A Rather Large Hole

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..



A Very Large Hole

pin it?


2017-11-06T20:47:26+00:00September 19th, 2012|Tags: |


  1. John September 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    It looks like fun,!
    Men do love their toys

    • Jessica September 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      The bigger the better..

  2. Josephine September 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    It’s coming along nicely, that’s a LOT of work !
    We have a septic tank installed, the hole looked very much like yours….HUGE.
    Layers of rock, and then one very large concrete tank, hundreds of feet of field lines, which zig-zag across the field, and remain mind-boggling bright green, despite the Summer drought.
    “The grass is always greener over the septic tank ” ~ Erma Bombeck.

    • Jessica September 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      Crikey – now that does sound like a lot of work! Presumably you can’t plant over the field lines. They’d come on a treat!

  3. john September 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    you old flirt

    • Jessica September 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Less of the old.

  4. Rosie September 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    My goodness, what a lot of work! It does look like a major upheaval:)

    • Jessica September 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      The scale of it reminds me of your photos of the Richard III dig in Leicester!

  5. Julie September 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, my goodness that’s a big hole! 😀

    • Jessica September 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      I wish our photo of the heap of earth that came out of it adequately captured the scale.. I did say I wanted some topsoil kept for raised beds, but this is ridiculous!

      Welcome to rusty duck, Julie.

  6. starproms September 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I think you should charge entry to watch what’s going on in your backyard these days. It is so interesting.

    • Jessica September 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Now there’s a thought..!!

  7. Natalie September 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Wow, that’s quite the production. I’m sifting through all your posts to get the full story. 🙂

    • Jessica September 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      More of a production than I’d thought!

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