earth’s crust. So, why mention this? A pellet, 1cm. in diameter and 1cm. long, of Uranium235 releases energy equivalent to one ton of coal! It is sealed with others in fuel rods in a reactor core in a power station. However, in time, its level of radioactivity does not produce enough heat for power generation, but it remains harmful to humans for the next 10,000 years.
On an island, called Olkihuoto, in south-west Finland, a tomb has been constructed 1,500 feet down in 1.9million year old rock. It will hold 6,500 tons of spent uranium from three Finnish power stations.
Deep underground it will be sealed in concrete to keep it safe, but will it be? How are intruders to be deterred? Within that long span of time, future generations may well not use our ways of communication.
In 2038, a similar tomb is to be sealed in New Mexico, but men and women from linguistic and other relevant expertises have met but no agreement reached.
One suggestion is an atomic priesthood, handing down stories by the power of myths similar to Ariadne’s thread for Theseus to find his way in the labyrinth to the Minotaur, to warn and deter future generations. The ball is still up in the air.
Cake – is there such a thing as a cake hangover?