09 November 2016

Last digging for a while

Thursday again; time to dig again! Who needs other mines if you can lie in an uncomfortable and narrow space, drilling holes at impossible angles. I was keen to make progress in the dig! But I was also a bit dazed after my dash to Nottingham (Keyworth).

David volunteered to drive us there; he has the kind of insurance that allows him to drive my car too. That was nice! I had done enough driving for a month as far as I was concerned. He drove my up to my house, where I loaded up my kit (I thought) and drove the tiny distance to the nearby P&R. There we recombined and drove off to Tanygrisiau. In the back we had bags of sand; the blokes in the other dig had come across the need to construct a supporting wall to keep some unsteady bits in place, and for that one needs cement and sand. Tonight we'd deliver the sand, and hopefully the cement the next time. It would be somewhat unpleasant to lug the stuff up the hill, but if that's what it takes...

When we drove up the Crimea pass I commented on David doing that quicker than I ever manage; I expected him to be impatient the next time I would be driving. He said he'd soon cease to be so fast; he approached slow-moving traffic. In no time he recognised Miles' Landrover struggling uphill. We had expected him to already be there, but this was good news: he could drive the sand up the hill!

We left our position behind Miles to retrieve the key from Mick's back garden and drove to the parking lot. We expected to see the Landie again, but no; that made us fear Miles had gone ahead and that we would be too late to offload the sand onto him. Oh dear! Approaching further we saw he'd gone through the gate and was just about to close it. David didn't hesitate, slammed the gas, and drove the car straight in the path of the gate. This way Miles couldn't close it, and couldn't get away! We were saved!

We explained our strange behaviour, put the sand in the Landie, and changed. I realised I had forgot my sandwiches, which worried me a bit; I was already tired and now I would get hungry too. I had forgot my furry suit as well! Add cold to the list! This could be a challenging night. But I just kept my civilian clothes on underneath the suit. We went up, and in, and down. I found Miles struggling with the generator. David had asked for a piece of equipment we had been using in our dig; he wanted it back for the other dig. I went to get it. On the way back I heard a bang. What? That was not the right timing. I was a bit worried, but nothing seemed amiss. I just found a slightly grumpy Miles who figured it had been a cough from the generator. Which still didn't work.

Generator or no, we could get to work; Miles had brought his cordless drill. We decided we'd take turns. He'd drill holes for making the squeeze even bigger, and I would drill holes in rocks further in. Anything getting in the way was a target. Before I went in I kitted further up; any protection you can get in there is a boon. I noticed, however, my one knee pad had broken and ripped the previous time. Oh dear! I had also ripped my suit then (but had actually noticed that, so was wearing a spare), but now I would have to probably do with one knee pad fewer. But this time, I had elbow protection!

I tried drilling in the far end. A challenge! The space is very tight, and you lie on pointy rocks, and I had to lie on my belly pointing the drill obliquely up; all very trying. The rocks were not cooperating either. I drilled the first hole and handed the drill back to Miles. He handed me a box of Maltesers; great! That would keep my sandwich-free body going for a while.The drilling kept me warm, the excitement kept me awake and now the chocolate was keeping me fed. All was well! 

While he drilled his hole I pried rocks out of the floor, to enlarge the space. I chucked these in the direction of the squeeze. When Miles was ready I tried drilling a hole again, while he took all the rocks I had hurled in his direction and took them out of the dig. This way we made excellent progress!

After a while (time flies and such) we had enough shot holes to fill them up. By the time all the charges were in position, secured with filler, and all wired up it was almost ten. We had some tea and cheese and the rest of the Maltesers while the filler set; then it was time to warn the others of imminent blasting. I went to see them but they asked for more time; there was an issue with rocks coming loose where that was unpleasant. They wanted to finish shoring these up before anything else would happen.

I reported back to Miles, who said he had to go and asked me to do the detonation. OK! Then the others started appearing. I went to where the blast would have to be set off. Phil came with me; while he was coming through we heard a bang. He was miffed; had I not waited for him? But it wasn't me! It had been the generator again. Some of the men wouldn't accept defeat and tried to get it going.

When I pressed the button nothing happened. Such a disappointment! We went to see if we saw anything amiss but we didn't. We would just have to report back to Miles!

On the way back in the car it became clear the people in the other dig had decided next week we'd go somewhere else. Some men would go dig again on Sunday, but I figured I had to concentrate on work now, so would give it a miss. The weekend after I would be busy with a visit from the PCG and a rescue training. Some time after that I could return to go on. By that time I would be falling over with cold turkey, I'm sure! But first things first...

(PS the spare suit doesn't have a pocket for the camera, so no pictures this time!)

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