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About Me


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  1. You see before you an extremely relieved person. 64 piles in, done, dusted, testing happening now. I'm trying to remember when I was so nervous for so long.... and can't. Tucked up warm and comfortable on our bed, and lying in the crook of my knees, the cat growled - he's never done that before - a car had parked outside the house and stopped at stupid o'clock. It was the pile driver chappie arriving a day early. Swiftly followed by a 42 tonne rig.... thus; and before you could say 'That's Big', this happened The piling probe (called a poker) that sits on the front of the rig looks like this Big innit? So how does it work? The rig picks up the poker (heart-in-mouth-stuff), and when positioned correctly, vibrates the poker into the ground to a predetermined depth: in our case 4m or less if refusal occurs before that point. But the trick is to tip some stone into the hopper at the top of the probe. Pull the probe back up a bit, reinsert the probe (into which more stone flows), compact, and do that a few times until the pile is made. Now, this thing vibrates. A lot. So for fun I did this with a bowl of water and some Vimto. Cos frankly, it worried me.... there's a water pipe running very close to 4 of the piles (2m) Not much, but it's hardly a scientific test. Town And Country Vibro set up a wobble meter (forgotten what it's proper name is) which is connected to a modem so the Head Office can see how much wobbling is going on. For comparison I went up to my office and had a look at my wobble waves there. None, or almost none. That did absolutely nothing to allay my fears of bursting the water main. We had prepared properly, though, thus; Man was I relieved when the vibration stopped. No leak, No fountain, no bill from United Utilities. That's not going to stop me taking photographic evidence of the pipe and pit when the road plates come off on Monday and it gets back-filled. Only to bump into a cliff-hanger on the last pile The probe had hit a glacial boulder smack in the middle and split the stone such that the remains filled the exact diameter of the probe. So none of the stone fill could flow into pile hole. Jammed. Solid. Four lump hammers and one sledge hammer all hitting the probe at the same time. Me hitting it as hard as an old codger can; which was a sight harder than the lads were. Too much invested in this pile.... Plop. Out it fell after 5 long minutes. Angels sang Heavenly music when the 8 litre engine stopped and the foreman jumped down. "Ya weren't worried were ya whack?" he asked grinning like a Cheshire Cat. "Naaah" I lied. Ian
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