Did I really say that this afternoon was to be a good provider of relaxation? I should have known better than to think I was getting a free lunch. Not that lunch itself was a disappointment. A delicious lasagne with salad, chips and garlic bread followed by a virtuous fruit salad (not quite so virtuous as M refused to get it without icecream on the grounds that I had missed out on my feast day yesterday!). We sat in a window seat overlooking the creek, watching the swans and ducks negotiate the narrow channel of water as the tide was low, and watching the seagulls and egrets exploring the estuary mud for what goodies they could find… which were clearly plentiful, judging by the number of birds indulging. This compensated for the fact that the boats don’t look at their best at low tide, as they lie marooned on the mud with the paintwork of their hulls looking a little the worse for wear.
We sent evil stares to the people on the neighbouring table. How could they? Didn’t they know we were there for a nice relaxing and stressfree meal? Did they have to spend their entire lunchtime discussing how appalling the current education system is and how it’s selling children short? I hadn’t the inclination to go and join them and enlighten them to the error of their ways, but fortunately the evil vibes we were sending them clearly persuaded them to finish their meal quickly and depart without a final cup of coffee 😀 .
It was as I placed my latte cup on its saucer, deliciously empty, that the bombshell was dropped. “Oooh, we’ve still got enough time before you fetch Smudgelet from school – would you like to pass a quarter of an hour helping me fetch the cross from the old church and put it in my car?”. An invitation I could hardly refuse.
It was quite sad going into the old church. It closed down last October as it had fallen into disrepair and was going to cost too much to update. Each year they used to make a beautiful Easter Garden, but this year they had decided to relocate it to another church and M and I were to collect the parts from the store. To be precise, the cross. It is a near- “lifesize” cross, and we discovered it was being stored up in the minstral’s gallery, up a tiny winding wooden staircase. No problem. We located the upright part and carried that down the stairs to the car. We located the crosspiece and carried that down the stairs to the car. Then came the challenge. The base.
The base is about the size of an upturned bucket, with a hole in the top into which the upright is placed. Needless to say, in order to support the entire cross, the base has to be heavy. Remarkably heavy. Made of concrete, in fact. How on earth anyone got the thing up that staircase into the gallery is a wonder to be pondered…. second only to the challenge of getting the thing down the stairs again and into M’s car. It was far too heavy to lift from floor level, and the winding staircase was barely wide enough for one person’s body, let alone two. Both of us were determined to be as protective of our backs as possible…. but the thing was almost too heavy for two people to carry and yet too small for more to gather round it.. and there wasn’t space for anyone else if we’d had them to call on.
So, unable to lift it single handed as a dead weight, and unable to get to carry it together because of the narrowness of the winding stair… it was a good job I had a brainwave. It wasn’t easy (moving the stone, I mean, not having the brainwave!) but we managed it. If the weight of this stone was anything to go by, it’s no wonder the moving of the stone blocking the tomb was such a miracle!
Remind me, next time M offers me a free lunch, to have a prior engagement.