June 2009

Bring On The Diggers!

Ironically it was Mike who was responsible for the first wave of destruction, as he strimmed over the entire building site area.
Slow worms live on the site, and the idea was to cut the undergrowth so short that they would move away to safety further
down the plot, avoiding a massacre when the diggers moved in.....

...which they did the next day, as in the traditional heavy rain, Andrew LeBrun from the groundworks company got stuck in.

Within hours, the site was looking very different, as all the topsoil had been stripped away. This will be stored safely,
and only be replaced when construction is complete, and we're ready to begin laying out our garden

With a second digger arriving on site, and an improvement in the weather, progress was fast.

Honorary Site Manager Max surveyed the scene......

...discovering to his surprise that he wasn't the only dog working on site.
Second digger driver Clive has his own dog, Bandit, on hand to share the driving.

Within a few days an enormous hole had appeared - almost big enough to accommodate the large basement, which
will house our rainwater tanks and composting toilet system. Because the subsoil here contains a lot of sand and gravel,
the walls of the excavations have to be banked (known as a 'batter') to reduce the chances of them collapsing.
They're also covered in waterproof sheeting so any rain doesn't cause the banks to slip.

In one corner of the excavations there wasn't enough room for a batter, so a deep trench had to be dug very carefully,
shuttering lowered in, and the trench filled with concrete. Here, Andrew LeBrun is lowering the shuttering, literally
millimetres at a time, while Clive gingerly removes the sub-soil. But luck wasn't with us this time, and following
earlier torrential rain, the hole was almost deep enough, when without warning......

......one of the walls caved in.

So began a delicate rescue operation, with driver Clive at the controls, and chief ground worker Lee LeBrun in command.

Slowly the collapsed trench was cleared out......

..and a race against time began to fill it with concrete before it could collapse again.

To be continued in the next update....