mercredi 8 janvier 2014

Stuck in the mud

A meeting with a new client this morning in Biech - I have another house to get planning permission for! Then it was on with finishing the drawings for the barn conversion for Nicole and Gilbert Coron in La trappe as I'm meeting a couple of builders tomorrow morning.

Work was interrupted when after delivering building materials to my neighbours Philippe and Céline, the lorry got stuck on the edge of grass where we play badminton in the summer. After all the snow melt the clayey ground was saturated under the grass. It seems fine when you walk on it but with a vehicle on it it's like quicksand and I've lost count of the number of vehicles I've pulled out over the years. The truck must weigh 4-5 tonnes unladen (it has a crane) but the driver was adamant that I should pull him with my little tractor not the jimny. Amazingly the truck started to move and all seemed to going well until suddenly the spinning back wheels lost traction and the back of lorry span around, sliding down the slope towards the new terrace. Several attempts to get it out, first forward and then by reversing only sent the lorry closer to the terrace and deeper into the ground. In the end the cab was few centimeters from pergola. I was pulling the rear of the lorry sideways with the tractor while he attempted to reverse, we had cement on the tyres and steel plates under them to try and get traction but all no avail.

Philippe made a tour of the neighbours to try and find a bigger tractor or a powerful winch. Messers Durand and Gouazé eventually arrived from the village and after some scratching of heads, M. Durand descended to Castet d'Aleu to fetch his logging machine complete with 15 tonne winch.

With the cable redirected through a pulley around a distant tree, he managed to get a forward pull with the winch and haul the lorry effortlessly out of it's hole, even lifting the front wheels off the ground at the end.

Then with more pulling on the rear by a heavier 4x4 truck, and finally a direct pull from the logging machine we straightened the lorry up and got it on the road again, the rescue was over. No damage to the terrace but some big holes to fill in and lots of turf to stamp down.

Drinks at Philippe and Céline's for me, André and Bernard.

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