Digging for victory- still!

To remind you: we are trying to create a new fire escape route. To do so, we have hand-dug away enough soil and rubble that we could move the digger in to continue clearing.

On dry days, we worked as a team: Mike on the digger, and me barrowing the spoil away…

…but on wet days we separated. Mike reverted to gutting the old gents loos: here you can see he has removed the copper pipes and the urinals…

…and here that the loos have been removed ready for us to knock down the cubicle walls.

Meanwhile I spent two days in the kitchen replenishing our marmalade stocks. These had run down last summer, but we decided to have faith that we might be allowed to have guests some time this year, so are now ready for the rush when it comes.

When the rain eased on Thursay we returned to digging outside…

…and decided to give you a sense of the scale of the task still before us…

…whilst we continued digging to the point where there was space to bring the motorized wheelbarrow into operation.

Blue Max (as she is known) takes up to half a ton of rubble which makes her very useful during such jobs. However, at this point, we should confess to perhaps only our third ‘unfortunate reality’ since we started this rebuilding lark. You may see below that to clear the rubble away, we have to move it over a trench temporarily containing the heating oil pipe. This had been simple enough when we pushed a regular wheelbarrow over three scaffolding planks, but when Mike was leading the motorized barrow over the planks, the combination throttle/brake control inexplicably became entangled within his pocket…

…which resulted in Blue Max driving itself off the planks and ending up with the drive wheels a matter of centimeters from the copper pipe containing the heating oil! Cue much scratching of heads. First, we dumped all the rubble on the path to lighten Blue Max. There followed several attempts to push / pull it out, some abortive attempts to lever it out, until we finally worked out how to install a fourth plank without putting additional pressure on the pipe, enabling us to extricate the barrow without compromising the pipework.

Phew. This left us awarding ourselves nil point for style, but dix points for ingenuity in managing to clear up our own mess. And then it was time to stop for the weekend: I wonder what delights next week might bring?!?

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