My first Stanmer visit of the new year found a great deal of agitation on the subject of repairs to the leaking roof. A contractor was up there assessing the problem, and vigorous exchanges were taking place on the subject of replacement or repair and where the funds for either scenario would be found.
It’s a shame such things have to take up so much time and energy, detracting from the real business of organisations like this. Like anywhere, some members are positive, others pessimistic, a few downright maudlin.
I escaped the politics when Len asked if I’d like to see the Donkey Well, housed over by the church. Clearly a project dear to his heart, I was treated to the full package of info on the age and dimensions of said well, its connection to the local aquifer and possible re-modelling with a WWII hand grenade. He has a wonderful trick that demonstrates the difference in the speeds of light and sound, plus wave motion. Supposedly for kids, but delightfully simple and effective. Go and check it out one summer Sunday.
The light that dangles deep in the well shaft to show the water surface went out while we were there, so the covers were removed and the modified street light hauled up and out for inspection. Just as we got it to the surface, we realised it had sneakily come back on – maybe water and electricity aren’t such good friends?
Pulling the light up 75 metres was no easy task, although it got lighter as the amount of cable hanging over the edge got shorter and shorter. I realised how tough the job of hauling water out of there would have been without the donkey-powered wheel mechanism.
Apart from that there wasn’t much going on today: debates about the roof seem to have taken over, but I was struck once again by the minds of these men who have spent lifetimes designing, making and fixing machines and how frustrated they are by the modern age of disposability.