The loft at church has been in a dreadful state for quite some time, and last Saturday we had a clear-up. In the course of this, young Carl who often comes up with bright ideas suggested that we move the boxes of books awaiting sale at the next Spring Fair down from the loft, where they are inaccessible and probably overloading the floor, down to the North Vestry. It took quite a long while and left me feeling a bit shaky, but they fitted in there rather neatly. However, that involved also clearing out some other junk, or at least what I thought of as junk, in boxes in the vestry: six brass vases, a metal finial, a pair of missal stands, a wooden cross, and a little prie-dieu whose penitential character consisted not only of the fact that of course you kneel at it but also its extremely uncomfortable narrowness. To these were added a dreadful parian statue of Our Lord which was once at least sound, if not exactly appealing, but which suffered a fall from the vestment chest during a break-in in about 1995 and was repaired in a somewhat rough-and-ready manner. They are the kind of things churches acquire over the years. The churchwardens were not averse to me disposing of them.
This morning I carted them all in the boot to Church Antiques in Walton, one of my favourite places in all the world. Mr Church Antiques cast a kindly eye over the vases, for which he was prepared to offer us 'Not quite nothing but close to it', and winced at the statue. 'That looks like wood glue,' he suggested. 'That's ... a project.' 'The prie-dieu is nice but we've got quite a lot of them.' As I rather suspected, the missal stands were 'the stars' of the batch (and the only items I was tempted to keep) and justified the bulk of the cheque for the PCC I got in return for their acceptance.
It goes against the grain to get rid of anything, but even those nice brass missal stands were just catalogue-bought stuff even in their prime, and we haven't used them in forty years to say the least. Even they are one element of the past I am not sorry to discard.
I was so ashamed of the little plaster crib figures I didn't even get the box out of the boot.