Saturday, 19 March 2011


Hi Ho ! Hi Ho ! its off to work we go!  The last few weeks have been all about digging. For once everyone was able to help as well since its not a technical job. Start them young , even if they cant walk all the way to work!

The road crew set to work filling some potholes on the track, using a 7 tonne pile of tarmac scrapings that got donated by contractors after  resurfacing the local Dalhousie bridge. Unfortunately they didnt donate their heavy roller so wellies had to suffice in flattening the piles

 The kids were not really up to the main job for the week, digging about 80 metres of trench around 2 feet / 700mm deep, to run a new LPG  pipeline. The heating gas tank needs to be replaced and I have decided to completely remove the existing tank from the yard to restore the view of the original stone buildings. My current plan is to eventually remove all of the modern buildings and paraphernalia and restore something like the original look of the place. Even with the digger I knew this would be a little mentally challenging since the ground is heavy clay with rocks near the road. The trench runs to the right side of the track up the hill.

Two days later I got to the bottom of the hill, by the  yard entrance and it was all looking a little muddier thanks to some heavy rain which of course kept filling the trench up as I went.

Despite the obvious road cones warning me (and passing footpath users) of the big wooden posts, I managed to impale the hydraulics on one just after temporarily removing the footpath sign to avoid damaging the digger. Doh !
Last time I did something like this (the infamous lampost removing incident on TV), the Council came round straight away. Due to Council cuts in Midlothian, it was only some young buck that came for a nosey this time.(That was a stag-geringly bad pun!)

After getting the digger fixed , I started on the opposite side, immediately uncovering a hidden drain, which promptly collapsed and filled up with loose earth blocking the kitchen drains.

 For some strange reason the manhole was made smaller at the top than inside - making it only clearable by a thin person of height 5' 10" or smaller. Which meant I could not delegate the job to April since I just fitted ! (I did consider asking Willow, but its probably illegal to let your kids clean sewers)

Starting the trench again, I was immediately grateful I'd unblocked that drain - since I dug into and burst the mains water suppling the house !. Luckily its not really high pressure, but it soon filled up the new trench - and then poured into the drain I'd unearthed. I was not amused !

The drains are bizarre ! They leave the kitchen and go right around the house, meeting up with various downpipes and toilets, take a detour to the middle of yard then come back ! 360 degrees all the way around the house before ending up about 10 meters from where it started ! Not something you want to jam with earth!

I managed to solder the leak closed  and then decided to finish the top of trench while the flood waters subsided. Within an hour, I'd dug through the mains pipe again ! !  I didnt have the tools to fix this bit, but it was mainly just flattened and mangled so didnt leak too much. At this point I decided that I will re run a new water main as well while I've got the trench open.

The previous owner dug the mains all the way across the field (below) to the nearest  supply on his own apparently - it must be 800m away and I bet he didnt use a mini digger either in  the 1955. Having said that he probably had a better shovel than the kids used for the road !

Who would have guessed digging was so much fun !

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