I am still continuing to volunteer once a week at Dereham Windmill. Like some others, I had thought that this would prove to be fertile ground for blog posts, but as I have seen very few visitors, and mostly worked with the same two other volunteers, there has been little to inspire me, to be honest.
We recently had the burial of a time capsule on the site. A new cafe and community hall has been built next to the old windmill, and before the connecting path was completed, a large container was buried under the slabs. The contents mainly concern the history of the building and recent restoration, as well as including small projects from the local Northgate High School, and a contribution from Autism Anglia. As well as drawings and typed sheets, a DVD film of the work was added, and it is hoped that this will give some insight into life in 2015, when it is opened. Representatives form Autism Anglia came along, as well as most of the Trustees of the windmill project, and some pupils from the school. They each placed a shovel of earth on the capsule, before the hole was filed in and covered. There was a small speech, and lots of photographs were taken too.
I was surprised that the date set for opening the capsule is the year 2100. This is only 85 years away, and I would have thought that 150 years might have made the contents more interesting. I did remark that as I will be aged 148 when the capsule is disinterred, I might need some help to get along to the ceremony. The event was well reported in our local newspaper, The Dereham Times, receiving a full page spread, with accompanying photos. I like the idea of time capsules, as they are so much more civilised than exhuming the bones and artifacts of our dead ancestors, in the hope of discovering how they lived their everyday lives. I would have included some takeaway menus, so they could marvel at how badly many people eat these days, some printouts from Facebook, so they could see how mundane life can be, and a copy of a TV listings magazine, so they could see how easily pleased most viewers are.
The new cafe opens on the 20th June. There will be hot and cold drinks, pre-wrapped cakes and snacks, and more importantly, toilet facilities. At the same time, the Wednesday opening will be dropped, and changed to Friday. This gives the weekend opening more flow, and will hopefully attract more visitors. There is also a dedicated car park, with spaces for disabled drivers, and the hope is that the upgrading of the site and facilities will place the windmill firmly on the list of local visitor attractions, and places to see in the area.
After a great deal of hard work, the money from grants and charities, and the dedication of those who started it all in the first place, I sincerely hope that all the effort is rewarded.