After a brief cup of tea to start the day, it was time to give Minnie the Mixer an oil change:
As the concreting is now basically done (we filled in half a dozen holes remaining at the northern tip) the team involved took out the planks that are being used to simulate the old sleepers, and set about painting them with creosote. It's a sticky job, but at least the weather is on our side.
The plank team started the day as they meant to go on - with a rest.
It's something to do with cutting the planks to size and shape for the slope.
They have to sit there.
With their extra weight, the other half of the team could saw the ends to size.
In this way, everyone is useful.....
After the successful sitting session, the plank is the right length and can be trial fitted.
Afterwards, it is removed again for painting in creosote.
As the northern end of the platform comes down to a point, the planks get shorter and the ends have to be cut to an angle.
Here Neal is fitting one of the uprights to the last of the blocks.
Things became a little more interesting when Steve joined us (another with a radar for bacon rolls, it would appear) and started a lively and decidedly frank discussion with Paul about a subject we cannot reveal (as in polite company one avoids the subjects of religion, politics and sex).
Protagonist A, Steve, outlines his point of view very firmly.
Protagonist B, Paul, does not agree at all.
Things get a little heated....
The shocked expressions in the background tell you more than we need to say.
This is what it looks like from above. It's going to be the last layer before the platform slabs go on. We're going to have to think about these soon. They are at Winchcombe, need to be brought to Hayles (they are very heavy) and then trimmed to size with a disk cutter.
If you don't know what corbelling is, here is a good example. Each brick sticks out a little further than the one beneath it on which it rests.
This little bit of brick laying can be found in Montefalco, Italy.
We're not going to go quite as far out as that, just three rows.
Jim in his younger years was an apprentice brick layer, but lost his right arm in a motorbike accident (for which he was blameless!). As Jim put it, 'afterwards there wasn't much call for a one - armed brick layer'. Fortunately, Jim then had a successful career with the MOD. But the interesting thing is that he can still lay bricks, and very well too, as the picture shows. With one hand. What is even more astonishing is that, as a full member of the PWay team, Jim can even shovel ballast, with one arm. How people overcome adversity, it's admirable.
Way to go, Jim ! He even cooked lunch for 16 on Saturday. One of the GWSR characters.
We have a first row almost all of the way along, a second row some of the way, and all three rows on two of the bays.
No trains passed today. All the activity was north of Toddington, where the hired in tamper started work on the Broadway extension in the Laverton area. During the week, it will slowly work its way north.