New lease of life for the Ditchingham Way-Station

New lease of life for the Ditchingham Way-Station

Steve Eggleton, Director of the Via Beata, visited Ditchingham All Saints,  the home of Emmaus charity to move the way-station there to its new location, he says:

We had a really lovely day relocating the waystation from it’s old position by the gate of the conference centre. It now stands on the grass at the entrance to Emmaus House, and backing on to the hedge of the curate’s residence.

     I got to All Hallows at about 8.45, and was met by Nick, who works on a local farm. He came with a teleporter. (Everybody should have one!) He had made a point of visiting the site the previous day, to size up the job, so he came equipped with some heavy timbers and tools, to prepare the shelter for transit. He lifted the whole thing out of the ground on the tines of the teleporter, so we were able to remove the rotten ends of the four legs, while it dangled in the air, and prepare them for slotting  into their new oak feet.
     Meanwhile, a bunch of companions were digging the holes in the new position, to take the four legs with their shiny new oak boots.
     Nick gently carried the whole shelter at a snail’s pace across the site, and with a little bit of adjustment to the holes, he lowered the shelter into its new position. We got it level, and then the companions refilled the holes and replaced the turf.

Moving the way-station with telehandler!

Nick and a friend of his, who had stopped to see what he was up to, learnt a little bit about the Via Beata, and I left them both with a leaflet. So NIck and the companions left me to finish things off.

     I removed the old roofing, which was stuff called ‘Onduline’ (I might have spelt it wrongly). We have a number of waystation shelters roofed with it, so I guess, we will have to replace them all in due course. Onduline is a bitumen based product, which looks great when new, but it sags in the heat from the summer sun.
     Anyway, the shelter at Ditchingham is now rejoicing in its shiny new corrugated steel roof. it looks smart, and we all know that this material is very robust.
     The rain, which had twiddled gently for most of the day, didn’t really cause a problem, and when it cleared up for as while after lunch, I took the opportunity to freshen up the green timber treatment on the boards of the shelter.
     Speaking of lunch, I had the privilege of joining the companions and staff for lunch. I felt so welcome among them all, and I was grateful for an opportunity to get to know some of them.
     Emmaus Ditchingham is a very special place. It is so moving to see how the companions there are loved and cared for, and given such constructive work to do. They are all getting excited about the planned ‘Walk of Kindness’ along the Via Beata trail later in the year.
    We would encourage you to visit the place, if you are in the area. The little cafe there is really lovely, and it’s fun to wander round the rooms, where furniture, carpets, books etc. are set out for sale in the rooms of the old convent.