When looking back over blogs, what tends to be forgotten so easily in the mists of time are the surrounding events that provides more of a context to proceedings. Thus, this year's restoration of Manor farm, Fleet Hill farm and Chandlers farm has rumbled on against a background of
- Covid-19 pandemic, with the government's total mishandling
- A US election, seeing an sociopathic, tantrum, child not getting re-elected, then throwing a hissy fit by embarking on a coup attempt worthy of the very worst of dictators.
- Brexit negotiations finalised at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the twelfth month, when bumbling Boris blinked and caved in.
- We were to witness some of the very best of the British spirit in coping with the pandemic, along with, it has to be said, some of the worst.
Through it all, when they could, the unsung work force of Inert, Cemex and haulage firms kept up their restoration of Manor farm.
Which brings us to this, last entry, of 2020. Well, nothing has happened. I held off a weekend report as last week's site visit (Wednesday, 23rd December) revealed a silent Manor farm, with gates across the bailey bridge firmly locked. The latter being a bit of a laugh, as there is a large section fencing, near the sewage works, that has fallen over.
There was the possibility that some work was happening on Chandlers farm, as I heard machinery noise coming from the direction of the old works building.
My site visit yesterday (Wednesday 30th December) proved another silent one, both on Manor farm and Chandlers farm. Water levels were high, the south footpath particularly saturated, but funnily enough the south vehicle track looked rather dry. Perhaps Cemex/Inert decided it best to shut down for two weeks. It should be interesting to see which Tier the various areas are going to be in next week, and whether plant operators are permitted back to work. We shall see.
I have a feeling that the yellow road bridge has disappeared. It might be my imagination, but I am sure I missed it as I headed east, but then forgot to check on my way back west as I headed for my car.
Well, that's me signing off for the year. I will only starting posting when Inert et al return to Manor farm.
This should be interesting. Manor farm, Berkshire, is in Tier 4. Chandlers farm, south of the Blackwater, is in Hampshire, Hart district and in Tier 2. Therefore, Inert and lorry drivers are, technically, in breach of lockdown rules every time they cross the bailey bridge from north to south. :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) Though in actuality, their not, along with the other key workers who have to cross the Blackwater.
Seriously, what a laugh.
My Wednesday stomp revealed Inert back at work, with a bulldozer and digger very much in evidence. I was a bit perplexed as to what the digger was up to. It would trundle up and down the south vehicle track, stopping and rotating its cab, before trundling up and down again. I thought perhaps it was limbering up, before getting down to work.
Soon all was revealed. It was making holes in embanking that run along the side of the south vehicle track. These holes were drainage channels, hopefully allowing the large quantity of water and liquid mud to escape off the south vehicle track and onto the south footpath, and hence the Blackwater.
As for our bulldozer driver. He had smashed down a lot of the spoil heaps I saw last week, when all was quiet. On Wednesday, he was pushing the spoil eastward into Cormorant lake south.
I was unable if he pushed stuff northward, as I didn't make a site visit on the weekend. Saturday was pouring with rain, virtually all day, with some pretty heavy duty stuff in the early hours of the morning. I fore went a Sunday visit, as I knew the underfoot conditions were likely to be pretty bad, and I didn't want to chance the south vehicle track being under two feet of mud/water - despite the best efforts of the digger.
The ground would have been very soft, as the pump did not appear to be on; yet again. There was a lot of surface water, and a big large puddle (going on pond) between the copse and my mighty mound.
Oh, there were no lorries on site on Wednesday.
We appear to be living in truly interesting if not historic times. King/emperor/tsar/Caesar Trump chewing on carpets, Brexit negotiations going down the pan, and the Covid-19 vaccine being doled out, we look to Manor farm for some welcome news.
Sorry to say, but it's all bad here as well. My Wednesday morning stomp revealed nothing. Absolutely nothing. The entire site, Manor farm and Chandlers farm, were as quiet as a morgue on a quiet night. The gates across the bailey bridge were firmly shut/locked. No sign of life anywhere.
As quick look at various tracks and spoil heaps indicated that now further work had happened since my weekend stomp. It looked as if Inert had packed up bags and shop and shipped out. Very odd.
One thought did spring to mind, as I witnessed this desolate scene on Wednesday: perhaps everyone has had to self isolate due to Covid-19. If that is so then I wish them all a speedy and safe recovery.
I think the pump was chugging away, it was hard to tell, and I didn't have time or inclination to wander over to find out. There was a boulder sorter outer, perched high up on a mighty mound just inside Chandlers farm (this mound has been present since before I started this blog), but it too was silent.
Oh well, on to next week's mid week stomp to see if there is any activity or if all stays ominously silent.
In case you haven't twigged, I didn't pay a site visit this weekend. No point if no work has occurred, and I most definitely did not want to wade through deep mud for nowt.
With Brexit negotiations stalled, the electoral colleges to finish their certification on Tuesday, the only brightness is the news that the Pizer covid-19 vaccine will be dished out, allegedly, starting this Tuesday. That remains to be seen, given this government's track record of promising much but delivering little, and cocking things up along the way.
I did not make a mid-week site visit. Too busy. Therefore did not see where the theatre of operations were. I almost didn't visit on Sunday, as it was very foggy where I live. Still, I gave it a go and was mildly surprised to see virtually no fog on Manor farm.
I elected to storm around the south footpath, to get to my mighty mound and the reversing track. I didn't fancy fighting my way through wellington deep mud. As it was it was quite tricky getting on to the south vehicle track, due to deep mud the consistency of porridge bordering the edges of the track.
Inert appear to have dumped a whole load of stuff at the north end of the reversing track on the land mass. I can't work out how much stuff has been bulldozed, if any. I think it has, but due to a deluge on Thursday and high lake levels, I did not venture onto the very soft, very muddy land mass. I stuck to the vehicle tracks.
On my way back to the south footpath, I glanced east and noticed that there were piles of spoil around the pump station. Once again, I eschewed walking along the mud sodden south vehicle track, instead got back onto the south footpath and walked down it to the bailey bridge.
Sure enough, Inert have been working around the pump station, dumping loads of stuff and bulldozing it around. I have no idea when this took place as I have remiss of visiting this area of late. I can say that this is a very recent occurrence.
Oh, the pump was off. Seems off more than on, these days. Spectacularly high water levels as a result, and amazingly boggy ground.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.