Cue violins. Cue sympathy. Our boiler packed up on Wednesday; no heating or hot water. The earliest British Gas can get to us is Dec 27th. It's actually better than the three weeks the previous time. So much for BG HomeCare; to quote from their site "We've got a range of HomeCare products to help keep your home warm and working." Honestly, that animated penguin should be shot and stuffed, and the millions of pounds of advertising budget used to hire more gas engineers. At least it is mild.
Actually it reminds us of our childhoods. Only the living room got heated, scraping ice off the insides of windows, curled up tightly under bed covers in the morning trying to get the last therm of warmth out of a hot water bottle before taking the plunge to ooze out of bed to get a fire started. As for hot running water - that's what a kettle on a stove was for.
Right, enough ranting and reminiscing, on with the serious stuff. Suitably attired for a dark, dank, drizzly morning, I sallied forth while attempting not to get too sullied.
This week it is all about mud. Endless photos of mud, all churned up by the heavy plant trundling around the reserve; with ruts so deep you could loose a small dog in them. Walking around the site gives you a tiny, minuscule idea of what it must have been like in the trenches. I found it quite sobering.
Cemex have been very active around the south shoreline of Finch pond, the yellow bridge and the western area adjacent to the copse. The land here has been extended further into Finch pond by dint of scraping roughly 2' (60cm) of soil and bulldozing it into the water. Least ways that's what it looks like to me.
They have also been at work attacking some of the earth banks bordering the south footpath, reducing one of the rubble piles in the process. There has been much movement of heavy plant along the track ways - three of them now. The soil has taken such a pounding it has turned into a fine goo not unlike cake mixture. It sticks instantly to everything like epoxy resin. My progress was slowed further this week as I would test any bit of suspicious looking mud before putting my full weight on to it just in case it was a miniature quagmire.
With the pump off, water levels continue to rise; possibly as much as a foot - 30cm in new money - since last week. Cormorant island has almost disappeared.
I still do not understand the grand plan of this restoration. An example this week is that more of the new stream bed, so recently cut by Cemex, has been obliterated. It kind of goes against my engineering grain, all this to and fro, destroying stuff already done or redoing stuff destroyed.
Personally, I would be very surprised if anything happens on the site next week. It makes sense to close the works down for a week. The bulldozer has certainly been packed away. Fear not, dear reader, I will take a peek next week.
A final thought before we press on with the slideshow. The wildlife do not appear particularly concerned about the machinery trundling around the site. They are, however, quite nervous about humans. Would the ultimate disguise for this reserve be a square-ish yellow outfit, with a flashing amber light strapped to your head, all the while emitting trunk rumbling noises?
Actually, a final, final thought. The photos seem a little out of focus this week. I can't work out if it was due to the murky light I had this morning or if it had something to do with my muddy encounter last week with the subsequent cleaning of my DLSR.