By lunch time however, the sun was so hot that we sat on the terrace in short sleeves. Lovely. Come mid afternoon, it was cold and windy again, so jacket back on. It's that time of year.
We hired in 2 larger dumpers, 2 tonners. The idea was to dump the spoil among the trees at the top, but it was difficult getting up there without alarming tilts of the machinery, so JC had to sort out a path for us first.
We set out the site with spikes, and here the first bucket loads are being taken away.
Manoeuvering off the platform and up under the trees remained tricky, and one dumper driver even got stuck up there, while attempting a three point turn. Four wheel drive too!
The work quickly drew a crowd...
The problem eventually was that the diggings slowly turned from light ash to solid clay, and that proved impossible to spread. Hence we ended up with a level run for a few yards, terminating in a large pile of pure clay, untouched for 400m years. Need to sort that pile out next week with a machine.
As the day progressed we did quite well though, and in this picture you can see that quite a lot has been dug out already.
Bob is checking the depth with Tony - up a bit, down a bit, along a bit. Like ' Bernie the Bolt'.
It is tempting to wonder if Tony was aware that JC was about to give him a little nudge from above. Move over, Tony !
Those slabs of concrete multiplied. We have no idea what that was, or used to be, but underneath was an unexpected cable that we nicked, requiring a phone call to Neill Carr to make sure everything was still working. It was, but it will need repair.
Fast forward to today, and a number of covers were mysteriously lower down again, and at a tilt. Oh.
Another phenomenon observed was that the lamp posts had received a coat of paint, and that there were boot marks on the inspection covers. Could there be a connection?
Next week, we will be on the 2 dumpers again, and will spread out more of the subsurface layer to even out the final profile of the platform surface, before the tarmac layer is in. 60 tons of chippings have been ordered for the day.
Question of the day:
What is this:
It came out of the ash layer exposed by the 45T excavator at Broadway. It's about the size of a large can of lager. It seems to be a pottery vessel, filled with graphite and an electrode, so presumably a battery. But what is its connection with the railway? There were several in the ash; this is the most complete one.
This one also came out of the same ash, which is a bit of a treasure trove.
It's about the size of a milk bottle, with a small spout. Note the inscription around the bottom:
GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY
It's probably an ink bottle, but surprisingly large. Other, smaller ink bottles also came up (in glass, SWAN brand).
What would the railway do with ink? Was it for the ribbon of the date stamping machines? Or did the ticket clerks write a lot?
Initially we thought that the items, mostly restaurant car china, were swept out of the kitchen car of the Race Specials parked at Broadway, but this ink bottle, and the 'CHELTENHAM SPA sign shown last week leads us to believe that the source might be Cheltenham Spa station itself (St James, that is) where it was thrown on the ash pile that was eventually disposed of by tipping it down the embankment at Broadway.
Knowledge or opinions/guesses about these items and their origins are welcome.