Sunday, 6 July 2014

The digger comes to dig…..

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….

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