I had an experience this morning on site, which I thought I’d share with you.
I’m helping with a new building development, and I needed to tag a few logs for retention within the works, and also to check a dimension of a fence.The contractors are currently carrying out the bulk earthworks, which if you’ve never seen it, means that they are shaping the ground to the right levels for house lots and roads. It can be a pretty messy business.
As last time I’d been out to site, it was a bit muddy, I borrowed my partners gumboots (wellingtons / galoshes) to protect me from the worst of the mess. His feet are a good bit bigger than mine, so I wore thick socks, and just resigned myself to looking like some sort of cartoon character.
Tagging the logs was fine – I set off across the site, looking professional enough with my safety vest and can of spray paint. Most of the ground seemed to have been compacted by a sheeps-foot roller since my last visit, and so was relatively firm. Clambered about, inspecting the various merits of the chunks of wood available, and sprayed the ones I wanted with a big blue dot.
That task accomplished, I thought I’d just pop down and check the height of the middle rail of the fence, which is important to something we’re designing for the site. I blithely set off across the sea of mud, but my purposeful, professional strides were soon arrested. The deceptively flat and smooth expanse of ground turned out to be what I can only describe as ‘quick-mud’. One boot quickly sank to the ankle, with the other following fast behind it. The first foot was completely immovable. I tried to struggle, but they just sank further.
Seeing a brick from the demolition nearby, I stretched out the foot I could move towards it, even though it was quite a stretch. It held out for a minute or two while a flailed around, but then it too sank into the mire. I seriously considered abandoning ship, and making a dash for it in my socks, but thought I might just sink to the knees.
At this point, I gave up all pretense of professional conduct, and started to wave frantically at the driver of a giant excavator nearby. He rolled the great beast over to me, and placed its bucket next to me, as gently as if he were placing it on eggshells. I gripped on to the solid bucket grimly, glad at least that I wasn’t going to disappear to the nose in the morass. However, no much how hard I pulled, there was no way I could pull out my feet. To his credit, he managed not to laugh too hard.
Next, that gentleman of a driver placed the bucket in front of me, and I gratefully hopped into the bucket, in just my socks. The boots were now embedded nearly up to the top. He hopped out of the cabin, and gave me a hand to retrieve them.
I did think of asking for a lift in the bucket back to the Site Office (maybe with the ‘Flight of the Valkyries‘ playing?), but that’s probably against Occupational Health and Safety rules. Would have been some recompense for looking so ridiculous though. 🙂