Monday, 14 November 2016

Lucky the Dalmatian

Another one with a radar for food is Lucky, the Dalmatian.
Lucky visits us every morning, accompanied by his master from Didbrook, and times it beautifully (wisely?) with the issue of tea and doughnuts.

First he checks the tea....

Then he checks for doughnuts...
Bingo! Paul has one.

But Paul is hard hearted, and Lucky is left empty handed (or should we say 'empty pawed').

Finally Dave cracks and tosses him half a doughnut, then the other half. They are gone in an eyeblink.

After the obligatory half hour of tea, we set to work on the platform wall, which is looking very solid these days. The weather was mild, and once again we were lucky enough to work outside in the dry, almost in the warm.

Tim and Lyndon continued with the third layer of corbelling. They finished off two more bays today.

John took over as chief mixer today, and almost completely emptied a dumpy bag of sand into 'Minnie'. The mortar was gratefully received by three teams below, on corbelling (two teams) and on block laying (one).

We profited from the mild weather with a decision to close the gap in the wall on to the platform. Who knows if it will start to freeze next week?

Paul T and Paul M laid the blocks in rapid fashion, and after a decent interval yours truly and Dave filled the holes with concrete from above. That now completes the block wall. Access to the platform is now vial a small ladder, the path to the southern end being blocked by the creosoting line for the planks.

Into every life a little rain must fall, and so also into ours - at mid day, a heavy drizzle caught us by surprise (too busy working to look at the sky). We hastily covered the brick laying work up, parked the genny and tools under the bridge, and made a dash for the container.

Whereas it used to be standing room only in the container, there is now actually room to sit 11 volunteers, mainly because the huge pile of planks once stored in there is almost used up, or at least taken down to the platform for cutting and creosoting. The kettle is on the boil, and a heated argument starts over whether it's OK to use the tea money for a bit of petrol  for the mixer. Blows between two protagonists are narrowly avoided, and Paul emerges as victor and secures the money for more doughnuts, and today, sausages and baps for lunch. Phew.

While the teams are brick and block laying, Neal and Dave spent the day on planks, which you can here see being drilled through, so that the holes are all in the same place.

Dave being left handed, Neal brought in a  little wrinkle for him to use when drilling, a drill bit with a left handed cutting thread. Works a treat!

Minnie the mixer behaved badly today, threw a wobble, and a wheel fell off! I ask you, such behaviour. We shall have to tempt her into submission with an extra helping of cement dust, which she likes to use to blow smoke rings at us.

No trains again today, things are very quiet and the tracks acquired a thin layer of rust during the day, the result of the lunchtime drizzle no doubt.

At the end of the day, the platform looked like this. The blockwork is finished and the gap closed. Corbelling is making steady progress, and a third pallet of blues was delivered, and opened. John is painting the planks, while Neal and Dave spent the day cutting and measuring, so that on the woodwork all the planks have now been cut to size, and all the uprights bar one fixed into place. Next week all that remains here is to screw them into place.

A tempting meal of peanut butter was left on a little wooden platform for Mickey the mouse... there was no sign of him this week (last week we plugged the obvious holes in the container floor) - but next week we will know if he came in for his final meal or not.


  1. Such an entertaining and informative blog

  2. Shades of the 'Dalmatian Express' no doubt!! I can use a drill in either hand but I've never considered a left twist drill bit!; one does live and learn! The halt is coming on nicely now. I can hear the whistle already to alert passengers to the trains arrival. Well done - especially in the worsening weather. Regards, Paul.

  3. Left-handed drill bits (and drills) used to be used in factories to avoid the temptation of taking them home.

  4. Will you be planting pine trees round the site ?

    1. No, check out the old pictures of the halt, the site had no trees.

  5. Good work chaps- great progress!, and so pleased to see my dads left handed skills are coming in useful- all those years of asking me to get left handed screwdrivers and hammers for him... keep up the good work all, Andy Price (Devon)

  6. Grandioso trabajo, bajo la atenciĆ³n de Lucky!