Friday, 8 September 2017

Saving Mr. Frog

Today's good weather made it the day for laying the oil pipe for Balintore Castle's kitchen wing. The trench had been dug earlier, but the oil pipe and ducting to protect the pipe underground had only arrived late yesterday.

Unfortunately the 50 metre run of 50 mm ducting I had bought came as two 25 metre rolls - definitely not as advertised. Thankfully my friend Andrew came up with his own way to connect ducting, employing a section of plastic down pipe and some duct tape.




connecting ducting: stage 1



connecting ducting: stage 2



connecting ducting: stage 3

We had previously dug in 100 mm yellow ducting under the "track" round the castle so access round the building was maintained. Today's job was to insert the 50 mm black ducting through the 100 mm yellow ducting, and to insert the 15 mm oil pipe inside the black ducting. This reminded me somewhat of the Arab dish where you stuff chicken inside sheep, and then stuff the sheep inside a camel!

The debate was the order we did the stuffing, where to do this, and in which direction. It could have gone any way. The following was our approach and thankfully it did work out:


  1. push the 50 mm ducting through 100 mm ducting starting at the oil boiler end
  2. pull the end of the emerging 50 mm ducting laying it on the surface
  3. push the 15 mm oil pipe through the 50 mm ducting starting at the oil boiler end
  4. pull the end of the emerging 15 mm oil pipe and take it to the location of the oil tank
  5. pull the second 25 metre roll of 50 mm ducting over the oil pipe from the tank end
  6. join the ends of the 50 mm ducting
  7. back-fill with digger


I jumped into the trench to hand dig out the highest parts as the oil pipe / ducting combo was following a bit of a roller coaster trajectory. It felt like being in a WWI trench. Then I spotted the Mr. Frog. 


Mr. Frog stuck in trench


There was no way he could get out on his own and he was going to be entombed by the back filling. However, Mr. Frog did not want to be caught and he sure knows how to hop! Finally, I had Mr. Frog in my hands and asked Andrew to take him and release him away from the trench (which I myself at that moment was stuck in). However, Andrew did not want to touch Mr. Frog and in his moment of his hesitation, Mr. Frog hopped out of my hands back into the trench. A second, third and fourth chase ensured as Mr. Frog kept escaping from my hands. Finally, I got him on the edge of the trench and Andrew took him away on a spade.


Mr. Frog being rescued


Andrew cleared a large section of the slope between the east drive and the castle terrace of dead tree roots and whole scrubby trees. It's amazing the power the digger has to literally uproot these in a single action! As we rolled a tree stump down the bank, I spotted Mr. Frog in the immediate path of the stump. How ironic, we had saved him from being entombed only to then squash him! There was nothing I could do. As I was about to tell Andrew what we had done, there sat Mr. Frog unscathed and blinking at us. I was happy again!


the tree root that almost squashed Mr. Frog



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