Monday, 28 November 2016

Brilliant weather

A 'brilliant' 12 volunteers turned up on site today, to make up for the hours lost last week when we were completely rained out. The sun shone brilliantly, but there was no warmth to it, and a thin wind kept us on our toes, urging us to keep moving. Sitting outside (we are talking 28th November here) was just about do-able, if you had a hot cup of something between your hands.

Your blogger missed the early morning 'craic', tea and doughnuts, as a quick visit to the office was needed to deposit a cheque received for replica lamp post sales. Result!

Arrival at the Hayles platform found a large crowd of eager builders attacking the platform with trowels, drills and ratchet spanners, corbelling, pointing and fixing on wooden planks to the outside wall. Things were going swimmingly.

Paul was setting out the top row of corbelling on several bays.

The pallet of bricks in the background was brought up to the platform wall and was used up with amazing speed. Luckily we have another pallet of them in reserve.

Rick spent the day on a single job - pointing the top row of corbelling.

It's very slow and pains taking, but very worth while as you get a lovely, professional look on the brickwork.

Afterwards, the excess mortar is washed off with water and a soft brush.

Here is Paul - again, he seems to get into every picture - laying corbelling bricks on a different section, while Lyndon next to him is filling in the top row with mortar to make sure that all is set solid, and that we have a good base for the slabs.

On the subject of slabs, we are taking a greater interest in these and today a small party of 4 split off to go to Winchcombe and sort out some more using the Telehandler.

At 11.30 they were back, expecting lunch. This seemed a tad hungry, so we pointed out the early hour for this request. Jaws dropped. Wasn't it 12.30, after all? No it wasn't, we still had another hour to go, Paul hadn't started cooking yet.

After some head scratching, the penny dropped. It was Dave P who made the bugle call for lunch, and he'd read the little clock in the Telehandler, which was still set for summer time! The other three didn't question the time, but happily obeyed their rumbling stomachs....

Another Monday, another mouse in the trap. As the bait is always gone, it seems that another mouse has clambered over the top and safely finished it off! We need to find the back door into the container they are using.

Earlier, a large Chinook flew over at low level. They are not pressurised like most aircraft, it even had an open window at the front!

This one suddenly appeared over the crest of the Cotswold edge, swooped low into the valley and then chop-chop-chopped over the railway pretty much at treetop level, as you can see from the branches in the bottom corner.

Always very impressive, this.

Trackside now, Tim was working on completing the top row of corbelling on two further bays. We are just under half way with the corbelling now, it's coming along very nicely. Notice also the planking in the foreground, which at this point was almost finished.

In this picture Jim H is bolting down one of the final planks.

This part of the project seemed to go really quickly, because by the end of the day the big planks were all on, along the whole length of the platform, and only a couple of off cuts needed to be added at one end for this job to be ticked off on the list.

This overall view gives a good idea of the vigour with which the corbelling and mortaring as attacked today. It's all happening here. It's a pity we had to stop relatively early, but it's getting colder now, and a frost is announced for this coming night, so we needed to cover up the work and give it a chance to go off.

Another trackside view here, this time showing the corbelling team putting up a wooden strip which helps to achieve the correct level for the first row of bricks.

Here is the end of the day shot (well, 2pm, when we stopped making mortar and yours truly had to divert to a ballast drop at Laverton) and you can see quite clearly that all the planks are on, and this now looks like a platform made entirely of sleepers! Such subterfuge, don't tell anyone.
Most of the corbelling activity has been in the middle and at the far end, with the nearest, southern, end still to be started.

The houses in the distance are those of the little bijou village of Didbrook, where Lucky the Dalmtian lives. This is the nearest village to the site, Hayles Abbey having just the abbey and one or two houses nearby.

This is a view from 'Didbrook 2' - the second bridge out of Toddington. This bucolic scene of Didbrook village shows the farm, grazing sheep outside the door, the church and behind it the towering Cotswold edge. Isn't it lovely?


  1. Super blog Jo . I eagerly await the next one

  2. The Cotswolds do seem to get some wonderful weather. Good use made of it by yourselves - Yes. I know it looks warmer than it actually is. I suffer the same down here in Cornwall. My little dog certainly isn't as keen on going out as in the warmer months and Chihuahuas hate rain! Regards, Paul.

  3. The clue is in my spots - I am not a labrador! Your donuts are yummy so sorry you will not be there on Monday, 26th. Merry Christmas to you all. Lucky.