|The digger begins work at 8am….|
About a week after the labyrinth party, I was telling a neighbour about the plans. Her farmer son dropped by and she asked him if he knew of anyone with a digger. "Sure", he said, "John will do it". He said he would get John to drop by to Tree House in a couple of days' time, which John duly did. A great guy who owned his own JCB and had driven diggers for over 35 years. "Ah, Tony said it would take me a couple of hours, but this will take the best part of a day!" he said… So we had to wait three weeks for his first available Saturday. But it came around quickly and the day dawned… with vertical, horizontal, and spiral rain, and blowing a light hurricane! Happily John was cozy in his heated cab and set to work at 8am.
|Cuppa time, and the banks of earth rise up all about my head…!|
There was a lull in the roaring of the earth-heaving engine each time I went out with cuppas and biscuits, and by 5pm he had finished - what an incredible amount of earth had been moved about! At one 'cuppa moment' I felt really quite overwhelmed as I stood amongst mountains of earth three times my height - it was more like the building of a motorway that a labyrinth! By the end I was watching John manoeuvre his digger like a great caterpillar - well bogged down, he would put out the front bucket and pull himself forwards out of a great hole, at the same time pushing himself forwards with the back scoop like a great grasshopper! It was awesome skill. I saw him delicately move stones with that great bucket, ones no bigger than a hand, yet with the dexterity of a surgeon. I happily handed over his well-earned fee - grateful beyond measure for all the donations to the Tree House Fund that had added up to enough over the previous 3 years. This also meant that everyone had been a part of funding this really unite momentous day and were already part of the labyrinth.
|The wind-proctecitve banks beginning to take shape….|
Later that evening lodger Paul and son Ben joined me in standing on the drive and looking at the great bare earthed site that had been a field just 12 hours before. I don't remember which of then it was who punctured the thoughtful silence with a weighty, "Heck….!" It was indeed quite a sight, and almost totally overwhelming as I looked at the work which would need to be done for the next stage. Yes, it was cleared. Yes, the grass had gone. Yes, there was a 50' level square set within the slope ready to take a 45' diameter labyrinth. Yes, it was flanked on three sides by 8' banks of earth, but it was a good old Cornish situation; stone upon stone upon stone of about 8-10" diameter lying in the tyre-pocked sod. And the stones were going to take some getting out, and the land raked level…..
|Finished….just the matter of all that stone to dig out of the earth!|
But it was a great feeling - it really, really had now begun!
|9 hours' later - the site is ready….|