It was a day of strong sunshine, interspersed with heavy tropical showers. We dodged these by sheltering under the bridge, but luckily they didn't really hold up the work.
Before heading down to the trackbed, we made contact with Ops and were advised to wait until the only train of the day had passed - Foremarke Hall on its way to Winchcombe for a day of filming.
|7903 passes the site of Hayles Abbey halt. The concrete blocks will be faced with wood to simulate the original wooden construction.|
Julian and Dave attack the pile with a rather small barrow. If you took a block out, it fell over !
At the other end, Lyndon was there to unload them, and pile them on to the third course at the front.
A second barrow was then fetched down to speed things up a bit, and you can see it being loaded in the background.
Two barrows on a single track... who has the token?
Lyndon is running 'light engine' so has to give way to Dave with the 'heavy freight'.
One-two-three Tea Up !
Dave spreads a line of mortar on the outline of the block, and the heavy block, usually laid by two people (if they aren't off taking photographs...) is laid on top very gently so as not to squash the bed of mortar underneath. The block is then tapped down with the rubber mallet until it lines up with the line in front, or as in this case, the forward blockwork. It is then checked for level, and the gaps are filled in.
We were pretty impressed by Dave's rather professional activity, until he let slip that the last thing he built was a pigsty! That would explain the troughing then.
Sometimes the mortar has dried out a bit, and it is a fag having to drag back up the hill to the tank to get some water. Dave had the bright idea of using the water in the nearby catchpit, and for this he brought a bucket on a rope today.
There was only one problem - as in the song, there was a hole in his bucket. Ah.
What is (other) Dave doing the in the background though? He seems to be on his hands and knees?
The last of our supply of 480 blocks is being laid here near the catch pit return, where a start was made on the fourth row on the rear. All of our blocks are now used up (well, except four; these are holding up Paul's stove and resistance to using those was fierce) and all of the sand too. The resupply, ordered last week, has still not arrived, and the latest news here is that it may come this Friday.
The clouds are getting darker. This idyll won't last much longer...
Once the fourth row is on, and all the voids concreted in, then three rows of corbelling will be laid at the front, backed up by a fifth row of blocks at the rear. On top of that; the CRC2 slabs.
With the uncertainty about supplies, Friday this week still needs to be confirmed as a working date, so check your emails.
A final picture today is a puzzle - can our readers solve it?
What is it?
Answer next time (it took us a while to puzzle that one out, but we got there).