Monday, 13 March 2017

The base goes in

A glorious day today, which we decided to celebrate with an extensive sit on the patio, in the sun with our tea and doughnuts.

Well, until interupted by Lucky the Dalmatian, which wasn't very long.

He has this rather intimidating stare, which makes the victims recoil and hold the doughnut higher and higher. This only servers to intensify Lucky's stare!

Then it was off down the ramp, now nice and dry, and no more boots caked in mud for us, with this warming spring weather. There was a major committee meeting about the size of the slab for the shelter. Arms and indeed voices were raised. Drawings were consulted, tape measures rolled out, heads scratched. Last week's avant-garde designer Jim H was now on holiday, so could not be questioned. Finally Paul cut to the chase and decided to start all over again. With John on the sledgehammer, the corner post was rammed in a second time for a fresh start.

The planks used for the shuttering turned out to be too long, so Tim and Dave found a useful sawbench to cut the ends off.

More and more posts were hammered in, until we had a twin wall shuttering construction in place.

The idea is to have a ring beam under the shelter. This will have a row of bricks on it inside, so that any rainwater will always stay outside. Then there will be a second pour of concrete for the middle, which is the actual floor of the building.

About mid morning, a train with a stock movement swept past. It was not a regular service train, but an interesting collection of stock. The first was a 'Buffet Restaurant Car', which was followed by what looked like a full brake, and another vehicle named 'Gillian', and finally another open carriage. A bit hard to all take in when peering through a lens. We also felt rather proud that our platform was visibly in the right place, as we were not able to detect any ominous scrapings as the train went by.

After this little 'frisson' of excitement, we extended the shuttering activity to edging of the path down the slope, which needed some fettling at the bottom where the level didn't look quite right.

Do these two boards need to be level with each other? Does it matter if they are not?

This will become a gravelled path when it's finished.

After a bit of hard shovelling, Peter and Paul take a rest on that handy rail down the path.

It really is at a perfect height for taking five, and a chat about stuff.

With the shuttering finally complete and indeed satisfactory, Tim and Dave D fill the outer ring with some reinforcing. This is needed, as it is the ring that will bear the weight of the shelter, which is no featherweight with all that thick, old fashioned corrugated iron on it.

By the way, we are going to repair the lower edge of the shelter, as it it rather moth eaten, and Tim will be making new angle iron ends for the 4 corner posts, which we discovered are all of different lengths, and so can't really do their job.

Then there was another toot, and the train with the carriages came back. What? Oh, these are different carriages. OK.... it seems that this is a positionning movement for the race trains. Two of the volunteers at Hayles also volunteer on the race specials, serving drinks. They also work on the PWay, so we are multi taskers!

After lunch, we could no longer avoid the unavoidable, so Minnie was kick started into life and we started the heavy duty travail of making concrete, and lots of it.

We had two guys on making the stuff, and two on barrows ferrying it down the slope, where two more were shovelling it into the shuttering for the ring.

This is what it looks like from above. First of all we filled the space half way, and then pulled the reinforcement matting through it. A second layer was then poured on top, so putting the reinforcement matting in the middle.

Here are Peter and Dave P busy with the second layer.

In the foreground, they have already got to the top, and levelled it off.

It's quite interesting to watch, isn't it? So thought all of the others, who gradually migrated down to observe the last load going in, and being smoothed off.
Some rubble has been found for the middle, which we will cast next time.

Finally, as we had half a barrow of mix left over at the end of the day, we decided to make good use of it on the penultimate handrail post, which got a bit of a nudge from the mini digger when Steve sorted out the site last week.

He did fess up to what he'd done, so we gave him a cup of tea and a bacon butty to show that we didn't really mind. Honesty is the best policy, after all.

These posts are not easy to get in, as they have to be not only vertical, but also at the same angle for the hole supporting the handrail as all the others.
Here Paul has the important job of holding the line, while Tim holds the level to make sure it's vertical. When we're happy, the hole is filled with concrete and we are allowed home to conclude the day.


  1. I'm worried about the height of the rail down the path. It might be right now but by the time you add the finishing gravel it could be to low!!!!!

  2. Looking better and better! It's remarkable what good weather can help to achieve isn't it? Great work. Regards, Paul.

  3. Will the hut have electricity to run my kettle when I move in?(LOL!) great work done there and the quality of workmanship is exceptional. BTW will the gravel be compacted down to stop it "sliding" down the slope? Also will it be firm enough for wheelchair users? Just a thought.
    Paul & Marion

    1. No mains in the shelter, I'm afraid, although we are thinking about a discreet solar panel somewhere to run two lamps on the platform.
      The slope is not very steep.
      I don't think that the gravel will be so deep as to affect the height of the rail. We have a limited budget, after all.

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  4. It will be difficult to make a solar panel discrete, as it needs to be exposed to sunlight, also a rechargeable battery needs to be housed somewhere, but if low wattage 12volt led lamps are used, which can be put inside a period tradition fitting, the solar panel and battery need not be very large

  5. Paul, sorry you will have to use butane gas to boil your kettle

  6. OK Steve, I will make do with the camping stove(LOL) oor stop a train for some hot water!!!
    Paul & Marion.