The intercom on the gate sets off a buzzer in the kitchen.
“Hi, it’s Ben. Can I drop off the Swing Shovel?”
“Of course.” I had no idea what a Swing Shovel was. Except that it must be a pretty big spade to warrant a special delivery. They were not due to start until tomorrow. What came trundling down the drive was the cutest little mechanical digger you could ever wish to see. Its big sister, the Swing Shovel, followed close behind. A road builder’s dumper truck completed the line.
The following morning, Ben and Simon stood and surveyed the scene.
A dead tree currently marked the spot. The site of our new Water Treatment Plant. They tied a rope to the tree, then to the dumper and slammed the latter into reverse. Fifty times quicker and considerably more straightforward than our most recent (still vividly memorable) exploit with a tree.
Nothing for it then but to let the Swing Shovel get to work. We watched in awe as the machine ate up what had, until a few minutes earlier, been the turning circle at the bottom of our drive. About a third of that space gave itself up to the hole. But it didn’t end there..
It’s difficult to appreciate scale from the photo but that heap is at least two, if not three times the volume of the hole that produced it. The job of hauling it all away had been in the original quote, until we deleted it to make the job cheaper. Eeep. They spent the rest of the morning fully excavating the hole. Gravel went into the bottom to level it, ready to receive concrete as a base for the tank. So far, so good.
“Damn.” Given the circumstances, I thought Ben showed quite admirable restraint.
Cute as the baby digger was, it was just too wide to fit through the gap in the wall leading back to the house. Drains needed to be laid all along this path. Pick axe and hand shovel then.. tomorrow’s work would be slow going indeed..