How did we get here?

Steve Bell cartoon on Trump
Photo: Steve Bell / The Guardian

Sometimes, the fire at Notre Dame seems to fade into insignificance.

In the USA, the sheer tumult of the Trump era, the unceasing torrent of events that were unthinkable even hours before, has left a nation constantly off balance, unable to find its bearing and grasp how far it has traveled.

On Monday, an entirely peaceful protest was driven out of a city square in front of the White House with teargas, baton charges and mounted police, so Trump could pose in front of a church with a Bible.

Perhaps, some heroes may be needed.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/02/donald-trump-coronavirus-george-floyd-normalized

Notre Dame forecourt now open again

Notre Dame
Photo: Jeff Whyte

The body overseeing the Gothic structure’s restoration issued a statement this Sunday the 31st May, saying that the reopening was finally made possible after several deep clean operations took place to remove toxic lead dust from the large forecourt.

To protect public health, the site will continue to “be regularly cleaned and samples also taken” for monitoring and analysis.

The cathedral is still closed, and will be for several years during renovations.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-05-31/notre-dame-forecourt-opens-to-public-after-long-cleanup

New important eyesight test

Dominic Cummings in his car
Photo: Shutterstock
Dominic Cummings in his car

Normally we wouldn’t post this as it’s not about Notre Dame, but this information comes from a source at the top of the UK government.

Apparently, if you’re worried about your eyesight you can avoid any queue at  the opticians but carrying out this test yourself.

Just drive for about 30 miles or so and if you don’t hit anything your eyesight is okay, probably. To be extra safe put your family in the car too, particularly a young child, four would be an ideal age.

Oh and if any of you are suffering from a virus, well we all get that from time to time, don’t we?

Look, I know the source has been revealed on other outlets so I might as well reveal it here, Dominic Cummings, a special advisor to the UK Prime Minister. Surely he can’t be lying? Er, I mean wrong?

Gothic architecture past and present

Notre Dame exterior
Photo: Vicente Sargues

A little over a year ago the world nearly lost one of its most recognizable examples of Gothic architecture, as the spire and a sizeable part of the roof of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris burned to ashes.

Take a quick history of Gothic architecture in order to tease out the lessons this historical style can lend to contemporary architectural design.

https://archinect.com/news/article/150198431/mark-foster-gage-on-gothic-architecture-past-and-present

The Notre Dame site will have restoration workers again soon, maybe

Notre Dame exterior
Photo: Denis Meyer

A team will enter the Paris cathedral site on Monday to make arrangements for around 50 construction workers to return from early May.

The public committee for Notre Dame’s restoration, headed by army general Jean-Louis Georgelin, had to find ways to respect social distancing, protect workers and overcome logistical issues before restarting activity.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/notre-dame-s-construction-site-is-to-reopen

When will work on Notre Dame resume?

Notre Dame by night before the fire
Photo: Livioandronico2013
Notre Dame by night before the fire

We don’t know. Even when the virus pandemic has passed, the melted scaffolding is a problem.

Originally erected to restore the 19th-century spire, before the fire of last year, the melted scaffolding around the roof was initially planned to be removed starting March 23rd. Due to coronavirus related measures, the French authorities did not go through with the complicated process.

https://www.archdaily.com/938052/notre-dames-update-restoration-works-suspended-due-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak

Trump considers buying Notre Dame again

pool
Photo: UMA/u-m-a.se
The swimming pool design was never actually submitted

Donald Trump is considering buying Notre Dame and turning it into a hotel one more time as he thinks the price will have fallen considerably because of the virus.

He is particularly enamored by the prospect of turning the roof into a vast swimming pool.

He was also advised that Nigel Farage would be a good agent.

Okay this is all fiction, erm, isn’t it?

So today (April 15th) is a year after the Notre Dame fire

Protection for missing roof
Photo: Brian Katz

And everything has changed, No one could have predicted coronavirus and the disruption it would cause to human society, but we are where we are.

French President Emmanuel Macron issued a nationwide stay-at-home order on March 16 to prevent the spread of the virus. The artisan builders who were part of the rebuilding operation were sent home the next day. It’s unlikely restoration will resume any time soon.

Meanwhile on BBC Four tonight (April 15th) , at 9pm UK time (so 10pm in Europe), there is a documentary on the restoration so far, but done before the virus paused everything.

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/04/14/notre-dame-cathedral-year-later-restoration-coronavirus/2994038001/