Sad Sunday

I was out this morning with our visitors Mark and Carol, driving through Apse Heath I caught a glimpse of a small fire off to the right of the road. When I looked properly I saw the cause – moments before we arrived, a light plane had crashed, nose down, into the field – approximate location 50°38’44.88″N, 1°11’53.50″W and only about half a mile from the Southern end of the airport at Sandown.

Mark called the emergency services and I made my way across the road to see if there was a way down to the plane. Unfortunately there were just too many trees and bushes so I couldn’t get across to it, but within a few minutes a helicopter came hovering around the scene and a few minutes later the nearby airfield’s crash tender came flying along the road and managed to beat away across the field. The fire tenders, police and ambulances arrived a little after that.

The plane appeared almost totally burned out and we left the scene slowly trying to come to terms with what we had just seen – we later heard on the radio news that the plane was on its way to France having just left the Sandown airport, sadly police said there were no survivors.

Digg this!

Well that’s it, the digger is back with the hire company, the work is done and nothing got broken.
I can thoroughly recommend hiring a mini-digger, I had great fun with it and surprisingly it didn’t take long to get to grips with. At first the controls were a bit strange and I found I was being a bit clumsy but, after an hour or so, I got the hang of it – the basic rule being “gently does it”. Anyhow the end result was worth the effort, I shifted tons of earth and dug out a dozen or so tree stumps.

Here are a few photos as promised:

The problem

The bank at the end of our garden was the result of the previous owners clearing the ground about 10 years ago. They pushed soil to the end making a tall bank and completely obscuring a great view. As I have mentioned before, there was also a very large pigeon loft here, the clear, bare soil on the right shows its location. We decided to get rid of the bank and open things up ready for a summerhouse.

Clearing a route in

Before any real work could start I had to clear some lilac bushes and stumps to make a clear path to get the machine in.

Work in progress

I started the work on Friday evening (about 2 hours), resumed on Sat for another 3 hours or so (Sat is golf day so work was stopped for the afternoon!), then, after a mammoth all day session on Sunday, the project was pretty much finished.

The new view

Our new vista in all its glory.

Advice for anyone thinking of doing something similar

  • Get a small bucket for tree stump removal and a wide bucket for soil moving
  • Get as long a reach digger as you can – it’ll save you moving earth twice
  • Practise in a clear area until you get a feel for the controls
  • Be careful when working on slopes, these things tip very easily
  • Don’t think you’ll be able to easily level a large area, these machines are diggers

I hired my machine from JMC in Cowes, 01983 821185. They delivered it late afternoon Friday and collected it on Monday morning at about 9.30.
Total cost for the hire was £176 including vat and delivery, and I reckon it was worth every penny!

Standby for fun..

There’s a tall (and wide) bank at the end of our garden which needs levelling. It’s a bit too much of a job to shift all that soil etc by hand, so we’ve hired a 1.5 tonne mini-digger for this weekend.

Hopefully it should help do the job fairly quickly or at least make a large dent in it – I’ll try to take a few “before and after” pics as evidence in case there’s an insurance claim afterwards 😉

Now, where are my droopy jeans and my roll-up tin?