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The Adventures of Fico Friday 4th November 2016
(Your friendly personification of the Finance Committee)

Fico has had a busy week.
First of all, he had to come and look at the leak above the organ on Friday night along with Gino the plumber. Then he turned up again on Saturday morning with Gino to go onto the church roof. The leak was nothing to do with guttering or a leaky roof. He then learned that there was a header tank for the church heating in the roof space. Up into the roof space from the balcony but there was no walkway to walk on. Fico definitely did not fancy walking on the roof slats! So back down and a long search for the church stop cock. EVENTUALLY a stop cock was found by the side door to the church. It turned off all the water in church, but the drip kept dripping; indeed it kept running! Buckets and even a wheelie bin were requisitioned until further help could be found.
Monday morning: Fico rang the insurance company. NOT insured for wear and tear but are insured for damage over £400. Oh-well. Then rang the heating company that maintain the church heating system, and have done so for many years (30?). They sent an engineer out. He took one look at the leak and said “Sorry, I have a fear of heights. You need another engineer”! Second engineer turns up and says “Sorry, you need a tower; can’t do it on a ladder”. The boss then rings Fico and says “I better come out myself” None of the two previous engineers had told him what height for the tower.

Tuesday morning, Fico met with John, the boss. He measured the height of the ceiling with a fancy laser gadget and worked out the height of tower needed. He then wondered why it was still leaking but after a good search could find no other stop cock. He said it is very strange to put the stop cock underground accessed by a service hatch!! He could not understand why it was still leaking after been turned off for three days?? He took one look at the size of the service hatch and groaned [Stand on the sanctuary by the right hand door and look through the slats by the side of the church. On the vertical wall above the slats you can see the hatch.] If the tank is bigger than the hatch, we cannot get it out!! He asked Fico if there was any walkways/boarding around the tank so the engineers could work on it. Fico had no idea (but there are none in the rest of the roof space…). Fico told John that the slats could be taken out by hand. John made a phone call and told Fico that he did not have two engineers available until Thursday morning. So Fico waited with crossed fingers.

For the rest of the week, Fico has been waiting for a quote for new speakers for the church PA system and was pleased to hear that the loop system is now working properly after a visit by the sound engineer last week. Fico opened up the church for electricians who are going to replace the lights above the sanctuary, some of which have now failed. Fico agreed that a meeting with a lighting rep, the electrician, Fr Gerardo and himself would be a good idea to finalise details of the replacement lights (stronger with warm colour?; special lights for lecterns?). The electrician will also install a light for the icon for which we will need (you guessed it) a tower! He is getting quotes for the decoration of the boiler room in the parish hall, so it can be used as an office – increasing the value of the property. He also showed around the committee of a local club who are looking to hire the hall on a regular basis on Monday and Friday evenings. This will bring in an extra £5,000 per year; a welcome boost to the parish finances.

Last week, Fico was visited by members of the Diocesan Historic Churches committee who DID NOT like the plans for the renewal of the front of the church. They said it was “banal” and too “grey”. Fico was told to get a landscape architect to come up with a design more befitting a twentieth century grade II national listed building, a design that was “informal” and “welcoming”. Being a positive sort of guy, Fico has already contacted a recommended landscape architect who will be coming to look at the front of the church next week. Fico will get at least one other architect to come and look so as to be able to get the best ideas and best value. We will still use the services of Barnsley Bate, the building surveyors for the works themselves.

Fico is going to have a good rest this weekend!