Lottery Blog - Sept 2009

Saturday 5th Sept. 2.30 pm.

It's been ten weeks since the final event of our last season, during which time we have worked every single day on our project. Our target was to have the hall in a fit state to be able to start the new season AND WE'VE DONE IT.....with four hours to spare !!

Isn't she lovely ?

Yes, there will be some extremely happy volunteers at the Chris Wood concert tonight. The last few carpet tiles were glued into place on the new stage this morning, skirting boards in the loo's given a second coat of gloss and a lot of polishing, vacuuming and cleaning done.

Last few bits to remove from the new raised stage.

The whole week has been fairly hectic. The floors and carpets were in a quite dreadful state, having been coated in plaster, scraped and generally abused throughout the project as we built on, over and around the hall. We also had to complete the most difficult parts of the ceiling painting - the bits that we couldn't reach using the first two scaffolding towers we tried ! - and also finish building and then carpeting and re-curtaining the new stage. There were loads of other little 'finishing off' jobs to be done and tons of miscellaneous building materials to be disposed of (or hidden upstairs). As ever, our wonderful volunteers came up trumps, with non-stop action during the whole week. We managed to ruin THREE vacuum cleaners in the process - they don't like plaster dust, that's for sure.

Peter refurbishing the hall floor.

It's also been a 'media' week. We had a front page spread in the local weekly newspaper; on Friday afternoon, a cameraman from ITV came to film us and interview me and then this morning I did a radio interview - which I much prefer. Fame at last !

That man again !! Jed Dunn finishing off the stage.

So, have we finished ? Of course not. The good work continues, although at perhaps a slightly more relaxed pace and largely behind the scenes. We still have to paint the side walls of the hall and put second coats on doors and office walls; stain the new balcony; build the side wings for the stage; sort out and carpet the two balcony areas; make sense of the office (never an easy job) and tidy up the horrid plywood covering the main window and install a new window blind. Also, most important of all, prepare for the installation of the lift on October 13th and decide how we're going to pay for the all important doors to complete the conference room facilities. After that, we will have the porch re-built and begin to plan how we raise the money to replace all the windows in the hall (£10,000), upgrade the heating (£5,000) and finally organise a proper system of professional lighting and sound equipment (maybe £16,000 !).

This blog will continue until we can honestly say that the Lottery project is done - our final deadline is December 30th so there's lots of time yet. After that, we'll see. For the moment, it's just a huge relief to have a couple of hours before it's time to get changed and stroll down to the hall to enjoy a large glass of something alcoholic and enjoy listening to Chris Wood. It's great to be back.

Tues 10th Nov - Celebration

Almost exactly twelve months after we started the Big Lottery fund Balcony project we are finished and it's time to celebrate with a ''Grand Opening Day''.

We opened up the hall during the afternoon to allow our friends from the village to come and explore the refurbished balcony facilities as well as the new second floor. In the evening, invited guests came along to join us in a glass of wine and a small knees up.

Now that the finishing touches have been completed - the new balcony has been stained to compliment the old one; the carpets have all been laid and acres of paint have been applied I have to say that the hall is looking GREAT.

Hall laid out to show (left) concert seating and (right) a more informal set-up. We're very versatile.

Second floor - Admin office on left, meeting space and lighting gantry in the centre.

Our new Admin office

 

The ''old'' (first floor) balcony laid out in a conference configuration.

A different view showing that we can also use this balcony for additional audience seating.

 

15th November. At last - a lift.

Although it's been a while since the last blog entry, it doesn't mean that we've been inactive - far from it.

The acres of painting, staining and carpet laying still necessary upstairs, together with additional wiring and installation of the Petherton Picture Show equipment has kept our small band of volunteer workmen very busy behind the scenes over the past few weeks.

This week, the long awaited lift installation (the final piece in our Lottery funded work) took place. We're very pleased with it. It is not intrusive - snuggling discretely into the corner of the hall, it works quietly and well and, most importantly, IT FITS !! This has been a source of considerable worry for us since the early part of our project, but I'm happy to report that it squeezed into the available space with a whole 5mm to spare.

We can really see an end to our current project now and we're now awaiting the start of our next (self funded) project which is to be the rebuilding of the front porch. We discovered last November, when putting up the Christmas decorations, that there was little (other than gravity) holding it all together, so that is a now priority for us before the onset of winter.

Beyond that, we have to prioritise our future spending and, rather importantly, raise the money. All contributions gratefully accepted !

Sat 28th Nov. A new Porch

Yes, we've had the scaffolding up at the front of the hall again for the past three weeks whilst our good pal and tame local stonemason Keith Vincent first demolished and then re-built the roof of the front porch which was in severe danger of collapse !

It's all been a bit messy, not least because of the copious amounts of rain we've had recently, but Keith has bashed on undaunted and we're now almost there. With luck we'll be able to put the Christmas lights up soon, safe in the knowledge this year that we're not taking our lives in our hands by leaning against the coping stones.

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