So, 120–150 workers, with 30 new 'uns, all organised by Eileen. Some (such as Mrs Elmsnothicks) down in the Lodge working on a Bowsider, some down in Port spelling out "Porthmadog" or "Port Madoc" (can't remember which, wait til they grow) in bulbs and doing various other horticultural activities.
The main attraction was in Minffordd yard. A hired 360-degree excavator (complete with muncher claw) with a very happy Andy Putnam, another JCB forklift (driven by Tammy), the JCB, dumper (driven by Bob the Miner, complete with Tunnel Neudd hat) and Velinheli with The Boss (and his Boss) at the controls shifting locoals of scrap 'twixt Maenofferen and skip. Field Marshalls Eileen with General Whizz directed troops. Even Gaz the Journo made an appearance.
Object of the exercise was to clear unmitigated loads of sh*te. Cue hacking back and mulching the trees along the back (I heard a rumour that the wheels of Dukes crane had been discovered – but don't go there). Barry Bach was tidied – the cab that had been down there was gas axed – don't complain now, you should have spoken up two years ago. Monarch's 2' 6" track was dismantled and removed, dumped random wood, keys and sleepers sorted and burnt, scrap steel/cast iron/ally sorted and skipped. There is now a concrete-based "boiler park" with various bits safely out the mud. Various buildings had work done on them, songs were written (I take it Eileen **meant** to say signs, but who cares, she was busy) and the Maenofferen shed provided sustenance.
Meanwhile, vast piles of scrap keys and sleepers formed a rather combustible heap at one end, which took me 20 minutes to damp down on Sat. evening. Several people took turns all at once to check it didn't get out of hand, so I can safely say it was always under control – safe as houses. Well, bl**dy hot ones which people throw bits of wood at. Several people were seen """embezzling""" wood to keep the home fires burning, but I won't name names. It would have been burnt anyway.
Interesting finds over the w/e were an old lamp from the Blodge (weighed a f***ing tonne, and Putty nearly ran over it), bits of a manually operated swing level crossing gate by Martin Duncan and John Maxey and a mysterious cryptic sign appropriately mentioning the "untouched wilderness" or summat. All the uninteresting stuff – including those beams, which were there for donkey's years – went in the skip.
Sat. eve had two Special Trains: one a St. Trinian's fish and chip special, the other being a BPGE JGF. I'll leave the conundrum of running two trains from Port, one stopping at TyB for dinner and Dduallt for fireworks, and the other going to Blaenau, as an exercise for the reader. Liked the tiger tape, Howard. Tried to get a seat in Stefco's new coach but it was packed to the (as high as the loading gauge allowed) gunnels. The rain didn't at all dampen fireworks and the balloon fight in 121 showed JGF is alive and kicking. Even when the batteries run out. Slap even collected some more money for the Ric fund, but who could say no when a big ba(l)d Yorkshireman is looking down on oneself...?
Sunday's highlights included the plant lorry driver who loaded up the 360 and was away before you could say "Hedgehog has run out of fuel at Dduallt", Martin Duncan's red circular tea tray (with black dots to show you where to put mugs), which was in use seconds after he had produced it, and the decent weather. Why can't all working parties give you an extra hour (or two in my case) in bed?
So a decent w/e. Thanks to Eileen for organising us all, the plant drivers, the owners of Velinheli (lovely and quiet), Paul and Val for shunting, the tea makers, The Nice Mr. Rudd for driving Moelwyn. Downhill. At 10 p.m. In the rain. Oh, and Steve and Andy for unspecified assistance.