14 November 2016

Three people in the dig

We were supposed to have been somewhere else. But nobody came with a satisfying suggestion as to where! So even though some people seemed to be getting tired of digging, we went yet again. But the "we" was a small group this time. Our engineers were too needed at work (until late), our roadie was roadying, our car restorer was recovering from a hernia op, our biologist was in the lab, etc etc. David, Paul and I drove up, and wondered if anybody else would show up. Probably not! That rarely happens. Miles had said he might pop down but only if he wasn't too tired. David asked me what I wanted to do; he suggested they would perhaps need three people in their dig, depending on what state they would find it in. I said I was keen to have a look at the Miles dig, but if they needed help I could just swap digs and help them.

It was indeed only us showing up. We walked up and got to the pitch down. I could hear the generator: that meant Miles was down there. Earlier than expected! I dropped my bag at the junction and went in to say hi. And there were two of them! Miles introduced me to his colleague Amanda, whom he had brought in for back-up, as his health was sub-optimal. I told them I had to go back and see what the other dig was like; I may be needed there. I would report back!

The others hadn't even got to their own dig so I slithered in. It looked like a two person job to me! It also looked damn good! This is exciting. I told David I was heading for the other dig, and off I went. By the time I got there Amanda was beyond the squeeze which wasn't a squeeze any longer. She was wiggling rocks loose; we proceeded together. It's amazing what four hands can do that two can't! We made amazing progress together. Whatever we got out was passed back to Miles who got rid of it. Sometimes that involved throwing small stuff in his general direction; sometimes it involved a concerted effort to get massive slabs out of the way. We were doing well!

After a while I suggested a tea break; the others had long run out of supplies (they had been in there since 11AM, while I had only rocked up somewhere between 6:30 and 7PM), but I had one flask with tea and another one with hot water. And I had sandwiches, apples, and even some chocolate. Enough for three! The others looked like they needed it. And I always enjoy a beverage. 

We went back; this time with me beyond the squeeze, Miles in the middle and Amanda getting rid of whatever we passed down. Progress was still good! It was amazing how much space there was. Where before I could only squeeze I could now sit, and even turn around. One rock really still needed blasting but at least like this, the hole-drilling is a lot easier.

We chucked a lot more out until Miles announced they would go home. It had been a long day for them! I said goodbye, and went to the others. They were making progress but were starting to feel the strain; their dig is a lot wetter (and thus colder) than ours. They were not quite done, though; I said I'd go back to the other dig and work on until they would be fed up. They would let me know by shutting down the generator; you can just hear its hum in the far end of the dig so I would notice. I set to work! Even on my own, progress was good. I chucked lots of stuff out. I also noticed a big rock at the end moved. It was so big I could only wiggle it, and not yet move it but I was sure that with more time, and probably a rod for leverage, I could. Good stuff! But then I heard the dig go silent. Time to go out!

I left all the rocks I had chucked into the passage outbye where they were; I still fit through. I would have to clear that out next time! If Miles wouldn't beat me to it. I'm fairly sure we will be back next week! With more excitement!

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