Saturday, 21 January 2012
In a big sense the project turns a corner on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the first delivery of new building materials turns up, underlining the fact that we are moving from destruction to construction. This is the crushed stone sub-base material which will be compacted down with a 'whacker-plate" as the bottom layers of the new ground floors. Called '804' for some reason nobody seems clear on, this stuff also gives us a new character in our cast, 804-Pete, the delivery driver. He turns out to also own a mini-digger and volunteers to scrape the mud off the drive and get rid of the rubble and clay mountain for us for a reasonable payment. We loves 804-Pete!
The 804 turns up in the morning but we are not really ready for it, so it gets tipped in the drive. Sparks and Dad have several gruelling hours across a couple of days yet, shovelling clay and trying to get down to the magic 17 inches below original floor level. Neither of them are particularly young or fit, so it's taking its toll. They ache in places they didn't know they had by evening and are barely able to galvanise back into action the next morning. When it rains the clay gets sticky too, especially out on the waste pile so they are slithering around with clay clagging their boots, the wheel barrow wheels and the shovels. By popular concensus this is the worst job and these are the worst days. Cheating a bit, they actually tried to engage some of Sparks's "Polish lads" for a couple of days but the lads did not want to play.
By Wednesday afternoon though, they have broken the back of it and the kitchen and living room are down at the right level, along with part of the dining room. With floods of relief they turn from shovelling clay uphill, to shovelling the lovely slippery 804 down hill to form an 4 inch layer all across the house, ready to be whacker-plated down. Suddenly the shovels do not stick, the barrows move easily and their boots are walking on glistening crushed stone instead of clay. Joy! A corner has been turned. We are BUILDING instead of breaking and demolishing things! There are a few bits of wrecking still to do, but we have seen that first glimmer of light!