But before we tell the tale, here is the weather report:
Another car headlight emerges from the gloom.
It's another volunteer, right? Erm...
Believe it or not, 11 of them turned up today, they must be mad. It was so cold that we could not lay any bricks, so it must be the friendly atmosphere that brings them in, weather or no.
|Got any doughnuts? Or I shan't be your friend.|
There was much tinkering with a reluctant gas fitting, but eventually we had the kettle on the boil, and the early morning doughnuts out.
Lucky the Dalmatian then appeared. He inspected the site for any spare food most thoroughly.
|The olefactory organ signals that buns be in here.|
As a dog, Lucky has a nose which is 10.000 times (!) more efficient than a human's. He swept the site in seconds, with merciless efficiency.
The site was finally declared doughnut free, but a frozen scrap of bacon from last week was found, and a source of currant buns, hidden in a bricklayer's bucket, was revealed.
Oi, get outta there, you scoundrel!
Dave's kindness was immediately rewarded with a mug of tea and a bun, which seems to have been well appreciated.
An army marches on its stomach, or something equivalent for Telehandler drivers.
Then came the exciting bit, as a toot was heard in the distance:
It was our first train ever stopped at Hayles Abbey halt!
The 'passengers' were carefully removed by Dave P in the telehandler. Initially we thought we'd put them on the trackbed, wait for the train to go, and then stack them on the platform.
With 11 volunteers today, there was quite a crowd of spectators. Well, the delicate removal of the piles was indeed very interesting.
Julian was an expert banksman, and directed Dave P, inch by inch, how to lift the piles and remove the forks from underneath at awkward angles. All achieved faultlessly too.
Then we had a better idea: Lift up a stack, pause, wait for the train to reverse......
.... then advance to the platform when it's gone!
Much more efficient.
Soon the platform was filled with about 100ft worth of slabs, enough for about half the job.
It was decided to spend a while testing our method for placing the slabs.
Two slings were finally decided upon, as we need something that can be withdrawn from underneath once the slabs are down.
Dave is not sure about what is going on at the end of his forks..... what are they up to?
Here is a trial fitting on the platform wall, without any mortar (too cold....). Paul explains how it's all going to work.
If you read The Cornishman, you might recall a 1905 photograph a couple of numbers ago of Winchcombe station being finished. It showed a stack of slabs on platform 1, and two men with cloth caps placing them on the wall of platform 2. Yes, two men! We have the Telehandler now, an ideal machine with its precise controls, and an expert at the wheel.
For an amusing interlude, we received BPS again with more supplies. A couple of extra planks were needed, some extra bits of wood, and most importantly, the pipework for the handrails that will lead from the field down to the platform.
The pipes will be threaded through posts as per original - check out the old photograph! We will get it just right.
After building the wall round the northern catchpit, it became apparent that an extra ring would be better here to better prevent any ballast from falling in. This ring was fitted today, together with its three concete slabs on top.
Here Neal is fitting the three concrete covers.
Afterwards, the planking was screwed back on the front, so that it looks like a sleeper built wall again. Very neat.
No mice in the trap today.
Was this what was going on while we were away?
Whn the cat's away, the mice will play