Today we had a team of 6, and we enjoyed a great day of hot sunshine, until clouds moved in and we escaped a first serious rain shower at three o'clock. It was the first day of proper block laying, after an initial tower built at one end to get our bearings.
Still working at the northern end, the gang is laying a first (of two) rows along the front. The gauge is just behind, which allows you to gently tap the block into just the right place.
Once we had a row of blocks in place, Neal came along with a genny and an SDS drill to drill a hole in each block for a rebar. They are calculated to be a tight fit, and the rebar is then hammered in.
As you can see, we were soon up to a third row. Once we had a line between two towers, putting a row of blocks on suddenly went a lot faster. There was a lot of trial and error to start with, and more concise instructions are needed to the muck maker as to the sloppiness (or not) of the mixture required. Now we know for next time.
The result of the referendum was discussed in a lively, and dare I say it, a pithy manner. Views were shared...
Finally, Jim produced a radio and the further developments of the morning were heard as we stirred the mortar. No smart phones here!
Finally, a distraction - what's this then?
It's another Hercules on a low level fly by. This one is about to cross over the Cotswolds edge, while we were standing at Hayles down in the valley. Low indeed.
At the end of the day - marked by an ominous cloud arriving, which did indeed convert to a heavy shower - we had laid 48 blocks and took the hint to pack up. Not before we had a final cup of tea inside the container, now with added watertightness thanks to a large blue tarp over the top. No wonder it was free.
48 blocks is exactly 10% of the first shipment of blocks, so we felt pretty good about that. Next time, we will be working round one of the drainage catch pits in the cess, which will be an interesting diversion.
At the end of the day, and unexpected historical snippet surfaced. Only three B&W pictures of the halt in operation are known to us, and we may have found a fourth. It is said to show a loco trapped in the snowed up cutting during the great freeze of 1963. The owner has promised to dig it out for us, so fingers crossed, we may be able to show it in 14 days or so.
The next session will be either and/or Monday and Friday next week. Stay in touch if you want to help.