Jo spent another day today supervising and working at the recovery of the remaining bricks from Avonmouth. Here is Jo's report:-
I am pleased to report that we had a very successful day at Avonmouth. I was a bit worried to start with, as my team of willing men shrank as the hours went by, until only 4 were left at 7.30 this morning. And then, out of the blue, a phone call from John S just as I was picking up Mike, that he was free and could come to help. Brilliant ! So 5 able men arrived on site, with 20 new dumpy bags in the boot. We threw ourselves at the 6 broken bags scattered about the old marshalling yard, and within the hour, all were re-bagged with new.
We then cast a critical eye over the remaining 38 bags and decided to rebag several more. In order to save on costs, we had been too keen to accept gifts of second hand bags, and under a critical eye they were not up to scratch. We re-bagged those too.
At 11.00 the Barry Proctor lorry arrived. We waited for him at the port gate, and then led the huge truck through the port to the old GWR sidings. We were in a groove, and nothing could go wrong now. How pride does come before a fall….. the Moffett wouldn’t start. Nooooooo! Turning the key just produced a ’click’. I heard quite a number of these clicks, I didn’t want to hear them any more, and turned away. Tomorrow is good Friday, then the Easter weekend, and Tuesday the BPC contractors come to take over the sidings, and we are prevented from accessing it and all our bricks would be lost. Disaster! More clicks, then a long silence. Suddenly the Moffett roared into life – Yesssss!!!
On Tuesday during the first collection, we lost a large percentage of bags – about one in four – to broken loops. Having scratched our heads over this, we were armed this time with two plastic drainpipes slit down their length, which we pushed over the forks to create a loop friendly round surface. This worked a treat, and during today’s session we lost only one bag, and one broken loop, easily fixed (you can tie a knot in them, if broken in the middle). The loading proceeded steadily, although taking nearly three hours, given the careful manoeuvering over the old sidings. At the end of the day we had loaded every single bag on site, including several new ones (from bricks removed in an effort to lighten the loads on some of the older bags) and one bag of S & T gear found lying about the site.
At 14.30 the lorry left Avonmouth, and we raced ahead to meet it at Broadway. Here, two of us unloaded everything in only 1 ¼ hours, and we now have a large pile of dumpy bags of engineering blues in the open area to the right of the drive. 28 bags on the first day, and 38 on the second. 66 bags of blues in all.
We were very happy with the services of Barry Proctor, and recommend them to anyone. Their towing unit is beautifully painted, their drivers are lorry enthusiasts, aand they attend rallies too. Drivers are required to take their shoes off before they climb into the cab! And just nice people to deal with. Thank you!
Thank you also to everyone form the BAG that gave a day at Avonmouth. We couldn’t have done it without you. 7.500 bricks, imagine that. Many hands make light work, and we did it as a team. Thank you to all of the players, and see you on the next project (I have something pencilled in J )
I can only reiterate Jo's words - a fantastic job, not least by Jo himself who kept at the task until it was completed.