The days are getting noticeably shorter now. Cars have their lights on when we drive to Hayles, and at the end of the day the lights go on again. Or are we working long days?
We had a good attendance today, with good progress, although some bribery boosted the size of the gang, just about at lunch time! Amazing. More of that in a moment.
Yours truly was on concrete again, here with Dave on the shovel. Check out the expression, it looks as if he's firing P&O!
Dave was tireless, and personally shovelled out most of two dumpy bags of ballast today. Brilliant.
When we turned the mixer round to the Cotswolds side to mix ballast, she behaved impeccably. Odd that.
She also stopped twice when somebody walked past, quite on her own. Was she upset by a sideways glance? Spooky....
On the next run, Dave gave it a bit more welly near the bottom of the descent, but then missed the little plank at the lowest point, whereupon the barrow came to an abrupt stop, shedding a good part of its sloppy load over the front.
This time John is there to help steady, and point for it to go this way and that. Then we use the official poking stick to get the mix right down into the voids in the blocks.
At the end of the day, this little team had filled all the remaining voids in the platform, so it is now one solid concrete mass. It's not going anywhere now.
Round about this time your blogger had to shoot off and spend £3000 in 3 minutes. Yes, that's the cost of a 6 Dogfish ballast train, and we dropped it at Little Buckland. It only took an hour, then back to Hayles.
At the mention of the scheduled bacon butties due at Hayles today, the 3 man ballasting team, flexible as they were, took a quick decision to have their lunch with us. This boosted our numbers, and they were not allowed to melt away afterwards, but were roped in for concrete and wood fixing duties. It's only fair.
With the concreting going on at the southern end of the platform, the others were not sitting on their backsides, but had split into a further two teams.
This one here, led by Jim G, was an interesting one, as it was the start of the corbelling brickwork. After a bit of trial and error, it went really well.
The other team continued with the job of mounting the creosoted planks in front of the block wall.
Now that we've done this a couple of times, we're getting into a practiced routine and quite efficient.
Here we've set out the planks in stacks, and they get drilled through at each end. Jim H, off picture, is applying creosote most diligently, so that the planks are all ready. They're still moist here.
Once equipped with holes, a plank is taken to the wall and wriggled into its place.
We start at the top where the wood meets the underside of the corbelling bricks, and work downwards with the next three planks.
Neal then comes along and, reaching through the holes, drills into the concrete blocks behind.
The next plank down is fitted so that it buts up against the top one.
After holding on to it for ages while the holes are drilled and the bolts inserted, the team found a rather better method for keeping the plank pressed upwards - this clever lever effect, which just requires someone to rest their foot on it.
Peter taps in the bolt, before screwing it in tightly.
Finally, for some planks Neal cuts in a circular opening for the weep holes to be able to discharge any water (although we think that this is unlikely in practice, as we also have a drain in the bottom)
There were no passing trains to record today. The class 73 was out ballasting at Little Buckland; more of that tomorrow on the Extension Blog.