Well quite big steps actually. Cut into the bank ready to take the foundations. This involved the piling of about 150 cubes of spoil on the lawn to be trucked off site. It’s still at the rough cut stage as we haven’t quite fixed on a datum; the surveyor got back to say that he thinks he might have to have another look at those levels. “Cost a bit more of course, but you can never be too sure” he suggested enigmatically before adding darkly: “Worst case you might have to lower all the foundation levels. Could lead to higher walls which may require you to get the engineers back to redesign them. $750 plus GST.” Exactly why he thinks this is an attractive proposal from any angle baffles me somewhat. Generally I expect people to tell me I’ll get something I really want from them if I pay them wads of cash. Paying for stuff you don’t want is one of the great life lessons to be had from a project like this.
150 cubes is quite a big pile of dirt it turns out. Quinn (the earthworks man, not the eskimo) arranged for a couple of trucks to work in tandem to remove it all from site. Only thing was, they couldn’t quite negotiate the bend round the garage (in this as in most things Tanea was very prescient). So Quinn sent for Laurie the Bobcat man to come on Saturday morning (what next? Bob the lorry driver?).
The trucks backed up as far as the garage and Laurie ran back and forth between earth mountain and waiting truck. With three trucks now making round trips to the landfill things started to move along nicely so we left them to it; after all, we had netball to attend to. Just as Betty’s game came to a (triumphant) close a call came in from Quinn. There was a council inspector on site. Someone had rung in a complaint. All work had been called to a halt. I looked to the north: a wall of cloud the colour of the inside of a cow was bearing down on us. Rain was starting to pelt. None of it looked good.
When I got to the site all the heavy machinery boys were standing out of the rain in the garage looking morose. For some reason Ana’s husband Ernst from down the road had come along and was standing there commiserating with them. The council inspector wasn’t letting the mood get him down. He bounded up to me and said he just needed to see my consents to make sure I was allowed to muck things up as comprehensively as I was. Turns out the neighbour down the bottom of the two steep banks to the west of the section had complained that there was unauthorised digging going on. This surprised me a little as I’d emailed her a week before to tell her our consent had been issued and we were about to begin.
The inspector sighted my building and resource consents and wrote “building and resource consents sighted” in his notebook. He looked at the drawings and pronounced them “excellent”. Goodoh. Back out we went. By now it was raining heavily. “You can go back to work now” he told the machinery chaps. An hour spent standing round in the cold didn’t seem to have improved their mood any. As he strode off site one of them said something under his breath and the others laughed mirthlessly. I took them each a sausage in bread which cheered them up a bit. I know it always works for me.
So now we’ve got the basic shape of the site sorted. There’s about 30 more cubes still to be carted off site and a bit more cutting and refining of slab beds, but we’re close. However this survey issue looks like holding us up, maybe by as much as a week. In the interest of moving things along I’m tempted to go along to the council to seek clarification but then I wonder: does this really sound like a good idea?