These weeks are anything but normal, though come to think of it, I don't know what is “normal” at the Briddon Country Pile. On Monday Steph and I headed back to darkest Norfolk to return our grandson from his long weekend with us, and although there was muttered talk of “doing some work at the shed after you get back” there wasn't really much chance of it.
According to the counting system within the software that runs Weekend Rails, this is the 200th edition of the blog, which began back in July 2010 on Railnuts. It has become a part of the Briddon family tradition over that time: indeed, we often find ourselves hunting back through it as a means of checking dates when things happened. If you are a new reader, feel free to trip back down my memory lane. If you have been with me for all or most of that time – well, I'm touched, but you should consider getting out more!!
I'll open tonight's missive with some photos courtesy of Toby, one of our colleagues from Scunthorpe. I said a week or two ago that “Tom” had been out on the plant with some real wagons to play with, and that I should have a video soon to upload. Well, all being well the vid will be uploaded this evening, but here's a few stills from the day.
As we drove back this evening, Andrew and I were trying to work out exactly what we did each day this week and were struggling to slot it all into place. The trouble is, he has had the week off (although you wouldn't believe it from the number of phone calls he's taken) and I had sort of agreed that I would keep pace with him, so let's see if I can get it right and in logical order.
As usual there's a hec of a lot to get through, so here goes....
Aaah, where to begin. So many disparate threads this week. Welcome to the first blog of April. Again, my apologies to those of you who had difficulty last week. Some little s*d managed to get into the site and added a “script” that put the server into a tizz. Other ISPs latched on and blocked access and it took a number of hours for the good news to filter through after it was fixed. Indeed, one reader phoned me Monday afternoon to say he could get it on his phone, but his office computer still insisted the site was down. Ah well, all passwords have been changed, all computers scanned for malware and I will remain vigilant.
Work resumed at Darley Dale on Monday with the gable ends, side purlins and various concrete panels still to complete. A framework for the personnel door at the side was duly incorporated, but a framework for the other door, which goes at the far end between the planned roller shutters, is not yet ready leaving that end of the building strangely skeletal.
I headed back down to Rowsley on Monday afternoon and even as I got there, Chris the haulier was there with several lengths of nice long I beam which will make the final stanchions for the shed ends. We unloaded the pieces alongside the shed and off he went. When Andrew got home from work, he headed on down and we dragged the welder half out of the large workshop doors by which means the cables just reached the beams, and he could weld on the base plates. This was an entertaining practice, trying to line the plates up and get them somewhere about square (we fall back on the plus or minus 10mm tolerance of structural steel!) and in the near dark.
So, there we were on Monday having a quick meeting with the contractor and reviewing progress to date. We are all agreed that the floor design wants modifying, and that none of us can work out exactly how we are supposed (in reality) to get the DPM to go the way the drawings show it, so I have gone back to the Structural Engineers with fresh drawings and asked them to come up with an alternative scheme. Meanwhile I was sorting out the personnel doors, and the concrete panels that will form the inside walls of the building up to head height. We had agreed with the contractor that work would commence on the steelwork on the 17th February, and I planned deliveries accordingly.
There are times when the wide range of people now reading this blog comes home to me. Like when one day this week, Andrew popped down to Darley to recover something from the container, and as he left and was locking the gate, was engaged in conversation by a man walking his dog. After revealing that he (the dog-walker) is a lapsed Peak Rail member and asking after the site clearance taking place (sidings, it seems he helped lay) he suddenly declared “oh, you must be Andrew Briddon” - and that he regularly reads this blog.
The phone line between the Briddon Country Pile and the Structural Engineers got warm at the beginning of the week. Far from picking up an old drawing, as I had thought, the burying of the foundation pads below ground level in fact had a very important and insurmountable reason - the damp-proof membrane.