Friday, 9 February 2007

Design and Technology

When I was a schoolboy (many decades ago!) one of my favourite subjects was woodwork. I was quite good at it (unlike my ability at some other subjects) and to prove it, my parents still use a tray that I made over 40 years ago - a real piece of craftsmanship!

I was not pleased when metalwork was introduced into our lessons at Leeds Grammar School, as I found wood a far more pleasing material to work in. I still love good woodwork, and am the proud owner of quite a lot of furniture manufactured by Thompson's of Kilburn - the famous 'Mouseman'.

Today we no longer have carpentry shops in schools - rather Design and Technology Departments. I often wonder what Jesus (and Joseph) must make of such a change! Well, I guess I should be grateful for the change, as our excellent DT Department at Latymer recently came to the rescue of the altar candlesticks in the Chapel. It is particularly pleasing to record that the whole exercise was expertly supervised by Mr David Baker who is a devout Jew. He has shown much interest in our liturgy in the Chapel, and is always pleased when we can trace our practices back to our Jewish roots.
The problem all revolved around our Paschal Candle! As you will appreciate, this is a very important feature in the Chapel of the Resurrection - and we like to have a really impressive candle every Easter. (You can see this in the general photo of me in the Chapel of the Resurrection.) I order a 3' tall candle 2" wide, and by Pentecost it is still 2'6" long. With few Baptisms and no funerals in a typical year, what do we do with the enormous 'tab end' when we come to next Easter? I could of course order a shorter candle (say 1') - but that would hardly make much of an impression - or I could make the candle last several years - but I don't like that idea, or I could keep the candle lit all day during Eastertide - but our fire officer would have a heart attack if I did that! So instead, we decided to chop the candle in two so that we have two candles just over 1' long to use as altar candles. All well and good, but the altar candlesticks were for 3/2" candles, not 2" candles!
This is where the Design and Technology Department came to our rescue. They have adapted our existing altar candlesticks so as to accommodate 2" candles. The two photos show Jay (the Departmental Technician) doing a most skilled job. The candlesticks are due to be returned to the Chapel over the next few days and I will post a photo of the finished job once they are back in their rightful home.
Will they still be in use in 40 years time I ask myself? I hope so. I sincerely hope that everyone is not using electric Paschal Candles in 2047!

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