Yes, at last, after delay, storm, tempest and flood, the concrete went into the footings today.  An immense sigh of relief, and, at last, the feeling that we are actually building something.

Last week’s floods had subsided within a couple of days, but the ground round the excavations remains very muddy – stand still too long and you lose your boots.

This shows the trenches at aboout 9:00 this morning.  The NHBC inspector had been to site yesterday, and approved the trenches, subject to my confirmation that they were still clear, and that the surplus water was removed.

The groundworkers set to with buckets and shovels, and took out most of the water, leaving a sort of muddy slurry in the base of the trenches.  Then, bang on time at 9:30, the concrete pump arrived.

Followed shortly by the first concrete mixer, with 6m3 of concrete.  The pump has a long, extending nostril, and pumps concrete fed into a hopper at the back of the lorry.

Filling up the trenches really didn’t take long.

Here’s the result, before the arrival of the third and final lorry-load of concrete.

So now, 20m3 of concrete in the ground, we really start building.  Blockwork up to damp-proof course level next.

We now have a hole full of water

Monday night and Tuesday morning saw the UK swept by fierce winds and heavy rain.  Looking out the window on Tuesday morning, watching the rain going past horizontally, it was inconceivable that Brian the groundworker would be able to do anything today.  When the NHBC inspector rang to confirm his visit, my inclination was t0 cancel on the spot.  But a few phone calls later, we established that Brian’s men were on site and expecting the inspector that afternoon, with the intention of pouring the foundation concrete on Wednesday – the concrete pump was booked.

The drive up to Holsworthy was interesting – water pouring out of the fields, huge puddles everywhere. The river at Ashmills had burst its banks, and the rain was still coming down in buckets.  When we got to the plot, this is what we saw…

The groundworkers were wading around in the trenches, removing the loose spoil and trying to remove some of the water

Water was flowing into the foundations, percolating through the ground from the hill above, and filling the trenches as fast as they could bail it out.  No prospect, then, of the NHBC signing off the foundations as ready for concrete!  So we cancelled the concrete pump, and agreed that we would try again on Friday, as the weather forecast for the next few days was drier.

Meantime, how to help the site drain better.  One of the groundworkers suggested punching a gap in the bank at the bottom of the plot…

5 minutes with the JCB later, we had a drain, and the satisfaction of seeing the water running away.

Until Friday, then!