|Storm Hits Puckerings, Damage Extensive
(see Church Struck, An 'Act of God?')
|A mid-summer storm struck with violent force in the
early morning hours, downing trees and powerlines and causing extensive damage to homes
and businesses in both Upper and Lower Puckering. Heavy rain, violent thunder and
strong winds, clocked at over 90 kilometers per hour, battered the villages and
surrounding countryside for nearly an hour before moving off to the southeast.
A spokesman for SouthDowns Electric indicated that 40,000 customers are
without power, whilst British Telecom reports that some 35,000 households are without
The storm left behind a trail of
destruction in Puckering. "The eve of the best-kept village competition is soon upon
us," cautions Colonel Bratherton. "We all need to pull together to set the
village to rights. What's needed now is a touch of the Dunkirk spirit. The men of both
villages need to come together and show what we are capable of."
Others saw more dark portents in the storm. 'It's a warning to
change our evil ways and lax morals," said Eva Bailey who recently moved to Puckering
from Great Moorah. Long-time local hermit, Frank Churchill, was more sanguine. "I
don't think it means anything," he said. "Though I have visions of two horses
and a goat, who will follow the bees."-- Nigel Twicks
|Puckering Profiles: The Reverend L.N.
|The Reverend Banks clearly believes that if the mountain won't come to
Mohammed then Mohammed must go to the mountain. "Nobody goes to the Church
anymore," he laments. "It's a wonderful building, full of some of the most
interesting details, but quite frankly, on a cold Sunday in February I'd rather be
elsewhere myself." That's why you can find the Reverend all around Puckering meeting
his parishioners where he can. "God's house is all-encompassing. I go and watch the
local cricket team, visit some of the elderly that can't get out much, stop into the Idiot
for a half. Jesus wasn't afraid of socialising, you know."
Under his guidance, the
church has recently sponsored a series of fascinating programs, including lectures
by noted misericord scholar Nigel Mannerly, nationally recognized
mason Godfrey Clayburne, and our own Chester Vyse. "I hope to be able to
bring more good words to bear on the importance of saving Puckering's church
heritage," notes the Reverend, One should, after all, keep one's house in
|Church Struck, 'An Act of God'?
|As storm clouds scuttled eastwardly in the early light of dawn, Reverend
Nigel L. Banks stood beneath the dripping boughs of a sturdy beech beside the battered
walls of the Upper Puckering Parish Church. He surveyed the wreckage of his ambitious
restoration plan: the 14th-century steeple toppled and partially burned by lightning, a
tangle of twisted scaffolding pulled away from the building by the violence of the winds.
One errant length pierced the heart of St. Thomas in the stained glass rosette above the
door of the sanctuary.
In spite of the sight before him and the ungodliness of
the hour, the Reverend exhibited his legendary good humour. "It's all a bit of a mess
right now, to be sure, but we'll have it straightened out shortly. What's important
is that, miraculously, no one was hurt. For that I am truly thankful."
Some might interpret the ferocity of the storm and its focused destruction on His house
as an act of God, a notice of His displeasure with the worldliness of the restoration
project itself. Banks dismissed this view with a chuckle. "God doesn't give a
toss about this church," he said with an emphatic shake of his head.
"There is war, famine, grinding poverty in the world. You'd expect Him to zap
Buckingham Palace, the House of Commons, or the American White House if He were interested
in that sort of thing. No. This project is about honouring our past, forging a
stronger community, freeing the creative, beautiful side of the human spirit. In
this way we honour our Maker."
Reverend Banks was unable to comment on how the restoration schedule has been affected,
but has already scheduled a tea-time meeting of the consulting architects for later today.
"If folks find it in their hearts to help us overcome this setback, they can
send a donation to the Church office. Of course some might prefer to head down to
the Idiot," he added with a twinkle in his eye,"and raise a pint for us."--Lumpy
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