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.


Don't Try This At Home

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2017-11-06T20:49:41+00:00September 25th, 2012|Tags: |


  1. Simone September 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    My goodness! The main thing is that you are both ok and that it didn’t end up in the house! I was on the edge of my seat reading this!!!

    • Jessica September 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      I know. Why is nothing ever easy?!

  2. where the journey takes me September 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    Gripping tale!! – sounds like it was a bit ‘Elf and Safety’ and you were both very lucky not to have extreme damage done to either your house or yourselves. I can’t wait to find out what challenges we face when we come to install our tank – though luckily our garden is on the flat but the deliveries are often left at the top of the lane and we end up walking planks of wood down too!

    • Jessica September 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Just make sure you tell us all about it!

  3. john September 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    this is how the Pyramids were made?

    • Jessica September 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Quite possibly. Certainly we have our own pyramid, a similarly shaped large heap of earth. I still don’t know where it’s all going to go..

  4. Rosie September 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Oh, my goodness, disaster averted! Your hearts must have been in your mouths as you watched that trolley gain speed down the slope towards your home!

    • Jessica September 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      Mike tried running after it, but we could hardly hold on to it when it was going slow. He had to let go or be dragged along with it.

  5. starproms September 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    A smile crept across my face as I read that! Not that I want to laugh at the expense of others mind; but it just sounded so funny. Why do things happen like that when you’re trying to be so careful?

    • Jessica September 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      Probably because you’re trying too hard to be careful!

  6. Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden September 27, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Crikey. You two take care for goodness sake. Thanks so much for your comment on Kitty’s birthday post by the way 🙂

    • Jessica September 27, 2012 at 11:30 am - Reply

      I know. But we could only shave £5K off the bill by doing a lot of the work ourselves. Live and learn!

      I hope Kitty had a really good day.

  7. Penny September 29, 2012 at 6:27 am - Reply

    I’m SO glad you found me ! What a wonderful Blog to follow now. Do you know of Sue ” Our New life in the Country ” Blog ? She’s on my sidebar if you want to visit.

    Kitten has been double trouble since we got him !

    • Jessica September 29, 2012 at 9:17 am - Reply

      I’ll look it up, thanks Penny. And a very warm welcome to rusty duck. Re kitten.. aaahh, you’d think butter wouldn’t melt..!

  8. Sue September 30, 2012 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Brilliant, you two sounds so much like us, it’s a wonderful adventure this beginning from scratch isn’t it.

    We’ve got more of it to come when we finally find our forever home.

    Sue xx

    • Jessica September 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      It certainly is. It has its ups and downs (we house-hunted for three years) but I wouldn’t change it now!

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