Don’t Try This At Home
A couple of days before Lanhydrock, the Water Treatment installation was a wrap.
With the tank set safely in the ground, the drains and the pipework laid, all that remained was to connect it up to the mains. The large discs inside the tank, on which the biomass would grow, began their lazy perpetual turn and the lid was securely screwed down. But it couldn’t just be left at that. Ben had laid the foundation beams all around the tank. It was our job to finish it all off.
We’d already taken delivery of the railway sleepers to cover it. And just as well given the weather forecast. They had been crane unloaded half way down the drive, to the same area as the removal men had eventually brought their van. But if we were to get our day off, we would have to work fast. Between us, we tried to lift one of the 85kg solid oak beams. It slithered about an inch across the top of the pile. Only another 50 yards to go then..
Mike had a solution. Just before we’d moved into the house he had made a fortuitous purchase. A sack trolley and a flat bed on wheels, all rolled into one. We would use this to transport the beam. He drilled two large metal ‘eyes’ into each end of the sleeper and attached a rope. With gargantuan effort we managed to lower the beam down on to the trolley. Mike used another length of rope to lash it securely into place.
Now, the path down to the tank is on a steep slope…
If I’d thought the attachment of wheels to the beam solved our problem I’d need to think again. The strength needed to control the trolley as it descended the hill was immense. It took the combined weight of both of us, hanging on to the back of the truck, to slow its speed and attempt to steer. The first sleeper, and the second, made the journey safely enough.
The third was a different story. I don’t remember exactly how we came to lose it. Possibly one of us tripped on the steps that serve to further enliven any travel along this path. But without warning the trolley was ripped from our hands. A battering ram now went careering off down the slope. And in its path, in almost perfect alignment, the cob (mud) wall of the house.
All we could do was stand and stare.
Well, I must have done something right in a former life. By some miracle the trolley hit a bump on the path and veered off course. As it tipped forward, the front end of the beam struck concrete and the whole ensemble juddered to a halt. Just two feet short of the house gable wall.