I think we may have a lodger at the church. It occurred to me, after I’d written yesterday’s post, that I might – incredible as it seems – be an awful idiot and, while thinking I’d set Saturday night’s heating at 7pm-7pm (that is, not to come on at all) I might have put it to 7pm-7am, without noticing. So I went to check. I’d turned it to ‘off’ rather than ‘timer’ yesterday, so I knew it wouldn’t have been on even if I’d been really silly.
But it had. I could feel the warmth as soon as I walked in, although it snowed last night and has been very cold all day. I touched the pipes and they were warm. Now, the thing is, the matter of the door being unlocked could have been a red herring. There’s someone who goes in the church on a Friday or Saturday evening, no doubt for a quite legitimate purpose, who has access to the keys but who leaves the big doors unlocked. I haven’t been able to find out who. But, and keep this under your hats please, there is a way of circumventing the lock and opening the door anyway (there won’t be for much longer or I wouldn’t write it down at all) and so it’s quite possible that the person leaving the door unlocked and the person turning the boiler on are not one and the same. The only reason I can see for having the heating on overnight regularly is to warm the church to sleep in.
Yes, I’ve told the Fellow (or rather, as he’s at work, his wife). And I’ve told the Sage. And I will go down tonight and check it out, but not on my own. I’m not timorous but I’m not incautious either. Actually, I suspect the Fellow will insist on going – though I’ve asked his wife that he should not go alone either.
And you know, I feel quite annoyed. I’m sorry if someone needs a place to sleep and has to go in the church and not unsympathetic to their situation. But spending a lot of someone else’s money to heat a large building in that way is not on. If the person really needs shelter, there is a warm (storage heated) and carpeted room that he or she could use and I’d probably not even have found out. It is a matter of some importance to us that we give out the message that the church is open day and night and everyone, whether Christian or not, is welcome there. That importance leads us to accept the risk of vandalism or, indeed, the use of the place as a doss-house. But there’s a limit, you know, and theft goes beyond it.