Two Working Parties

Well today has been one of those incredibly productive days where enormous amounts of jobs get done. But it’s even better when everyone joins together to get these things done. This morning, we had arranged for several of us to meet by Plot 8 to move the greenhouse backwards towards the shed to widen the path.

As Rachel got started removing the brackets which attached the frame to the wooden base. The majority of the screws were completely rusted and refused to budge even when liberally coated in WD40. Judicious use of a crow bar and hammer soon sorted that out!

With the base freed, Cliff and Rachel used spades to lift the base at the front and Geoff and Derek slid planks underneath ready to slide the greenhouse backwards. Once we had everything in place, Cliff, Derek and Geoff pushed from the front whilst I made sure the base of the frame was moving smoothly on the planks. Between us, we moved the greenhouse back about a foot.

Stopping to review our progress, Geoff measured how far we had moved the greenhouse. He worked out that if we pushed it back another foot, we could put down a few 2″ x 2″ slabs to ensure the wider path was properly paved. Rachel and I went down to the car park with the trolley to collect the slabs from the car park, leaving Cliff and Geoff to sort out the flower bed. With the greenhouse pushed back, the flower bed needed to be shifted too. We dug out the border slabs and Cliff lifted a slab by the back of the shifted greenhouse. Using a spade, we cleared the soil away and replaced the bed border and replanted the chives.

Between Cliff and Geoff, they levelled the soil by the front of the greenhouse and put down the slabs. The site is due a delivery of supplies to build the middle path and we can use a little of the cement to secure the slabs permanently into place. For good measure, Geoff tried out the new wider path on his scooter. It looked so much easier (and safer!).

We all sat down to survey our work armed with a cup of tea. The general consensus was that we had done an excellent job!

Rachel and Derek headed off to their own plots and Geoff zoomed off home leaving Cliff and I to organise the next job. Yesterday, I found someone online who was giving away ten 3″ x 2″ slabs. We worked out that if we used Cliff’s trailer and roped in Will, we could collect them easily enough. As I ambled across the site, I came across Bertie who decided to come and say hello today which was unexpected and lovely!

These things always seem so easy when you plan them! I met Cliff in the evening in the car park and helped him attach the trailer. Next, we drove across to pick up Will who brought his trolley to help move the slabs. New build estates are irritating with no logical ordering of house numbers so it took a while to find the right house. Eventually, we found it and starting the mammoth job of shifting the slabs from the gentleman’s back garden to the trailer. As Will and Cliff got busy, I stopped to chat to the gentleman. Incredibly, his sheds in the back garden house some truly exotic animals including over twenty pythons, and much to my utter amazement, two Cayman!

By the time we had eight slabs on the trailer and three breeze blocks, the trailer was struggling. We arranged to go back another day to collect the remaining slabs and meet the Cayman. By now it was completely dark and we drove back to the site carefully – Cliff’s car was working hard! Our initial idea was to leave all the slabs on the trailer and just unhook the trailer from the car. The weight of the slabs was enormous. Even with three of us trying to lift the front of the trailer, we couldn’t get it off the car. Giving up, we realised we had to unload the trailer.

Will and Cliff worked hard to take off the slabs as I used the torch on my phone to make sure they could see what they were doing. One massive pile of slabs off loaded, we unhooked the trailer easily. Cliff and Will headed home in the car while I locked up the car park gates. A sudden thought struck me – the slabs were at the back of the car park which another plot holder might not spot when they are manoeuvring on the car park. I headed off to the main gate and grabbed a traffic cone and deposited it on the top of the slab. It might look ridiculous, but at least it’s less likely that someone will reverse into it!

After such a busy day, I headed home in the dark, feeling proud of all the work we had managed to complete as a team. It goes to show that many hands make light work!


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