A view backstage at Beverley Minster

3D or not 3D, that is the question

Beverley Minster virger Neil Pickford questions his resolution
There’s so much to write about in my world this week that I’m spoiled for choice – although how much of it my dear readers would enjoy is a moot point. There’s only so much interest you can sustain in me raging. Especially if, let’s say, I was arguing that God Himself could never invent enough torments to punish certain sectors of the financial service industry.
Nor it is likely to fascinate my same dear readers if I was to boast incessantly about how my wife’s wonderful little Beverley B&B (Hunter’s Hall, conveniently located for almost everywhere in the entire world) has just been granted a silver award for excellent quality of service and another in recognition of the high standard of breakfasts provided.
I suspect my relief at the gradual improvement in table position of Bristol City after an embarrassing start to the season will find little resonance among partisan ‘Tigers’ fans – neither would my satisfaction at completing a complex model railway rewiring operation.
You might be more interested if I dropped in a little vignette about ‘downstairs’ in the Minster, such as the one that occurred on Monday when John and I were already several minutes past our going-home time and I discovered that the cistern in the Ladies section of our loos was hanging off the wall.
Instead of regarding it as someone else’s problem to be cured by summoning a plumber we waded in (not literally) and, within a couple of minutes, had the thing back in place and better-attached than it had been before.
But perhaps it’s not THAT interesting.
Now I come to think about it I’m not sure if you’re going to be particularly fascinated about my latest dilemma – how to create a cartoon-like representation that illustrates how, and in what sequence, the Minster was built.
Now earlier this year I said that, if I mastered a certain 3D CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) programme (proper UK spelling being used, did you notice?) then I’d try to produce something that walked, talked and called me ‘Mummy’ to demonstrate the latest findings. This might be especially interesting as these latest findings disagree with many of the earlier ones and therefore make our guidebooks slightly redundant.
Anyway, for a variety of reasons, that project hasn’t actually blossomed. In fact, to be brutally honest, it’s been completely dormant. Firstly, I haven’t even loaded the programme (correct spelling) into my computer yet, let alone started learning how to use it. Secondly, the only way to get the information correct would be a very time-consuming process involving a key researcher sitting beside me – and one of them is out of the country while the other has belatedly rediscovered the joys of having a social life and is rarely available any more.
So, once more the future of this entire project – like so many others in my life over the years – boils down to the following simple question: do I try and do it all by myself, with whatever few facilities and resources I’ve been able to accumulate over the decades; or does it just disappear into that huge dump that is best labelled: ‘Good intentions – failed’?
I’m a cussed so-and-so at times and am quite capable of gritting my teeth and burying myself in the task, emerging some unknowable time later pale, malnourished and unwashed but triumphant – only for the entire world to ignore my efforts. 
I’ve actually already thought of a way in which I could create something that would do the job I first planned, but in a much more simple way. It could still be altered over time if new information came to light and can be displayed without the need for a computer. All it needs is a supply of photocopied line-drawings of the Minster and some colouring pens.  So maybe I’ll do that next week, after I’ve been out and about to sell some advertising in our guide to the Christmas Tree Festival this December.
It’s a varied life, isn’t it? Plenty to write about, as I said at the top and perhaps surprisingly, that was the impression I intended to create when I started this piece.  (Trust me, that isn’t always the case – it’s not uncommon for me to start in one direction and finish in another – a bit like God/evolution and the duck-billed platypus, perhaps).
No, I wanted to create an image of a job that mixes the mundane with the mentally-challenging, the physical with the philosophical, friendly with forthright, leading and led. I suppose the one word that best covers all the above is ‘practical’.
And why do I want to do this, dear reader? Well, it’s because we’re currently looking for one of these paragons of every virtue to join the happy team of John and me on a part-time basis and cover for us when we’re on holiday or otherwise occupied. An advert will be appearing in the next few weeks and it seems sensible to pre-warn would-be virgers of what the job entails.
Oh, there’s another vitally important criteria to bear in mind as well. Must be cheap.
 A full archive of around 150 articles from the View from the Vestry collection is free hereat: – and a CD with a selection of 13 of the best, read by Neil Pickford himself, is available at the Minster shop, price £5 –or email for details.

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