Friday, 16 September 2016

Monday and Friday

Two reports for the price of one today - one for Monday this week, and one for today, Friday, when a small gang returned to strim the site.

Monday, 12th September

Another very productive day at Hayles with 9 in attendance and more sunshine than expected.
The day started with a delivery of timber, together with four concrete and one steel lintel to be used above the north end catch pit.  The timber will be bolted to the concrete blocks, to give the appearance of a sleeper built platform. It's quite a pile, with two boxes of bolts on top.

Neal cut a groove for the steel lintel which was soon installed together with the concrete ones by Tim and Julian.  This is for the northern of the two catch pits, which will have a hatch at the front.

Here you can see the lintel in place, with the 4 concrete beams at the back over the gap.

The lintel is so shaped as to permit the laying of the corbelling bricks in an uninterupted row.
Neal has now cut all the blocks for the south end ramp and about half the ones for the north end ramp.  Four blocks also need cutting above the lintels.
Neal not only brought his own generator and disk cutter, he also took away Jim's hiccoughing generator and repaired it for him at home. Thank you, Neal!
Here is Neal fine tuning the specially cut blocks on the southern ramp. This is now complete, except for the single, fifth row.

However most of Monday's effort was on filling the blocks with a wet ballast mix.  Some 31 mixes were achieved - that's 310 shovels of ballast - and we are now only about 10 blocks away from the southern drainage pit.  This activity was shared amongst the rest of the group with frequent rotation to share the backbreaking load.
Here is Jim H doing the first 5 mixes. There are now various half empty bags about the site, and these will be repositioned next week in order to make room for more deliveries, including 20 tons of fine ballast to cover the rear drainage pipe, more cement and more blocks - we are going to be a bit over the 1200 first estimated. The 20 tons are going to have to be barrowed down to the track... at 100Kg per barrow load, that makes 200 trips. Oops...

In the sun, the gang enjoyed a pleasant, warm lunch outside, perhaps for the last time. Halcyon days.

Jim H is a bit of a wizzard at making up notice boards (he made several for Broadway) and here we see his latest triumph, a beautifully framed information board explaining to passers by what is being built at Hayles. He also treated us to shelving in the container, a row of hooks for our lunch bags, and a full set of official and working timetables way into 2017, so that we can see precisely when a train is due to pass, and what it is. Brilliant.
Here Tim and Julian have just put up the new information board.

At the close of play on Monday, the platform looked like this. The new blocks have been placed ready for use in the 5th row. Concrete infilling has reached about half way down. Note the rather overwhelming greenery - more of that in the Friday report.

Friday 16th September
Seeing this same ebullient greenery, Broadway volunteer Graham offered to come down with a brush cutter to trim the site back to ground level, so that we can see what we are doing. He was joined by Jim H and yours truly, back from gone away. (unfortunately 3kg more came back than flew out, and a brake on doughnut consumption has been enforced)

It was rather wet at the start of the day, but Graham set out regardless, and this is the 'before' shot. Julian and Jim H had already had a go with manual clippers in the foreground, but the gross of the problem was at the Toddington end and around the entrance.

Today was a 'silver' driver experience day, and precisely as timetabled - thank you Jim, for the info in the container now - Foremarke Hall trundled by the new platform. Thanks to the strimming, this shot of it next to the blockwork is now possible.

After a while, the sun did come out, but this was not the pleasure you'd think for Graham, who soon worked in a cloud of billowing seeds and sweating profusely, with all the protective gear on.

Coming back for a coffee break, it dawned on us that after the delivery of the big bundle of wood, our dining room was now heavily compromised.

Graham then unveiled a supply of blueberry and double chocolate muffins, which were pounced upon with glee by some.
Due to the huge bundle of planks, there was only room for two inside the container, with Graham on a wobbly chair in the weather outside. We'd better get bolting these planks to the wall, otherwise there is going to be a problem on Monday, if we have 9 volunteers again and inclement weather.

At the end of the day, full sunshine and a completely strimmed site. Well done, Graham !


  1. You lot work well in adversity ! Hot weather being as bad (if not worse) than old wet weather. Well done the Hayles Abbey team. Regards, Paul.

    1. That should read Cold and not Old, by the way between than and wet. Just a typo, Paul.