Saturday, 23 August 2008

1946 Photograph

Well I've now got hold of a photo taken in 1946 of the garden in front of my house, showing the rockface where the tunnel entrance is. It doesn't look like the rockface has been collapsed in the photo, although its also possible that the tunnel entrance may already have been partially covered over. The ground level on the right appears much higher than at the moment, and there seems to be rubble lying on the ground in the background. I've put a photo taken today from where I think is roughly the same vantage point


Its a little disappointing that this is the only photo of my garden (all the others he sent are of next door). Its also a shame that there's nothing in the picture to show that its taken just after the war (abandoned military vehicles perhaps?) frown

However, the good thing is that it looks like there was a solid quarry face immediately behind where the tunnel entrance we've already uncovered comes out, so once I clear the spoil away from the entrance, I'm hoping there's at least a 30 foot high wall of solid rock and I may not have to worry too much about having to build any retaining structure.

1945 aerials again for comparison with the garden shot.....

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Tree Felling

Dave came round this afternoon and we finally spent an hour or so making a little progress. The slope of collapsed rock, which is the next area we're focussing on, now has a load a fir trees growing on it. They're actually fairly tall. Before I'm able to do any more excavating of this area, the trees (or at least the largest shown here below beforehand) will have to go.

The aim is to drop it down accurately between those two shrubs in the foreground without damaging them.  Dave dons the Pistonheads safety helmet (which actually did protect him from a falling pine cone).

And then climbs up the spoil to the base of the trunk.....

Where he started by stripping some of the lower branches.

Before downing tools and refusing to do the chain-sawing. So it was left to me, to make a classic wedge cut at the front of the tree and then the single cut at the back..... 

What happened next though was unexpected comedy. The tree gracefully fell to 45 degrees, stopped and hung there! Rather like the toppled statute of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.  

We then all watched bemused as it sank several more feet in extra slow motion before the trunk finally cracked and it dropped to the ground. Video posted here.

After which Dave went to work, chopped it up, and put it in the boot of his car. 

I did say that the next bit was going to involve "just a little bit" more work, didn't I?

Friday, 15 August 2008

Health and Safety

We've been preparing for the next bit of excavation by getting some "proper kit".


Sunday, 10 August 2008

More 1940s photos soon

This weekend I heard back from the gent whose father purchased the property after the war. He said that he'd had a chance to look back through some old family photos, and that he'd found some dating from 1946, although all but one of them are of the main house (next door). He said that he's put them in the post, so hopefully I'll receive them soon.

He also confirmed that our house burnt to the ground in 1948, although he didn't say how. He said that his father rebuilt it in the same style. That was something of which I was unaware.

Finally, he gave me the location of an apparent cache of old buried bottles in the garden?? Something else to dig for when I can find a spare moment!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Apologies for Inactivity

...I've been on holiday in the United States for the last few weeks.

For any aussies reading this, congratulations on your Holden / Pontiac G8 GT. I took this one as a hire car whilst there and it was a great drive.

I guess I've got some more digging to do now!